Allegations of indecent exposure by John Barrowman during his time on the Doctor Who set resurfaced back in May, and ever since, the actor has lost job after job as a result. Barrowman recently lost yet another television gig, and one has to wonder what this means for his future with the BBC’s beloved franchise.
The ITV program Dancing On Ice featured John Barrowman as a judge for the past two years, but The Sun UK confirmed that’s no longer the case. ITV didn’t explicitly tie Barrowman’s past indecent exposure incidents to the dismissal, however, and did indicate the network intends to work with him in the future in a statement issued by a spokesperson.
John Barrowman continues to lose projects, but it’s yet to be confirmed by The BBC one way or another if he’ll ever be welcome back to Doctor Who. Barrowman returned to the franchise after a long absence and last appeared in 2021’s “Revolution of the Daleks” special, and there were clues via a leaked book tie-in that he could also be involved in Season 13. Torchwood’s fifteenth anniversary is in 2021, so fans speculated Barrowman’s possible return could affect that.
Titan Comics cancelled that story, and a couple of other Doctor Who-related projects have dropped stories or altered content that featured Captain Jack. One would think those things indicate John Barrowman is out of the series, but the BBC program hasn’t officially disavowed him. Barrowman publicly apologized for his indecent exposure back in 2008, which occurred on the sets of Doctor Who and Torchwood. Those who recounted the events said the flashings were not perceived as sexual but seen as an unfunny and uncomfortable joke.
John Barrowman’s hypothetical return in Season 13 and beyond may be of extra interest to fans, given the return of Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies. Davies, who was showrunner through a bulk of Barrowman’s run, will be around for the 60th anniversary of the BBC series. The 50th anniversary served as a way to reunite many of the show’s past cast, which may happen again for the 60th. However, we still don’t know if Barrowman will receive an invitation or if he’ll be invited back to Doctor Who ever again.
Doctor Who can press onward without Captain Jack Harkness, and his last appearance didn’t necessarily make a return necessary to the story. Like River Song, though, Captain Jack was a fan-favorite character of the franchise and a recurring character with a long history with The Doctor. The issue is complicated, and one I can’t imagine the Doctor Who fandom will universally approve of regardless of what decision the show makes on Barrowman’s future with the show.
Doctor Who Season 13 will premiere on BBC America in 2021. Elsewhere, former franchise stars like Matt Smith are making news, as he’s one of the stars of HBO’s upcoming House of the Dragon spinoff. Check out the latest trailer for that series right here.