John Barrowman faked a house renovation to secretly film for Doctor Who

Exclusive: Ahead of his return as Captain Jack Harkness, the actor needed an excuse for why he was back in Cardiff…

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It’s fair to say that the return of Captain Jack Harkness to Doctor Who was a bit of a surprise for fans, with John Barrowman’s immortal Time Agent making his first on-screen appearance in a decade as he delivered an important message to Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor.

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Now, fans may be wondering how exactly the US-based Barrowman managed to sneak over to Cardiff to film in Doctor Who’s studios without anyone noticing. And the answer is simple – he lied about why he was over here, telling his followers on social media that he was in the country to oversee renovations on his property in Cardiff.

“When I was over filming, this whole thing about renovating my flat in Cardiff was a total lie… at first,” Barrowman exclusively told RadioTimes.com.

“I felt bad but I had to think of something to throw people off the path of what I was doing in Cardiff. Because I was being seen all over the place. And people are like ‘Well what are you doing here?’ and I just said ‘Well I’m renovating one of the properties that we have.’”

Accordingly, to maintain the ruse, Barrowman posted regular messages on Instagram and Twitter asking for fans’ opinions on what paint, new countertops or furniture he should be picking up. But after a while, fiction began to become reality as the sheer effort of maintaining his cover story led Barrowman to take drastic action.

“I actually then did have to renovate it,” he laughed. “Because of the fib I was telling I had to really do it, because I had to show it online. So I’m sitting here right now, in the flat in Cardiff. It’s renovated, it’s beautiful, and it was a lie at first.

“I feel bad having to tell the fib to everybody,” he added, “but like I’ve always said, when I’m doing something and I can’t say what it is, because I want to enjoy the excitement that other people are going to feel when Jack appears… that’s why I’m not going to tell anybody.”

In the end, it seems his caution was worth it for the surprise – and we doubt any of his followers will be too annoyed at the deception.

“I always want to build that excitement as much as I possibly can,” he said. “I’m going to try and throw people off the path. But nobody guessed! Nobody had a clue.”

Plus, John Barrowman got a lovely flat revamp. Everybody wins.

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Doctor Who continues on BBC One on Sundays at 7:10pm