John Barrowman first appeared in several short-lived prime-time soap operas, including Central Park West (1995) and Titans (2000) alongside Yasmine Bleeth. Although he was considered for the role of Will in the popular US series Will and Grace.
John Barrowman is best known in the UK for his appearances in the BBC's science fiction drama Doctor Who, in which he has played recurring guest character Captain Jack Harkness since the series' revival in 2005, and later in spinoff Torchwood, in which Harkness is the leading part; both of which have also gained popularity in the United States on the BBC America network. His first appearance as Harkness was in the two-part story "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances", going on to appear in the next three episodes, "Boom Town", "Bad Wolf" and "The Parting of the Ways". Due to the popularity of the character, Captain Jack Harkness was given his own spin-off series, Torchwood, in 2006. Torchwood, which began filming its third series in August 2008, follows a team of alien hunters based in modern day Cardiff. Barrowman continued to guest star in Doctor Who in 2007, appearing in "Utopia", "The Sound of Drums", "Last of the Time Lords" and the two-part 2008 series finale, "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End" and again reprised the role of Captain Jack Harkness in the "Doctor Who: Tonight's the Night" special