Steven Moffat Responds to John Barrowman’s Claims That He’s Holding Up a Torchwood Return

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Well, this is awkward … and weird, and interesting. I can’t wait to see the outcome.

We all know both Doctor Who and its spinoff series Torchwood are shows with deeply devoted and loyal fans. As played with gleeful, wild abandon by John Barrowman, crossover character Captain Jack Harkness took things to another level:

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and when in 2006 Torchwood earned its own BBC stripes, our TV-watching dreams exceeded all expectations. With its perfect casting — Barrowman, Eve Myles, Gareth David-Lloyd, Burn Gorman, and Naoko Mori — drawing us into an emotional whirlwind, Torchwood became so much more than we could have imagined. After an ill-devised transfer across the pond (equally as devastating as another beloved series’ shifting networks), most of us gave up on the show ever returning to its former glory. But not John Barrowman. At every turn, he’s teased and fed our fantasies, most recently intimating something big was happening in Cardiff, Torchwood‘s home base. He and his sister Carol have double-handedly brought back the series comic and, at fan events, Barrowman has often spoken about getting the show back on the Beeb.

In a recent statement to Radio Times, Captain Jack detailed a phone meeting with BBC television:

I was told that there are some obstacles to overcome, and every time I tried to talk about a way around them, it was almost like there was another obstacle … I find it really a little disheartening that a company like the BBC can’t just say: ‘Put your egos aside, we’re gonna go forward with this.’ I travel all over the world, and I see the popularity of Torchwood. But when it comes down that it’s not being done because of people’s egos, I find that really difficult. There’s a lot of politics involved, and the people that are close to it, I think would love to see it done, but there’s just certain egos in the path that are just standing in the way. That’s all I’ll say.

Hmm … certain egos, huh?

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No worries, Barrowman stepped up his hint-dropping game.

“But that might change when, um … somebody leaves.”

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Yeah, Who could he possibly mean? Who might be leaving Who? Oh, never mind all this nonsense; the man himself decided to speak up after being slammed with a barrage of angry messages from fans:

You may be aware that John Barrowman has been saying, publicly, that I’ve been blocking a new series of Torchwood. To be very clear – I haven’t blocked it; I wouldn’t block it; I wouldn’t even be ABLE to block it. I didn’t even know a revival had been mooted till I read about it on the Internet. As John perfectly well knows, it’s not my show and I could no more prevent it happening that he could cancel Sherlock. I am bewildered, and a little cross, even to be included in this conversation. For the record, I really liked the show (especially the third series) and would be very happy to see more – monsters and mayhem, why not? But the fact is, it has nothing to do with me. Please pass this on to the anxious and the angry – I’ve had enough hate mail now.

There we have it, then. It’s pretty smart of Steven Moffat to just go public and stop the innuendo in its tracks. As for the “someone new and wonderful” coming in — to Doctor Who — Barrowman was clearly referencing announced Series 11 showrunner and former Torchwood writer Chris Chibnall. For some reason, Barrowman is under the impression that Torchwood can only be resurrected if the Who showrunner agrees; perhaps a BBCer indicated that Harkness needs to first return through the parent series. What’s obvious is that, somewhere, wires are being crossed, and until someone aligns the vortex, the good Captain can’t get through.

We await a Time-Lord’s inevitable response.

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Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis has been writing about the entertainment industry for ​over seven years, and is the ​Editor-in-Chief at Oohlo, where she muses over television, movies, and pop culture. Previous Senior News Editor at Pajiba, and published at BUST.

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  • Isn’t Barrowman too busy being on EVERY show produced by the CW anyway?

    • He’s also been talking about another pilot!

  • Who Is FoxInTheBox?

    I don’t think it’s unlikely someone at the BBC might be using Steven Moffat as a scapegoat. It’s clear they don’t want more Torchwood, hence why they had to go to an American network to get Miracle Day made.
    I’d like to know who this exec Barrowman is in contact with because I don’t see how it could be RTD or Julie Gardner.

    • emmalita

      It does sound like someon has been using Moffat as an excuse.