Doctor Who

Doctor Who - Captain Jack Harkness

Ahead of his return in the upcoming New Year’s Day special Revolution of the Daleks, John Barrowman talked about reprising the part of Captain Jack Harkness, facing the Daleks once more, and what it was like to join the fam.

Get ready for the festive special Revolution of the Daleks, coming to BBC One and BBC America on New Year’s Day.

Captain Jack is one of the most iconic and recognisable characters in Doctor Who, how did you get away with being back in Cardiff and not giving away you’re back?

The irony is I did the costume fitting the day I was doing a concert in Cardiff. Ray (Holman, costume designer) came to the hotel, it was the same hotel I stayed in with my husband, Scott, after we got married and the hotel had put pictures of us up in the room, so we were doing the costume fitting. So I took a picture of me in the room with Cardiff in the background and thought if people only knew…

When we were filming, I was being driven to set with hoodies on and I was also able to throw people off the scent because I said I was there to remodel our flat. I’ve never actually posted a picture of which I will do, it’ll be quite funny when I do that. It’s a little fun thing. I think because we live in Cardiff, and have a house there, people don’t find it weird when they see me in town. They don’t think I’m there filming. So it’s a very good thing to have a house there because it throws them off the scent.

How was it to step into Jack’s shoes again?

I call it slipping on the coat. Putting Jack’s coat on is like wearing an old coat. I know exactly who he is, I know exactly how he talks, I know exactly the way he delivers things so it’s like putting an old pair of shoes or an old coat. It’s why I rarely put the coat on for photographs and things because it changes my whole demeanour.

What can we expect from Captain Jack this time? Is it the same cheeky character?

Yes. Captain Jack is a little older. He’s still fun. He still very much has a joie de vivre, a lust for life and a passion for saving people and humanity, as does the Doctor. You can expect cheeky lines. You can expect a couple of… shall we say a few sparks between he and somebody. He plays along with to wind that person up. Jack always seems to find somebody who has a heart and Jack then has a lovely chat with … I’ll just say someone he finds in team TARDIS who has a very big and open heart.

Jack has a long history with the Daleks, what was it like going up against them again?

I love the Daleks. I have one in my house. I’ve always been a fan. For me as a little boy growing up Glasgow, it was always Davros, the Daleks and the Cybermen. Now I can say I got to fight the Daleks, I got to fight Davros but I never got to do the Cybermen. However the Daleks for me are the quintessential and most evil villain of the Doctor. As Captain Jack, I say they are never to be underestimated as they will always find a way to survive which is exactly why they have survived over centuries.

How was it being on set with the cast?

Having been part of team TARDIS it was great being back with them. It’s interesting for me because I’ve been with the most Doctors as one of the Doctor’s companions. So it’s interesting because I get to see the difference with each of them. Also their different quirky personalities. What’s great for me as Captain Jack and being part of team TARDIS is I get to figure out all the different personalities of the other players and characters in there. It’s Jack making himself work with that.

I’ve known Bradley for years. For me to be on set with Bradley was a laugh. Also with Mandip and Tosin. Mandip came to me after and said “it’s kinda weird because in this World you are the man. For us to have you on…” Tosin used to say to the others “do we have to match his energy?” and it’s like YES (laughs). You’ve got to be scared of the Daleks. Brad said to me “You get it. You love this. You love doing it and it shows.” So yeah, we had a great time.

What was your overall highlight of returning?

For me the thing was being back. I’ve always said from the moment I finished when we did Torchwood and I went off to the States, people continually to this day ask me “when are you going back to Doctor Who? When will Jack meet Jodie’s Doctor?” And I used to always say to people if I’m asked, I’ll do it at the drop of a hat. You do not have to convince me. You do not have to twist my arm. I will be back because I love the role so much. So for me it was great to be back. It kind of solidified what I always thought in the back of my mind that Jack was actually a really popular character.

To have him be brought back and be made into such a big deal… the fans went bonkers when it first happened and they’re gonna go bonkers again. It was like going home. It was like going back home to a family and even though they were different people, it was still the same world.

Get ready for the festive special Revolution of the Daleks, coming to BBC One and BBC America on New Year’s Day.