Captain Jack Harkness is a fictional character played by John Barrowman in Doctor Who and its spin-off series, Torchwood. He first appears in the 2005 Doctor Who episode "The Empty Child" and reappears in the remaining episodes of the 2005 series as a companion of the ninth incarnation of the series' protagonist the Doctor. Jack becomes the central character in the adult-themed Torchwood, and returns in the 2007 series of Doctor Who, reuniting with the tenth incarnation of the Doctor, and again for the 2008 series and a 2010 special.
In the programme's narrative, Jack begins as a time travel and former con man from the 51st century. In contrast to the Doctor, Jack is a man of action, more willing to apply a hands-on solution to a problem. As a consequence of his death and resurrection in the 2005 series finale of Doctor Who, the character becomes immortal. On Earth, Jack becomes a member of Torchwood, a British organisation dedicated to combating alien threats, becoming its leader over a century later. An ambiguous backstory is gradually revealed in the course of both series, adding another layer of complexity to the character.
Jack is the first openly non-heterosexual character in the history of televised Doctor Who. The popularity of the character amongst multiple audiences directly influenced the development of the spin-off series Torchwood. The character became a figure of the British public consciousness, rapidly gaining fame for portrayer John Barrowman. As an ongoing depiction of bisexuality in mainstream British television, the character became a role model for young gay and bisexual people in the UK. Jack is featured in various Doctor Who and Torchwood books, as well as having action figure created in his likeness.
Jack Harkness first appeared in the 2005 Doctor Who episode "The Empty Child" and its continuation "The Doctor Dances", when Rose (Billie Piper), a companion of the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston), meets him during the Blitz. Although posing as an American volunteering in the Royal Air Force, Jack is actually a former "Time Agent" from the 51st century who left the agency after inexplicably losing two years of his memory. Now working as a con man, Jack is responsible for unwittingly releasing a plague in London in 1941. After the Doctor cures the plague, Jack redeems himself by taking an unexploded bomb into his ship; the Doctor and Rose rescue him moments before it explodes. Jack matures into a hero, and in his final 2005 appearance, he sacrifices himself fighting the evil alien Dalek; Rose brings him back to life while suffused with the power of the time vortex, but she and the Doctor leave him behind on Satellite 5.
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Official Site: BBC
Links: Wikipedia BBC's Doctor Who website BBC's Torchwood website