Friday, November 03, 2006


I've just caught the third episode of Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood.

In the new series of Doctor Who a character called Captain Jack Harkness was introduced. Handsome and dashing, Harkness was played by John Barrowman and distinguished himself by being incredibly vibrant, charasmatic and omnisexual.

To clarify, the character of Jack Harness would sleep with anything. Garden furniture if there was nothing else about.

This is because the reinventor of the Doctor Who franchise, Russell T. Davies, has an agenda to push, like on just about every BBC TV show. He is gay and Doctor Who has become a bit gay as a result. The first incarnation was a big, butch man with a shaved head and a leather jacket. Very, very gay.

Not that it's a bad thing. Russell T. Davies reinvented the franchise and created a new TV show that manages to be better, by several leaps and bounds, than the timeless original from which it's based. Doctor Who rocks now and part of that is it's gayness.

Take Jack, for example. Captain Jack is dashing and handsome and flirts with characters both female, male, vegetable and mineral. Why? Because Russell T. Davies wanted to establish that in the future, people aren't so obsessed with the labels we place on people today. Jack has relationships with people, not genders.

It would have come across as terribly preachy if it wasn't for John Barrowman, who happens to be a very cool, sexy actor who makes the character of Captain Jack totally lovable even to stuffy old Telegraph readers like myself.

He is the best thing to come out of Doctor Who since K9.

And, like K9, the BBC have decided to base a series around him.

Angel to Doctor Who's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Torchwood is darker and more adult (if you watch it, and are familiar with both Buffy and Angel, you will be amazed at how similar the two products are. Torchwood and Angel and Buffy and Doctor Who.)

It's all set in Cardiff. The rest of the cast are uniformly nondescript. The scriptwriter has taken all the juice and life of Captain Jack and murdered it.

But John Barrowman is amazing. And that, plus some great X-files type plots, lift this show up and make it worth watching. I just hope the franchise lasts from shaky first season to solid second (and further) series.

Torchwood is on BBC and repeated incessently. This is the BBC we're talking about, after all.

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