“Jack is the Doctor-elect. Never doubted it, never will.”
So, it’s always fun to stick your neck out a little. Here goes. The Eleventh Doctor is already cast. It’s John Barrowman.
I can’t begin to figure out how this would work in detail, but there have been some rumours that the Toclafane are the future incarnations of Time Lords. What seems to happen with such leaks is that they turn out to be partly correct – that is, the concept comes up in the finished show, but not quite in the rumoured way.
As a final, desparate act towards the end of the Time War, the Time Lords found a way to evoke future incarnations of themselves, perhaps temporarily, to help fight the Daleks. Jack is, in fact, a future incarnation of the Doctor. It’s possible that Rose’s actions in POTW revived that hidden part of himself.
Of course, the potential for emo here is enormous. It would explain why Jack felt so “wrong” to the Doctor and, arguably, also the TARDIS. It would also mean that, just as he rediscovers Jack as a friend and companion, he is forced to avoid ever seeing him again. It would be too difficult to avoid a dangerous paradox; the Doctor cannot travel permanently with his future self.
I t hink the key is to think like a TV producer. What qualities does a future Doctor need? Energy, charisma, sense of humour and a clear moral compass. There are some moral issues with Jack, particularly his tendency to use violence. But there’s a picture in the LOTTL trailer of the Doctor (I think) pulling a gun, which would set a precedent. And Jack’s character throughout Torchwood has been moving steadily towards moral restraint – we don’t see him drinking, swearing or screwing around. He’s already being softened for a family audience, but since he’s pre-established as a bit of a rogue, he retains a dangerous edge.
Torchwood has made it quite clear: JB can carry a major TV show. His fan following is without doubt. There are get-out clauses – if anything goes wrong, we just accept Jack as a future regeneration, but not necessarily Eleven. And wouldn’t RTD rejoice to be casting an openly gay Doctor Who, and revealing his identity at Gay Pride, of all things?