Doctor Who and Resurrection

Philip has started a separate blog exploring theology through the cult TV-series Doctor Who.  The blog is TARDIS: Theology and Relative Discourses in Space. In The Cross Is Not Enough we talk about analogies of Jesus’ resurrection found in pop culture. Doctor Who as a resurrection analogy is discussed in The Cross Is Not Enough (pages 100 & 103).

Check Philip’s new blog for the first in a series of posts about Doctor Who and Resurrection.


Torchwood and Christ’s Resurrection (Part One)

Torchwood and Christ’s Resurrection — it sounds a bit weird, right?

Well, we don’t think so. In The Cross Is Not Enough we talk about Captain Jack Harkness who is the lead character in TorchwoodHe acts at times like a Christ figure who saves others, indeed saves the whole world.

A key clue is that in several stories Jack dies and is resurrected from the dead. If you didn’t realise it, Jack’s death and resurrection is a veiled analogy to Christ’s Resurrection.


Captain Jack Harkness was created by the Scottish television writer and producer Steven Moffatt. He is played by the Scottish-born American-raised actor John Barrowman.

Captain Jack, as he is also known, began life not in Torchwood but in the BBC’s long-running series Doctor Who. Its in the 2005 series that Captain Jack first appears and he shares five episodes with the Doctor, and the Doctor’s assistant Rose Tyler.

In the story “The Empty Child“, Captain Jack turns up on earth during the London Blitz of 1941. He seems to be an American-born volunteer who serves as an officer-pilot in the R.A.F. That is when he encounters the Doctor. As that story unfolds, its revealed that he is a human being but actually comes from the 51st century. In that futuristic time he worked as a Time Agent but then through a chain of events became a con-artist selling off pieces of technology to the highest bidder. He tries to hide in the twentieth century to evade being arrested.


Captain Jack and the Doctor initially harbour doubts about each other but as they share in subsequent adventures they become good friends. Under the Doctor’s mentoring, Captain Jack is transformed from feeling like a coward to being a man of action who says “no” to evil.

In the final story of the 2005 series — “The Parting of the Ways“– the Doctor, Captain Jack and Rose Tyler are pitted against the power of the Doctor’s most formidable and evil enemy the Daleks.

The Daleks kill Captain Jack in the climactic battle. However, Rose Tyler amazingly intervenes. She accessed the power of the time vortex out of the Doctor’s time-travel capsule the TARDIS. Using this power Rose pours energy into Captain Jack’s corpse and astoundingly he is resurrected back to life again. Unfortunately for Captain Jack he is left behind as the Doctor and Rose rush away after the battle.

As we discover from later stories in Doctor Who, Captain Jack used a time-vortex manipulator and travelled back in time to the earth. He wants to be reunited with the Doctor and he knows that when the earth gets into huge trouble the Doctor always returns.


Before Captain Jack manages to become reunited with the Doctor he lives a new kind of life on earth during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.Torchwood (unscramble the letters and you get “Doctor Who”) developed as an adult spin-off series from Doctor Who. The Torchwood Institute is the name of a secret organisation that hunts down aliens who threaten the earth. Captain Jack leads the Torchwood team in an underground base in Cardiff, Wales.

Throughout the four series of Torchwood we learn more about Captain Jack’s life, and we see him in different stories saving others in a Christ-like fashion. He also experiences death and resurrection a few times but that’s something we’ll chat more about in the next post.