John Barrowman: I would love to play Captain Jack again

Speaking to, the former Captain Jack says he was disappointed not to be invited to the 50th anniversary, but is always willing to return to a role which has helped break down barriers


He may be an immortal time agent, but Captain Jack Harkness will not be appearing in the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special. Nevertheless, John Barrowman would love to take another trip in the Tardis.


Speaking to Radio Times the actor, who is hosting the new BBC game show Pressure Pad, said he understands why Jack was left out of the 50th anniversary, despite the reunion of his old friends David Tennant and Billie Piper. “There’s new producers, new people and they’re not always going to delve in to the past.” Despite this, he believes there is still a place for Jack on the Tardis, and would be keen to put on the army-surplus jacket once more.

“Speaking to the fans, they all love Captain Jack. Whether he returns or not is a decision for the producers. I’ve always said that if they did ask Captain Jack to come back then I would do it at the drop of a hat. Captain Jack changed my life, Doctor Who changed my life, so of course I would do it.” 

He admits he was disappointed not be invited back for the Doctor’s big day. “Of course I was disappointed in the first instance, but things have to move on. Anybody who’s a fan and who’s been in the show would have liked to have been invited back, but it just didn’t happen and there’s no sense crying over spilt milk. It’s going to be a great anniversary show and I’ll be watching like everybody else.”

Captain Jack left Doctor Who as a regular in 2005, although he made guest appearances afterwards. The spin-off show Torchwood, starring Barrowman, was put on ‘indefinite hiatus’ last year.

As the first openly non-heterosexual character, the ‘omnisexual’ Captain Jack was a significant milestone in the Doctor Who’s 50 year history. “I was the first male person ever to kiss the Doctor. It kind of blew over everyone’s head. It wasn’t till about five episodes later that everybody went ‘Oh my God! Yeah, you kissed him!’ And that was it.

“I am absolutely proud of being a part of it. You’ve got these young teens in school being bullied because of the sexuality that they are just discovering. They write to me all the time to say that Captain Jack helped them be strong and positive about themselves, rather than hiding and being embarrassed. It was a great, great thing to have a hero who really doesn’t give a shit who he kisses.”

Barrowman was born in Glasgow and moved to America at an early age. He is looking forward to the new-Who-debut of fellow Scot Peter Capaldi. “I know Peter’s work, I worked with him on Torchwood, and I think he’s a wonderful actor. Those of us who are from Scotland have done very well on Doctor Who.”

After being bullied about his accent at school, Barrowman can now switch voices at will. “With David Tennant, on-camera he would speak with an English accent and I would speak with an American accent. Off-camera: total Scottish. We’re taking over the bloody wurrld!”


Pressure Pad is shown weekdays at 3pm, BBC One