David Tennant And John Barrowman Doctor Who Reunion Now Cancelled

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It hasn’t been a very good few weeks for the Doctor Who franchise, with ex-companion Noel Clarke’s history of harassment coming to light, followed by John Barrowman’s habit of exposing himself being re-examined. Although the actor has apologized, and was reprimanded for similar behavior back in 2008, a decision’s now been made to cancel the release of a Torchwood audio drama that would have reunited him with David Tennant’s Doctor.

Torchwood: Absent Friends was to be the latest entry in Big Finish’s prolific line of dramas, which have brought in former Doctors and other characters to reprise their roles. Absent Friends would have seen Barrowman play Captain Jack Harkness in a storyline pairing him with Tennant’s Tenth Doctor, and this is what the studio had to say about the decision:

“Big Finish has taken the decision to remove Torchwood: Absent Friends from the monthly range release schedule and has no plans to publish this title at this time.”

While the reasoning isn’t stated, it seems that the negative publicity around Barrowman, who recently guested on the Doctor Who television series, has unsettled the producers. For the audio range, an alternative title will be inserted to replace Absent Friends, and it’s as yet unclear whether the production will eventually come out. Indeed, this isn’t the first time that a Doctor Who spinoff has cut ties with Barrowman, after the immersive Time Fracture experience chose to remove a pre-recorded segment featuring the 54-year-old.

What’s perhaps more unusual about the case is that the performer’s actions were not a secret, and were even publicly discussed by Clarke at a convention. Looked at now, though, someone regularly pulling out his genitalia on set and in other media appearances is hard to square as a prank, even if John Barrowman’s cast mates have partially defended him.

Torchwood‘s Gareth David-Lloyd, who was also included in Absent Friends, had this comment on the situation:

“In my experience on Torchwood John‘s behaviour on set was always meant to entertain, make people laugh and keep their spirits and energy high on what were sometimes very long working days. It maybe that because we were so close as a cast that professional lines were sometimes blurred in the excitement – I was too inexperienced to know any different but we were always laughing. The John I knew on set would have never behaved in a way he thought was affecting someone negatively. From what I know of him that is not his nature. He was a whirlwind of positive energy, always very generous, kind and a wonderfully supportive lead actor to have at the helm of the show.”

Given these controversies, then, Doctor Who fans will hope that things can quiet down for the show, which has a profile that often attracts negative attention from the press. For Barrowman, though, it’s likely going to be a while, if ever, before he’s able to restore his reputation.

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