Equality and Doctor Who – Captain Jack Harkness

John Barrowman Portrait Session And Book Signing At Book Soup

LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 23: Actor John Barrowman poses for a portrait at a book signing for John and Carole Barrowman’s new book “Anything Goes” at Book Soup on July 23, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

By, Heather Maloney

Throughout its forty nine year run, Doctor Who has dealt with many equality issues. While never taking a firm stance, the series discusses controversial topics in a way that promotes conversation and thought.  Doctor Who does not have an agenda to promote equality, however like most Science Fiction programs it depicts a world of possibilities and understanding.

From the moment he graced the screen, there was something special about Captain Jack Harkness. He is a man’s man, a woman’s man and he loves, well everyone. John Barrowman expertly portrays a man who tears through space leaving numerous broken hearts and bedpost notches. Beginning as a con man who meets The Doctor while trying to trick him, Jack soon becomes one of the most beloved companions of the series. While he is a mystery to the viewer and characters around him, everyone is drawn to his charisma. As the result of a time accident, Jack is thrown back in time with no way to return except to live through the years. He is immortal and during this time married a woman, had a child and also fell in love with many men. Jack’s ongoing torture is knowing that everyone he loves will eventually die and he must travel on without them.

Jack is full of mysteries; however, the one part of his life that is not an enigma is his sexuality. He falls in love with whoever he falls in love with and it doesn’t matter what gender they are. One of the most heartbreaking love stories in the Doctor Who universe is Jack and Ianto. As a fellow member of Torchwood, Ianto Jones becomes Jack’s confidant and support. Even though Jack cares for Ianto deeply, even promising that he will love him forever, he knows that this love will end just like all of the others.

The Doctor helps to make the universe a more tolerant place, where compassion and opportunity triumph. One can only look to the sky and hope that he is in fact watching over us and will protect us; not only from ourselves but from the other dangers that await us.

Please stay tuned for additional articles about equality in the Doctor Who universe.

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