In recent years, it seems we cannot put on the television in Britain without seeing John Barrowman’s handsome face staring out from the screen. But with his talent for acting, singing and general charisma and bonhomie, it is perhaps not surprising.
John was born in Glasgow in 1967 but moved with his family to the US when he was eight and raised in Joliet Illinois. He holds dual British/American citizenship which explains why, although he generally speaks with an American accent, he often lapses into a broad Scottish brogue particularly when speaking to his parents.
John was determined to get into show business from an early age. His main love was musical theatre and he returned to the UK in 1989 to star in the West End production of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. But it was through his television work that John became widely known in the UK.
In 1995, he landed a plum role in the newly revamped Dr Who then starring Christopher Eccleston. His character, Captain Jack Harkness, first appeared on our screens in a brilliant episode called The Empty Child set during the Blitz in London in World War Two. Captain Jack is a lovable rogue space traveller who hooks up with the Dr and Rose.
John reprised the role in subsequent episodes of Dr Who and such was his success that the BBC gave him his own spinoff show called Torchwood – again with a science fiction theme.
But it’s not just as an actor that John has found work on television. He has also been a successful presenter on magazine shows such as This Morning and competed as a skater in Dancing on Ice. He’s been a judge on three reality shows: Any Dream Will Do (a contest to find a star for the new version of Joseph in the West End), How do you Solve a Problem Like Maria (similarly looking for a star for the Julie Andrews role in The Sound of Music), and I’d Do Anything (looking for the role of Nancy in the new production of Oliver!). John even competed as a skater in Dancing on Ice.
His new show Tonight’s The Night gives him the chance to shine as a singer while he seeks out new acts and gives them the chance to perform before an audience.
John is openly gay and entered into a civil partnership in 2006 with his long-term partner British architect Scott Gill. Indeed, John auditioned for the lead in the sitcom Will and Grace but lost to Eric McCormack (who is not gay) because the producers felt John seemed too straight. Later, he complained that people should not expect all gay people to act the same. However, with his good looks and charismatic personality, nothing will stop women all over the country from falling for him.