The Torchwood Institute is one of the most secretive organisations on Earth – or any other planet. Details of every aspect of the ‘Doctor Who’ spin-off series ‘Torchwood’ are probably marked Top Secret and locked away in a steel-lined vault somewhere in the bowels of BBC Wales, with the cast and crew sworn to silence on pain of death by Dalek. John Barrowman, the charismatic Captain Jack Harkness in ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Torchwood’ was thus saying nothing about upcoming storylines during a recent appearance at the London Film and Comic Con. But he did reveal a few titbits about his character.
According to Barrowman, Jack was, not surprisingly, "a little angry" at having been abandoned by the Doctor and Rose in the episode ‘The Parting of the Ways’ at the end of Doctor Who season 1 (or season 27, if preferred).
"Wouldn’t <b>you</b> be angry?" Barrowman commented. "The two people you changed yourself for, became a better person for, and they turn around and ditch ya!"
Barrowman also referred to an intriguing aspect of the Doctor’s character which will affect future interaction between him and Jack. "The Doctor doesn’t believe in bringing people back to life, so there’s going to be a whole conflict thing when we meet again."
Viewers are now keenly waiting to find out what happened to Jack after being abandoned in the 51st century, how he made it back to contemporary Earth and joined the Torchwood organisation. Barrowman hinted that viewers may have to be patient a while longer – the story will only be revealed a little at a time, with the other characters also providing insights into Jack’s character.
And over on ‘Doctor Who’, fans will have the chance to see how Captain Jack reacts to the tenth Doctor in season 3, as Barrowman has confirmed he will definitely be returning when the show begins filming later this year. There will be a new companion on board as well, with the BBC having announced on 5 July that Freema Agyeman will join the cast to replace Billie Piper. Agyeman played Adeola in the season 2 penultimate episode ‘Army of Ghosts’, but will join the main cast of season 3 as the new character, Martha Jones.
While ‘Doctor Who’ has always been focused on a general audience, ‘Torchwood’ will have a more adult flavour, and is expected to air in the post-watershed 9.00pm slot in the UK. This has given the producers a good deal more freedom to look at aspects that are out of bounds within the medium of ‘Doctor Who’. For Captain Jack, this means that they can explore the darker side of his nature.
"He still has a good sense of humour," Barrowman said. "He’s still very witty, very dry, very cutting, but he does become a bit darker, more mysterious, because he doesn’t want to give himself away right off the bat."
That freedom also has other, more visual, benefits. Jack’s naked butt was deemed too risqué to be shown on teatime television in the episode ‘Bad Wolf’. At LFCC, responding to a comment about the cut scene, Barrowman assured fans with a nod and a grin that they would definitely be "seeing more of Jack" in ‘Torchwood’. Barrowman may simply have been trying to lay claim to Jack’s title of "Captain of the Innuendo Squad" – but the audience clearly appreciated being let into just a few of the new show’s secrets!
© Carole Gordon 2006
John Barrowman: http://www.johnbarrowman.com/
Doctor Who: http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/
Torchwood House: http://www.visittorchwood.co.uk/
London Film and Comic Con: http://www.londonfilmandcomiccon.com/