John Barrowman has now been fired from Dancing on Ice (though curiously he continues to be employed by ITV) and it got me wondering. There’s no way in hell he’s coming back to Doctor Who now but… I like Jack. He had a big impact on my teenage self, he was Important in a way I couldn’t even explain. And of course he was in the middle of a return to the show when this happened, unlike DW’s other sex offender Noel Clarke. (God I still can’t believe I’m typing those words.)
At this point I have had a LOT of characters who I love turn out to be played by sex offenders and I have only one solution. Every time something like this happens, please listen to me TV show execs, recast. Even if the actor was beloved before. Even if they still have defenders. Even if everyone remains convinced that no-one else could play the character, because I assure you they can. And when it comes to the Barrowman problem specifically…
…Just like as with the Doctor, there are built-in ways Jack can easily be recast! Maybe the Doctor gives him some spare regeneration energy off-screen and his appearance changes. Or you can go the technobabble route, have him fall into some magic face-changing machine. No-one cares about the explanation, it’s Doctor Who! Or then there’s the easiest possible route and my favourite, just have him age. We know Jack ages, just very very slowly, that’s how the Face of Boe came about.
So how about, let’s assume that the next time the Doctor meets Jack it’s well into the future from Jack’s POV. Jack has aged and no longer looks like John Barrowman. Bye bye, Barrowman. Who could play Aged-Up Jack then?
Well, I have one idea that keeps coming back to me. I think if Jack was recast the most important thing to do would have him be played by an LGBT actor, for obvious reasons. An LGBT icon maybe. Who can act. And who is universally recognized for being able to act. And who would bring in more viewers. And is a British icon on top of all of that. How about…
Yeah… I want Sir Ian McKellen to play Captain Jack Harkness.
(side note: While writing this I had to check Jack’s increasingly convoluted Wiki page and turns out his real name finally got revealed as “Javic Piotr Thane.” Huh. Well, I want Sir Ian McKellen to be able to deliver that name in his magnificent speaking voice too, then.)