Christmas TV: ‘There is no greater treat than Captain Jack’s John Barrowman’


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With 2020 considered a year many would rather forget, there is little doubt that most of us would leap at the opportunity to accompany the Doctor on a time and space adventure.

Apparently, it’s a call the BBC has heeded, as Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill, along with a host of familiar faces, will return for a Doctor Who Christmas special.

The annual Christmas show, titled “Revolution Of The Daleks,” will pick up viewers where Season 12 left off when, after being arrested by the Judoon Police, the Doctor finds himself in a space jail.

“Some time has passed, she’s been in prison for a very long time and she’s struggling there,” says Chris Chibnall, 50, head writer and executive producer of Doctor Who, about the upcoming show.

Back on Earth, Yaz and Graham and Ryan, who, at the end of the last season, were left behind on Earth, are struggling to deal with their lives without the Doctor.

“It’s been 10 months since they’ve seen the Doctor, and at the start of this episode they discover the presence of a Dalek.”

Although, as the name implies, a standalone episode, the latest festive offering follows in the footsteps of the previous festive episode.


“I’d say it’s a sequel,” remarks Chibnall. Although this festive season is a standalone show, it follows the events that occurred in our last festive Dalek special.”

Actress Jodie Whittaker, 38, who plays the 13th Doctor, shares the sentiment, adding that “the journeys we all go on are not necessarily led by the Doctor.”

That’s what makes it so fun, because it’s a team effort, certainly.

But as Yaz, played by Mandip Gill, struggles back on Earth, it becomes clear that when it comes to tracking down the Doctor, she is putting in a lot more effort than her male companions.

Yaz, for a lot of personal reasons, has a very complicated and, I guess, different relation to the Doctor than the two guys,”Yaz has a really complex and, I suppose, different connection to the Doctor than the two guys, for a lot of personal reasons,”

She loves being in Sheffield, but there’s just something that hasn’t been fulfilled yet about room and the Doctor.

She’s certainly grown, but I also think I’ve grown on this journey as a person, so I’ve spoken to Chris (Chibnall) about how my personal life is really representative of it.

“I’m getting used to the sci-fi world and the words and stuff, the way Yaz is, so it feels kind of easy to portray her.”

Without the return of some familiar faces, no holiday episode would be complete. And with rumors about Captain Jack hitting a fever pitch, for the “Doctor Who” makers, it was more a matter of when than if.

“It’s been cooked up for a long time,” Chibnall grins.

We knew he was coming back for this particular one… that was cooked up in a lot of phone calls and secret meetings, and not-so-secret meetings and stuff like that at John Barrowman concerts.

“He snuck me backstage and we had a secret conversation. Early 2019. So yeah, I called John, I really wanted Captain Jack to meet the 13th Doctor and it had been a long time since he’d been on screen in Doctor Who, so it was overdue.”

Barrowman has since appeared in the previous series finale as Captain Jack, but his character has not yet encountered the 13th Doctor in person.

“With festive specials, you want them to feel like a treat, and there’s no bigger treat than John Barrowman’s Captain Jack.”

Barrowman is no stranger to shouting “Exterminate!” as the connection between the quartet on Earth and the Doctor, locked in a space cell.

However, his exact role in the holiday episode is one that Chibnall is still largely holding under wraps.

Clearly,”Obviously he has a history with the Daleks because they killed him, a little detail in his life,”he has a history with the Daleks because they killed him, a little detail in his life.

“So he’ll be involved with them, but he’ll also be very important to Yaz and to Graham and Ryan.”

As to whether in the latest episode Captain Jack will actually visit the Doctor – it is fair to conclude that both Chibnall and Whittaker are holding the discussion in thoroughly hypothetical territory.

Chibnall grins, “The moment he finally meets the Doctor, that would be great if it happened – which I’m convinced it will – don’t you think, Jodie?”

‘I’m not saying something!’ Whittake exclaims.


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