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Doctor Who's 50th: The Real Reason John Barrowman Won't Appear in Anniversary Special

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary SpecialUnless you’ve been locked in staring contest with a Weeping Angel, you know that John Barrowman‘s Captain Jack will not be among the Doctor Who vets appearing in the franchise’s upcoming 50th anniversary special.

But, contrary to Interweb scuttlebutt, the actor tells TVLine that it was absolutely not for lack of interest on his part.

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“Everyone on Twitter tries to make it like it’s my decision, but the bottom line is I was not asked,” he maintains. “[The Powers That Be] don’t want to put Jack in it. And I know fans are really upset about it, as was I.”

Barrowman is particularly frustrated that some have suggested that his busy schedule — in addition to his recurring gig on The CW’s Arrow, he just shot a guest stint on ABC’s Scandal — precluded him from slipping back into Jack’s trademark trench coat  WWII greatcoat.

“People have tried to say it’s my schedule; it’s absolutely not,” he insists. “I was told by the producers of Arrow that if I was asked to do the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who they’d let me go and do it. It was nothing to do with my schedule. It’s just a matter of fact that I wasn’t asked.”

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And despite his disappointment, Barrowman stresses, “I understand why they did it. They want to move forward, they want to try some different things… I know from how [former EP exec producer Russell T. Davies] approached things, they’re not doing [the special] just for the uber fan; they’re doing it for the wider audience. And if they’re going to bring a character back it wouldn’t be just for the uber fan, it would be for everybody. So perhaps that’s the thinking they had. I don’t know.”

The Steven Moffat-penned anniversary special is currently in production and is scheduled to air on BBC America later this year.

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166 Comments
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  2. Nefty says:

    IF YOUR GOING TO MAKE A SPECIAL YOU NEED EACH AND EVERY IMPORTANT MOMENT FROM THAT POINT AND IN THE PAST. THERE IS A REASON WHY YOUR LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE A 50TH ANNIVERSARY. IT’S BECAUSE YOUR FANS KEPT YOUR SHOW ALIVE, AND JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE MAIN CHARACTER DOESN’T MEAN THEY ARE THE REASON WHY PEOPLE KEEP WATCHING. The side characters are also a main part of why a season can last so long. You as the viewer don’t only invest in the main character but the people who help develop of who the show is about. If you made a show in which the main person didn’t need help growing and then how could you expect your viewers to empathizes and invest they’re precious time in viewing your show?

    • Alan says:

      LOUD NOISES!!!!!
      WHY ARE WE YELLING?!!!!
      I LOVE CAPS!!!!!

    • mark says:

      Seriously? If they tried to cram in “EACH AND EVERY IMPORTANT MOMENT (your caps)” the story would end up as 90 mins of cameos with no story and one helluva mess. No thanks. I want a coherent story paying homage to the shows past but looking forward to the future. Journey’s End was great for character appearances but weak on story. I do not want Journey’s End again.

  3. Beckyfs says:

    No Captain Jack is UNcool.

  4. varda says:

    There’d simply be no more room left for anything else in the 50th special if they let John Barrowman in, the size of his ego is staggering. Good riddance to him, I say. There’s quite literally dozens of characters/actors who have as much connection or more to the show and do you see them whining all over the internet about not being asked back? No. It’s a 90 minute drama, not a school reunion. Get over yourself, Barrowman.

  5. Len says:

    50th Anniversary of Dr Who would have been good with characters from the early years like Sarah Jane and the Brigadier. Too bad they passed away

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  7. miladystreasure says:

    John Barrowman, David Tennant, and Matt Smith are the reason I’m looking forward to the special. Whomever is responsible for NOT inviting John Barrowman back is a
    FOOL!!!

  8. Emma Simmo says:

    Ok. Hello, hello. I know a majority of you are incredibly hell-bent on the idea of Steven Moffat hating other writers characters, that the eleventh Doctor is terrible and that River Song is the worst character created. I can see that there’s obviously some arguments about who created Captain Jack, but who seriously cares guys? Listen, why fight when you can make peace? There is already so much fighting going on in this world!
    I believe in Matt, and I think he’s done a great job as one of the most famous characters ever. I mean, come on, he did have pretty big shoes to fill and he did try. And it was a pretty good run, I say! And as for the River discrimination, it’s the same as the Eleventh discrimination. She was there, she had a try and, as we saw, she was pretty damn important. I believe that she was a wonderful companion. But, really, it’s a matter of opinion. And as long ad we opinions we will have discrimination and fighting. Just saddening squabbling over anything.
    In my opinion though (you probably don’t care), Steven Moffat had created brilliant episodes of Doctor Who and no one had the right to insult his work or any other DW writers work because they had a go and their reward? They got to write on Doctor Who!
    Now to Captain Jack…the man who can never die. I’m saddened that he won’t be at the 50th but I am also saddened that there is no more Torchwood. We can’t ha e everything, though.
    Please, guys. Just think before you press the ‘comment’ or the ‘send’ button.

  9. Brlu91 says:

    First of all, I have to admit that although then Tennant/Barrowman years were my favorite, I like both Classic Who and the reboot. I also have liked and not liked episodes from Davies and Moffat. Matt Smith not my favorite, but he has many strengths. He’s a great actor but too young for my taste.

    Now regarding Captain Jack and the 50th… At one time Barrowman said they were talking about it. Then he said many, many times that he would not be in it. He is emphatic that it has nothing to do with his schedule. He admits to being disappointed at not being asked, but diplomatically states that the writers decided to go in a different direction. SDCC has caused a lot of speculation because Moffat responded to a question by saying, “How do you know Captain Jack isn’t in it?” Was Moffat just being coy? When asked about this, Barrowman, rather miffed at having to address the issue yet again, stated that IF Jack is in it, someone else is playing him. I personally think it would be a travesty to have someone else play Jack, and this move would lend credence to the theory that there was some sort of feud. However, I ran across an article from a year ago that discussed how the 50th would address Captain Jack’s 2 missing years. Perhaps the writers considered JB for that but then figured he’s too old to play a pre-doctor version of himself. Don’t know if this is the case, but it would fit with all of the mixed messages that are out there.

    As both a Doctor Who and Barrowman fan, some of these discussions can get me angry. For now I would like to believe the best of everyone and enjoy the 50th for what it is without being upset that it’s not the way I would have done it.

    Looking forward to see what a 12th Doctor and an eventual post-Moffat Who will bring.

  10. TheAmericanDoctorWho says:

    He’s doing Arrow, that’s why he wasn’t in the Day of the Doctor. Oh, and Tom Baker was playing a future Doctor, having said he could take the face of past regenerations(but only favorites). Thus, the Doctor is now immortal.

  11. parker says:

    I heard it might have something to do with licensing. Torchwood’s in limbo,unfortunately. It seems that a USA network has the rights. I think its stupid because once fans discover Dr Who, then then want more…All things Dr Who. And if the writer’s chose to to do it as well. Personally I think they are more interested in BBC ‘ S Sherlock taking off , rather than all the spin offs of Dr Who or the writing of Dr Who. I think they ( powers that be, or resting on the reputation)are bored of Dr Who, but we are just discovering it.

  12. parker says:

    DON’T kill the goose!
    Bring back Jack.