Who is I’m a Celebrity’s John Barrowman? Meet the Doctor Who and Torchwood star

From West End star to Captain Jack Harkness to the Aussie outback

John Barrowman I'm A Celeb portrait

I’m a Celebrity 2018 contestants: John Barrowman

Age: 51

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Famous for: being the dashing Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and Torchwood

Twitter: @JohnBarrowman

John Barrowman, I'm a Celeb (ITV)
John Barrowman, I’m a Celeb (ITV)

Phobias: Confined spaces, jumping out of planes, allergic to shellfish

Is John Barrowman single?: Nope, he’s been married to his husband Scott Gill since 2006

He says: “The Bushtucker Trials don’t scare me, they concern me. Eating bums, balls and willies, I’m totally cool with.”

He also claims he would be the first ‘gender fluid’ winner of I’m a Celeb. “I would be over the moon if I won,” he added, “I would be the King and Queen of the Jungle. I want both crowns.”

Biography: Scottish-American actor John Barrowman was born in Glasgow in 1967 before moving to Illinois when he was eight. He still holds joint citizenship between the two countries.

John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness using the vortex manipulator
John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness using the vortex manipulator

Before turning his hand to television, Barrowman made a name for himself on the West End stage, starring in Anything Goes, Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera and Chicago, among others.

Barrowman juggled his stage work with a television presenting career, as one of the original hosts of BBC1 Saturday morning kids show Live & Kicking.

But of course, he’s best known to audiences as pansexual time traveller Captain Jack Harkness, who made his Doctor Who debut in 2005 in The Empty Child.

Having been a fan of the legendary sci-fi show as a child, Barrowman explained being cast in the role was a real “pinch-me” moment for him.

“When I was told I’d got the Doctor Who job, I was walking through the middle of Covent Garden with my niece, and I literally screamed because I was so excited,” he told Radio Times back in 2005.

With his outrageous demeanour, overt sexuality and dashing good looks (think Hans Solo in suspenders), Captain Jack was an instant hit with viewers, seeing him land his own spin-off Torchwood – which ran for four series.

After his move to TV, Barrowman’s West End experience stood him in good stead, landing him judging roles on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s BBC1 talent searches How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria? in 2006 and Any Dream Will Do in 2007.

Other acting roles since appearing in Doctor Who have included the sultry Patrick Logan in Desperate Housewives in 2010, and the formidable Malcolm Merlyn in DC’s Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.

Despite his varied career, Barrowman still holds a soft spot for Torchwood, teasing earlier this year that he had spoken to new Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall about resurrecting the show, which ended in 2012.

“I actually wrote to Chris and I said to him, ‘would he be interested in being a part of something like that?’ Or something like that, I can’t remember how the email went,” he told RadioTimes.com last month.

“He emailed me back, and he said ‘As you probably know, I’m in the middle of something very big at the moment, and I can’t discuss anything else.’

“But he said ‘Let’s talk when things calm down a bit.’ And that was just at the beginning of his negotiations for Doctor Who.

“Who knows? If anyone can do it, it’s Chris.”

David Tennant Doctor Who regeneration, YouTube, SL
David Tennant Doctor Who regeneration (YouTube)

For now, Barrowman is back for UK audiences in the 18th series of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here – and is urging a former Doctor Who co-star to join him.

“David Tennant [would be my dream camper],” he said. “It would be nice to get the Doctor and Captain Jack together!”

I wouldn’t hold your breath, John.

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I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! returns on Sunday 18th November at 9pm on ITV


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