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Jack's The Lad For Me (2008)

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Scots Actor Fulfilled A Dream To Star With The Doctor Actor John Barrowman Is The Ultimate Showman - A Star Of The Stage, Screen And Reality Tv. In This Second Extract From His Autobiography Anything Goes, The Scot Tells Of His Dream Job In Doctor Who And Its Spin-Off Torchwood, His Boyish Pranks Plus One Truly Celebrity-Filled Holiday ...

I WAS gobsmacked. It wasn't so much the nature of the call itself that was shocking, but that it had come through so quickly.

I've been to hundreds of auditions and one of the basic tenets an actor can count on is the wait between the audition and the decision to give you the part or not. It can drag on for weeks. Hours was unheard of.

Idon't remember much of the call because my brain stopped working at my manager Gavin Barker's first line: "John, they want you to be Captain Jack."

I screamed: "I'm going to be in the TARDIS."

At the best of times I make a subtle first impression.

On the December day in 2004 when I walked on to the Doctor Who set in Cardiff for the first time, I was bursting with energy, while Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper were exhausted and ready to break for the Christmas holiday.

It had been made clear to me that Jack's character would be unlike any other in the classic Doctor Who series. As a result, the subtle sexual chemistry among all three characters was always in play.

Captain Jack returned to Doctor Who at the end of the third series, starting with the episode Utopia, after a wait of an entire season.

One of the reasons that Jack's return on Doctor Who took so long was that Christopher Eccleston quit after only one season.

The executive producers of the show, Julie Gardner and Russell T. Davies, thought that their new Doctor, David Tennant, needed to establish himself with his assistant without a more established iconic male character like Jack in the picture. Julie and Russell called me in for a meeting and told me they wouldn't be using Jack in the second series. I was devastated. Fortunately, although I didn't know it at the time, all was not lost.

Later Julie broke the news that while Jack was taking a hiatus from Doctor Who, his own new show Torchwood would fill the rift in time. I was thrilled.

Come the third series of Doctor Who, the programme was ready to welcome Captain Jack back on board.

When David Tennant and I began filming together in early spring 2007, the hardest part for me was to resist speaking to him in a Scottish accent.

I found the set to be a lighter one with David than it had been with Christopher in the lead role. I think David is a happier person, whereas I found Chris to be a bit angsty.

Doctor Who is David's show and he leads the group. I'm number three in the cast. Whereas in Torchwood, as I've mentioned, I'm number one on the cast list

Days can be long ones when we're filming Torchwood, since the pace of a TV production involves so many more complicated set-ups and rehearsals than live TV or theatre.

The result of hours and hours of hanging about is that the cast have become great friends. Filming a TV show may not be equal to mining coal, but it's hard work nonetheless.

My first job in television was on Live and Kicking, a BBC variety show for children broadcast live on Saturday mornings in the early Nineties.

They called me in for a screen test with Andi Peters and Emma Forbes. The Live and Kicking producers offered me the role right away.

As a presenter of Live and Kicking, the experience I gained in front of the cameras was fantastic, and I had the opportunity to meet many stars such as Kylie Minogue, but not so much from behind them.

Emma and Andi were terrific and they have remained good friends, but this was my first foray into television and given my slight stubborn streak, my sense of humour, and my love of improvisation, working with the producers of Live and Kicking was a bit like working for a bunch of Captain von Trapps before Maria came into their lives.

There was little room for any creative deviation and I had to do exactly as I was told when I was told, whether or not it made any artistic sense. Despite all this, I had a great time on the programme. Over the course of my two years on the show, my role grew smaller and smaller. I was more and more the roving reporter, and less and less involved in developed segments on the set.

The proverbial last straw for me was when we were in a production team meeting for about three hours, and by the end of the meeting I'd been assigned three small segments.

I pushed my chair away from the table and stood up to address the team. "Listen, there's no point in me being here anymore if all I'm getting is one or two segments. But you could at least have had the balls to tell me you don't want to use me anymore."

The following season, I was gone. Sometimes, when life hands you lemons, you put a few in a vodka tonic.

'It had been made clear to me that Jack's character would be unlike any other in the series'

GRAPHIC: NEW START: John's Captain Jack made his debut in Doctor Who

LOOK WHO'S TALKING: John as Captain Jack in Doctor Who with David Tennant and Freema Agyeman

LIVE TV: With Kylie Minogue

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  • APA 6th ed.: McIver, Brian (2008-01-29). Jack's The Lad For Me. Daily Record p. 20.
  • MLA 7th ed.: McIver, Brian. "Jack's The Lad For Me." Daily Record [add city] 2008-01-29, 20. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: McIver, Brian. "Jack's The Lad For Me." Daily Record, edition, sec., 2008-01-29
  • Turabian: McIver, Brian. "Jack's The Lad For Me." Daily Record, 2008-01-29, section, 20 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Jack's The Lad For Me | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Jack%27s_The_Lad_For_Me | work=Daily Record | pages=20 | date=2008-01-29 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=24 May 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Jack's The Lad For Me | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Jack%27s_The_Lad_For_Me | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=24 May 2019}}</ref>