John Barrowman responds to Doctor Who’s sneaky Captain Jack Easter Egg

The Torchwood star, who now appears in fellow Welsh-themed project Fireman Sam: Set for Action, is happy to see his legacy live on

John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness using the vortex manipulator

The return of Captain Jack Harkness to Doctor Who is a rumour that just won’t die, with fans of John Barrowman’s immortal Time Agent continuing to speculate about his comeback as Jodie Whittaker’s series rolls on.


And while Jack still hasn’t popped into the series this year the character did get a subtle nod in the latest adventure, thanks to a character using his trademark wrist-mounted travel tech (the vortex manipulator) during series 11’s third episode Rosa – and Barrowman says he’s happy to see a little piece of his legacy in the series.

“The Captain Jack vortex manipulator has been around!” Barrowman laughed.

“With River [Song] claiming that it’s hers, and Jack doing the same.”

And apparently the gadget is the subject of a running joke between Barrowman and fellow Who guest star Alex Kingston, who played River Song in the series.

“When we’re all together we have little arguments behind the scenes about who actually owns the manipulator and who’s it is,” Barrowman, who had yet to see Rosa when we spoke to him, told

“So it’s quite funny – it’s quite a funny thing amongst us as the Doctor Who family. So yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how it factors in [to the episode].”

More generally, Barrowman said the continued calls for his return to Doctor Who (he last appeared in the series in 2010, though he’s been mentioned more recently) “thrilled” him to his core, and gave him hope that one day he might actually be able to join the Tardis team again.

“It shows you how much Captain Jack Harkness is loved, and it also shows you how much people want to see Captain Jack Harkness, whether that be on Torchwood or on Doctor Who,” Barrowman told us.

“They’re still talking about him. And for me, the actor who helped create that character, that is probably one of the biggest pats on the back that I will ever receive.

“It put a huge big smile on my face, and I was really pleased at that.

“And who knows?” he added. “If I were asked back, I would do it at the drop of a hat.”

For now, though, Barrowman is busy on other projects – and that includes providing his voice to a Fireman Sam TV movie called Set for Action, where he plays a Hollywood bigshot trying to take down the titular hero.

“It’s an animated adventure for kids and family, that you can sit down with a bowl of popcorn to watch and not have to worry about explaining anything to anybody. But you’re gonna have fun!” Barrowman said.

“And adults, having seen it in previews have said their kids loved, but they’re surprised they loved it too. So it’s a family sit-down, enjoyable piece that’s got action, adventure and explosions in it!”

Sounds like even without Doctor Who and Torchwood, John Barrowman is keeping things pretty exciting.


Fireman Sam: Set For Action airs on Cartoonito, Tuesday 23rd October at 12.00pm and is repeated later in the week