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Stardom hurts Torchwood star's inner geek

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John Barrowman says landing Doctor Who role fulfilled a dream

"I am proud to say that I am a G-Double-E-K," John Barrowman declares.

It's not something you'd expect to come out of Barrowman's mouth. With his impressive stature, dashing good looks and enough charisma to make George Clooney jealous, the Doctor Who and Torchwood star looks like he'd be more comfortable in an Armani commercial than professing his social ineptness.

If you didn't know better, you'd never suspect the 41-year-old dreamboat of being Scottish either; Barrowman speaks with a flawless American accent that he learned after moving to the U.S. when he was nine.

"I didn't get rid of my accent," he explains. "I just learned how to speak like American kids because they made fun of my Scottish accent and I didn't want to be bullied. When I'm back in the U.K. with Scottish people, I actually go back to my Scottish accent."

But even across the pond, Barrow-man is better known for his American dialect, playing the charming, omni-sexual Captain Jack Harkness on BBC's Doctor Who and its spinoff, Torchwood.

Don't be fooled, though; Barrowman is the first to admit that he is just as fascinated by his shows' mythology and minutiae as any of his fans.

"I grew up watching Doctor Who," he says. "I'm of the Star Wars generation; I love science fiction. Star Trek: The Next Generation, Battlestar Galactica — love 'em."

Which is why it was a dream come true when he landed the role of Jack during the first season of Doctor Who's revival in 2005.

Barrowman was initially only supposed to appear in a few episodes, but the huge fan response prompted the BBC to develop a spinoff called Torch-wood (an anagram of Doctor Who), in which Captain Jack and his crackerjack team of specialists investigate alien activity in Cardiff, Wales. The show has become such a pop culture phenomenon in Britain, the United States and Canada that it's almost too much for Barrowman's inner geek to handle.

"I love every morning, getting up to go to work because that little boy inside of me jumps with excitement every time I know I'm going to fight an alien or shoot a rocket gun or be on a spaceship or be with the Doctor or get onto the TARDIS," he gushes. "So every time I'm working on it, I'm really, really happy."

Barrowman was thrilled when Torchwood was renewed for a second season (premiering tonight at 10 p.m. on Space) because the cast and crew were more comfortable in their roles and had learned how to tell their story better.

"I always describe it as in Season 1, we were learning how to walk and in Season 2, were running," Barrowman explains, adding that viewers will see a lot more character background and development for Captain Jack and the other Torchwood players. Torchwood, Season 2 premiere, 10 p.m. today, on Space

"He is a lot more comfortable with his immortality. You learn about how the team around him became a part of Torchwood and you also learn about his feelings and relationships with each of them, which I think is really important."

Torchwood has become well-known for having a much more adult tone than Doctor Who, often depicting sexual relationships and encounters of all kinds. Characters frequently carry on affairs with coworkers and cheat on their significant others — subject matter British audiences practically ate up with a spoon.

American audiences were a little more hesitant about Torchwood's racier themes, but Barrowman got them in the end, something he sees as a sign that viewers are ready for more mature content.

"The reason (Torchwood has) gone down so well in America — which TV executives should look at — is the fact that their audience isn't uptight," he says.

"It's the executives who are treating the audience like they're uptight because they're pandering to programming for one specific audience and forgetting about everyone else out there.

Caption: John Barrowman drew huge fan response on Doctor Who, prompting BBC to develop Torchwood as a spinoff.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Angus, Kat (2008-08-08). Stardom hurts Torchwood star's inner geek. Ottawa Citizen p. E6.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Angus, Kat. "Stardom hurts Torchwood star's inner geek." Ottawa Citizen [add city] 2008-08-08, E6. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Angus, Kat. "Stardom hurts Torchwood star's inner geek." Ottawa Citizen, edition, sec., 2008-08-08
  • Turabian: Angus, Kat. "Stardom hurts Torchwood star's inner geek." Ottawa Citizen, 2008-08-08, section, E6 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Stardom hurts Torchwood star's inner geek | url= | work=Ottawa Citizen | pages=E6 | date=2008-08-08 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=17 April 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Stardom hurts Torchwood star's inner geek | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=17 April 2024}}</ref>