In one of the ballsiest moves in recent memory, ‘Doctor Who’ startled and thrilled longtime fans with the return of John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness in the most recent episode, “Fugitive of the Judoon.” And you’d best believe that Chris Chibnall and everyone else involved went to great lengths to keep this appearance completely under wraps until it aired.
Speaking to Radio Times, Barrowman, who hasn’t appeared on ‘Doctor Who’ in over ten years revealed:
“Chris [Chibnall] said ‘You cannot say anything.’ But I say this because you tell your spouses – the only person that I told was my husband Scott. Well, I tell a fib there – I also told my sister [Carole] because my sister is also a massive Who fan and Torchwood fan and Jack fan. And also we’ve written the comics together, and a Torchwood novel, and we’ve done the things together to try and keep Jack out there. So I told my sister and called her also. So there was two people that knew.”
But Barrowman concocted a cover story that he was redecorating his flat in Cardiff to explain to everyone else why he was spending so much time there.
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But he admits he felt bad about lying, so he actually did renovate his flat just to sell the story.
“I felt bad but I had to think of something to throw people off the path of what I was doing in Cardiff. I’m sitting here right now, in the flat in Cardiff. It’s renovated, it’s beautiful, and it was a lie at first.”
But it wasn’t only on Barrowman’s shoulders to keep this secret. The production team gave him a codename, which Barrowman can’t recall, but was an anagram of the name “Rose Tyler,” the companion that appeared alongside Jack in several episodes, portrayed by Billie Piper.
Barrowman further described the cloak (LITERALLY) and dagger techniques used to sneak him around the sets.
“They shrouded me in black cloth when I was in the car being driven to Bristol. When I got to Bristol and got to the Cathedral to film, they took me out of the car covered in the black, covered me with umbrellas so nobody could see me and put me in the building. And that was me – I had to stay in there all day.
“I had just flown in from LA, I was jet-lagged like crazy, and I was there from about eight in the morning until about six or seven in the evening. And it was a long, long day, because we had to do everything in that building, that day.”
As much of a bother as it was for Barrowman to stay sequestered, fans/paparazzi did snap pictures of Daleks near that same location later that same month.
It makes you wonder what else the producers might have up their sleeves for this season of ‘Doctor Who’. Hmmmmm…
What did you think of the return of Captain Jack Harkness?