John Barrowman Removed From Doctor Who Immersive Experience in Wake of Allegations

A cyborg Dalek (far left) menaces four characters, including John Barrowman's Captain Jack Harkness, in a scene from "Revolution of the Daleks".
John Barrowman returning as Jack Harkness in the 2021 Doctor Who special “Revolution of the Daleks.”
Image: BBC

After actor Noel Clarke was accused by over 20 women of engaging in repeated incidents of sexual harassment on set and off during his career—including his time playing Mickey Smith on Doctor Who—fellow co-star John Barrowman was also embroiled in accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior. Now, it seems like the BBC is starting to take some action against Barrowman’s recent resurgence in the series.

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The Radio Times reports that scenes Barrowman recently filmed for Doctor Who: Time Fracture—an in-person “Immersive Experience” exhibition currently set to begin in the UK later this month, following the country lifting covid-19 lockdown restrictions—will no longer be included in the final experience. “Immersive Everywhere have taken the decision to remove this pre record from Doctor Who: Time Fracture,” a newly added comment in the FAQ for Time Fracture’s website reads, under the headline “What’s happening with Captain Jack Harkness and Torchwood in the show?” It continues, “We will continue to include content that pays tribute to this brilliant show that is Torchwood so as not to disappoint its fans, and are working on an exciting storyline to be announced soon.”

Recently, Barrowman was embroiled in the allegations surrounding Clarke’s history of sexual harassment accusations when a clip of both actors at a fan convention in 2014—appearing alongside actresses Camille Couduri and Annette Badland—went viral, which discussed Barrowman’s alleged frequent exposure of his genitals on the set of the show, framed as pranks. Following a report by the Guardian about allegations against Clarke specific to his time on Doctor Who, Barrowman released a brief statement to the paper about his own incidents, for which the actor was eventually reprimanded on-set for in 2008. The article reads: “Barrowman said his ‘high-spirited behaviour’ was ‘only ever intended in good humour to entertain colleagues on set and backstage,’ ‘With the benefit of hindsight, I understand that upset may have been caused by my exuberant behaviour and I have apologised for this previously,’ he added. ‘Since my apology in November 2008, my understanding and behaviour have also changed.’”

“I met with John and reprimanded him,” Julie Gardner, former Doctor Who and Torchwood executive producer said in a statement to the Guardian, “[and made] it clear to both John and his agent that behaviour of this kind would not be tolerated… To my knowledge, John’s inappropriate behaviour stopped thereafter.”

After a long absence from the series since the end of Torchwood with the 2011 series Miracle Day, the actor returned to Doctor Who as Captain Jack Harkness in season 12 last year. After making an appearance in “Fugitive of the Judoon,” Barrowman played a starring role alongside current Doctor Jodie Whittaker in the 2021 New Year’s Day special, “Revolution of the Daleks,” leaving open the possibility for future appearances in the series. The actor also currently reprises his role as Harkness in officially licensed Doctor Who and Torchwood audio drama series at Big Finish. The decision to remove the actor from a current project at least seems to indicate that the BBC is looking at Doctor Who’s relationship with the actor in a different light for the moment. But for now, what this means for Barrowman’s future relationship with Doctor Who beyond his removal from Time Fracture remains to be seen.

Correction 5/12/2020, 6:30 p.m. EST: A previous version of this article identified one of the two actresses in a video as Tracy Ann Oberman, it was instead Annette Badland, who appeared in Doctor Who’s first revived season in 2005 as a member of the alien Slitheen race.


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James is a News Editor at io9, where you can find him delivering your morning spoilers, writing about superheroes, and having many feelings about Star Wars. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

DISCUSSION

Alsandair
Alsandair

Just so I’m understanding: John Barrowman did some really crappy things in 2008 (and probably before). He was formally reprimanded. He apologized. He hasn’t done said crappy things since then. He is now being cut out of things due to these issues 13 years later.

Am I missing something, or does this sound a lot like the James Gunn “Yeah, I really shouldn’t have made horrible jokes like that 2 decades ago” thing all over again?