Saturday, May 9, 2009

John Barrowman on Doctor Who, Torchwood and his upcoming concert at the Philharmonic Hall

Liverpool Daily Post
IS THERE a void in the space-time continuum somewhere on Hope Street, with an army of Cybermen poised to break through and “upgrade” all Liverpudlians into versions of their own image?

Or maybe its an outbreak of Weevils, who’ve lumbered their way up north from Cardiff, that is drawing Doctor Who assistants to the city.

Because two weeks ago we had Sarah-Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) introducing a concert at the Philharmonic Hall, and later this month Captain Jack Harkness will be making his way to the art deco concert hall.

John Barrowman, singer, dancer, TV presenter and dashing hero of Doctor Who spin-off, Torchwood, is currently touring the UK, taking in 17 venues.

His repertoire is made up of “songs I’ve always loved”, including those made famous by Bette Midler, Elaine Paige and Joni Mitchell.

“I’m different things to different people and that’s a nice thing for me,” he says.

“I can be Mr Saturday Night entertainment, I can be the edgy Captain Jack on Torchwood, and the child-friendly one on Dr Who, and then I can let my hair down a bit on stage in the evening.”

Although Captain Jack is a lone traveller through life, outliving everyone he draws close to, in real life the performer is very close to his family – his mum and dad may even be in the audience at the Phil, despite living on the other side of the Atlantic.

“They’re my biggest fans,” says Barrowman, 42.

“I speak to them almost every other day, sometimes every day.

“Last year, they went on my concert tour with me, this year they’ll be doing the same thing.

“I see them about every three or four months, as I fly them over. They’ve come to all the West End shows I’ve been in, except one, and they’ve seen them between 13 and 26 times!”

Born and brought up in Scotland, he and his family moved to the US when he was eight years old.

He did not grow up with a burning desire to be a well-known performer (although he admits he loves walking down the street and hearing people say “that’s John Barrowman“).

“At the age of nine, I wanted to be an airline pilot,” he says.

“That’s when I realised I was gay, because I really liked the outfit, and the guy who was wearing it.”

There is a third series of Torchwood on the way, filmed at BBC TV studios in Cardiff – Barrowman and his partner, Scott Gill, divide their time between there and London – and his new TV show, Tonight’s the Night, which grants viewers’ wishes, is currently on air.

His own dream, he adds, is to sing with Canada’s Celine Dion, but admits he’d probably “collapse with excitement” if she turned up.

Nerves are a usual part of the job for Barrowman, despite his confident air.

“I always get nervous – even when we’re recording these shows, I’m a bundle of nerves before we go on, because I’m a perfectionist and that’s to my own detriment.”

As battling Daleks appears to be nothing compared to performing live, with a bit of luck Captain Jack will be travelling in the Tardis again very soon.

“All I can say is that he will return to help the Doctor when he needs assistance or help with an alien or when someone’s trying to destroy the earth. You can read what you like into that one.”

JOHN BARROWMAN is performing at the Philharmonic Hall on May 19.


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