As every Doctor Who fan with a pulse and an internet connection knows, John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness is returning to the TARDIS, with the immortal Time Agent set to join the fray in upcoming special Revolution of the Daleks.
And while fans are eagerly anticipating Jack’s reunion with the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) around a decade after the characters last shared the screen, Barrowman has now revealed that his character’s closest relationship in the episode is actually with another character – Mandip Gill’s companion Yaz, whose quest to find the missing Doctor strikes a chord with Jack.
“The one thing is that Jack always seems to be able to pluck out somebody who feels the same way about the Doctor that he does,” Barrowman told Radio Times.
“So I do love that when they write the scenes…without going into too much detail Mandip and I had a wonderful scene that we did together where we express how we both feel.
“I can’t tell you what it entails, what it involves. But it’s a lovely scene.”
“He’s someone who’s lost the Doctor as well,” Gill told Radio Times. “He’s not exactly human, so I’m not sure if I would have instantly thought, ‘oh yeah, it’s gonna be someone like that that can relate,’ I would have thought it was Graham or Ryan going, ‘I really love these journeys and I don’t wanna go home.’
“Jack’s has an amazing energy that’s very very different to Yaz, Ryan and Graham’s energy,” she added.
“But he also has, to a degree, the same relationship with the Doctor that we do.”
In other words, it sounds like Barrowman’s Captain Jack in this episode is functioning a little like Elisabeth Sladen’s Sarah-Jane Smith in School Reunion, showing a current companion her future fate – like so many others, left behind by the Doctor.
Some hints of this appear in the Doctor Who Christmas special trailer, which sees Jack commiserating with an unknown figure at the abandoned fate of many companions, and combined with the confirmed exit for Gill’s co-stars Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole it sounds like this could be a major theme of the episode.
Speaking to wider press, Gill said: “Jack also has his own relationships with being with the Doctor and losing the Doctor. So the things that you see – Yaz and him really connect with each other.
“It almost feels like he’s the one person that will understand what it feels like to lose [the Doctor]. So he sort of explains things to [Yaz] that I feel like are reassuring for her.”
Clearly, Yaz and Jack will make for a strong screen duo when the episode arrives on New Year’s Day – and offscreen Barrowman and Gill also became close, even if it was just to ward off the worst of the Welsh weather…
“I will say on that night she was freezing cold, and I held her in my jacket…I put the coat around her and myself,” Barrowman said.
“Because it’s obviously the hero coat, so it can wrap around two people. And we stood there, freezing our butts off, filming in Wales. But loving every minute of it.”
“John, as an actor, was just ace to have on set. He does bring a different level of energy,” Gill added. “It brought a new dynamic to the set, and to the scenes and stuff.
“And he shared his coat, so that was lovely of him. That was really cool. I didn’t really know him that much, but he was like, ‘It’s really cold. Get in my coat.’ I thought, ‘I’m not going to say no to John Barrowman.’ I just got in there.”
Who needs the Doctor with friends like these?
For more information about the festive special including an exclusive Dalek preview and cast interviews, check out the Doctor Who preview issue of Radio Times, on sale now.
Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks comes to BBC One at 6:45pm on New Year’s Day. Want something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide.