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.)
An interesting mishmash of the RTD and Chibnall eras! I appreciated the shout-outs to Rose (man, who would have thought we’d still be getting those in the year 2021?) and to Gwen Cooper. Oh and seeing some of the old rogues gallery was fun as well. Wonder what that one Weeping Angel in particular did to get itself thrown in prison? Maybe it’s the one that turned into the Statue of Liberty.
Jack was really the highlight of this episode for me at least, I assume based on his lack of a real goodbye to the Doctor that he’ll be back? I hope so. I loved the scene between him and Yaz. Guess Thasmin (or whatever it’s called, I quite like Yazteen) might really happen after all?
Hooray, Graham didn’t die! I’ve been expecting him to do so for a very long time but he didn’t! He and Ryan left in the best way they could’ve done really. I never really thought Ryan enjoyed the space adventures that much, why would he, one of ’em killed his gran. Oooh it was good to see Grace again too, even if just for a few seconds. A nice way to bring everything round full circle.
Oh and now there’s about to be another companion on board!
So that’s interesting. And lastly…
I appreciate that this episode got political but I don’t think they pushed it anywhere near hard enough. The concept of government-sanctioned security Daleks killing protestors, that’s huge, enough for a whole series of its own. And what with Robinson and PM Jo representing the worst parts of the American and British political systems respectively… I dunno, I just thought there’d be more. Don’t forget, the Daleks were straight-up stand-ins for Nazis originally.
As Captain Jack Harkness, the omnisexual immortal Time Agent, John Barrowman blazed onto screens in the 2005 revival of Doctor Who and has never looked back. Fifteen years later – via headlining the show in spin-off Torchwood – Jack’s back to battle Daleks on New Year’s Day in the festive special “Revolution of the Daleks”.…
Even as a teenager watching Jack I knew he was important in a way I couldn’t even describe. God, there are problems with 2005 era Doctor Who, but Jack isn’t one of them.
I really hate how it’s been forgotten now what a HUGE GODDAMN impact John Barrowman and Russell T Davies had on a particular generation of British kids. I still see Jack’s character being labelled as “queerbaiting” and it makes me so fucking angry. Barrowman and RTD were two gay men who put their careers at risk to create Jack and that was how they were thanked.
JACK! Daleks which come with social commentary, which is the way I like my Daleks. The bad guy from Aracnids in the UK?! Yaz being snarky, I hope she and Jack become friends. ALIEN PRISON! Oh wait it’s not out til New Years Day dang.
Okay so the rewatch of the Doctor Who season 4 finale was a BIG undertaking and loads of the cast and crew joined in! And some wonderful person actually put them all together in a list so the whole watchalong was made easier! Woo!
However, I’m gonna do the same thing I did for some of the other rewatches and put all the most interesting tweets together and in order. (Also I added Georgia Tennant’s tweets because they were friggin’ hilarious.) So first I’ve done The Stolen Earth and tomorrow I’ll do Journey’s End. There’s a wealth of fascinating information in there and well, this blog isn’t called Overly Devoted Archivist for nothing.
(Freema is utterly and totally delightful throughout all of this)
(I absolutely love all the Noel-Freema interactions here. Hey hope springs eternal Mickey and Martha will be back one day…)
So, uh… I was right on one count? But then. But THEN! The appearance of Captain Jack frickin’ Harkness turned out to be merely a red herring for the REAL plot of the episode. My god! There was a past Doctor our Doctor doesn’t even know about. And she was a black woman. This episode is arguably the most important episode Doctor Who has ever produced, and I’m so glad I got to see it live. I’d never even heard of Jo Martin before this episode, but seeing “Jo Martin as The Doctor” in the end credits blew my mind. How’d they keep all this under wraps?! Wow.
Jack’s appearance amounted to little more than a cameo in the end, but I was so thrilled to see him. I think lots of people were. And it was heavily implied that he would be back! Looks like a lot of pieces are moving into place for ONE HELL OF A season finale.
It’s a whole new era for Doctor Who now. A more experimental, more progressive, more diverse (SPACE FOR ALL!!!) era. I haven’t been this excited about the show in ages.
[Also, it’s strange – the first ever episode of Doctor Who was marred by the assassination of JFK. This mini-reboot of sorts is right now marred by the unexpected death of Kobe Bryant. History repeats itself.]