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How We Met: John Barrowman & Jodie Prenger

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    How We Met: John Barrowman & Jodie Prenger John constantly gave me good advice, but it was fur that really brought us together Interviews by Adam Jacques
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 28, 2010
      How We Met: John Barrowman & Jodie Prenger

      'John constantly gave me good advice, but it was
      fur that really brought us together'

      Interviews by Adam Jacques

      Sunday, 28 February 2010



      Consider yourself one of the family: Barrowman
      gave Prenger an 'in' with his manager Gavin Barker and his circle of friends

      John Barrowman, 42, is best known for his role as
      Captain Jack in the 'Doctor Who' spin-off
      'Torchwood'. He is also a singer and stage actor,
      appearing in 'La Cage aux Folles' and as a judge
      on the BBC talent show 'I'd Do Anything' in 2008.
      He lives in London with his partner, Scott.

      The thing I love most about Jodie is that she
      makes me laugh. It goes back to the first day I
      met her: she walked into the audition for I'd Do
      Anything, saying, "Ooh, my feet are killing me,
      can I take my shoes off, please?" I said, "Are
      they really hurting your feet?" And she said,
      "Yeah, they only cost me 10 quid." I just lost it
      and laughed through her whole audition. Very
      rarely do you meet someone in this business who's
      willing to show who they really are, but with
      Jodie what you see is what you get, which is the same with me.

      The only time we could talk to the contestants
      was in the BBC bar after the Saturday-night TV
      performance. I would talk to each of them but it
      was Jodie who was always coming to me for advice.
      And, as the competition progressed, we weren't
      talking about advice, but about home, family and dogs.

      When she won, I was ecstatic that a genuine
      person had come through it. We stayed in touch
      and started going out to dinners and I'd have her
      over to my house. I introduced her to my manager,
      Gavin, who agreed to sign her. We've done all
      sorts together since, including a recording for
      my album. I could have had performers who were
      more prominent in the pop scene, but I wanted
      Jodie; for me it's about being loyal.

      She's very supportive to me, too, coming to see
      my shows, and when I had a tough time with the
      Radio 1 thing [Barrowman exposed himself during a
      broadcast 14 months ago], Jodie knew what I was
      going through and was the first to get in contact.

      She's met all my friends, who love her – in fact
      one of them, Shirley, came to watch Jodie's every
      appearance during the show. And she's great fun
      on a night out. Our last extravaganza at my place
      lasted till 6am; the champagne flowed, we had a
      sing-along with my piano and we played truth or dare.

      I've met Jodie's parents a few times, and
      whenever they come to visit her from Blackpool,
      her father always pulls me aside and says, "Thank
      you, you do a lot more for her than you think you
      do," so I know she's appreciative of everything.
      But despite how we first met, I'm no longer her
      teacher and she's not the student – that's not how we see each other now.

      Jodie Prenger, 30, is an actor and singer who won
      the BBC talent show 'I'd Do Anything' in 2008,
      netting her the role of Nancy in the West End
      revival of the musical 'Oliver!'. She lives in London

      I first encountered John during the second round
      of auditions for I'd Do Anything. He was one of
      the judges, and I was petrified, like a deer in
      front of headlights, but it was his laughter that
      put me at ease. I was nervously trying to kick
      off my shoes on stage, which still had their £5
      sticker on the sole, and John spotted it, and he
      just started giggling; John's always laughing.

      I was going through these massive life-changing
      reality experiences, and John constantly gave me
      great advice for being on stage such as, "Just
      act like you're the only one in the pub." But it
      was fur that really brought us together. During
      the filming of one of the episodes of the series,
      his partner Scott called him to say his dog had
      passed away; it was such a sad thing. I'm just
      dead soft with dogs, so suddenly it was all I
      could think about, so I just said to him, "Don't
      even bother about us, we'll be fine, just go," as
      if it was me running the show! After that we
      talked about dogs all the time: I've got two
      Yorkshire terriers; John now has a Jack Russell and a mixed.

      Over the course of the rest of the show we
      started finding out just how similar we were. A
      lot of people say that I am a gay man trapped in
      a woman's body. I've done a few radio-show
      stand-ins for Paul O'Grady, and when I talk about
      favourite songs, I have a gay man's song choices;
      one of my favourites, "I Am What I Am", John sang
      when I went to go watch him recently in Le Cage
      aux Folles and I remember thinking, "Oh my God,
      that's the perfect role for me."

      When I first moved to London from Blackpool, the
      thing that really scared me was being on my own.
      But after I won the show, John took me under his
      wing; he introduced me to his manager Gavin
      Barker and I became part of this circle we call
      the Barker Family. When you are a good person,
      you surround yourself with good people, as John
      has. As a group we've all been out drinking and
      survived; a few of us went to The Ivy last year
      for his birthday. He's a very handsome man, so if
      we're out people always look at him, and when
      they realise it's John, they go in for an autograph.

      We've worked together a lot since the
      competition. I've performed at some of his
      concert tours, and when he rang me up in
      September last year to ask me to do a duet track
      with him ["So Close", from the film Enchanted], I
      jumped at the chance – it meant a lot that I was
      the first one he thought of. My parents and
      John's parents all met up recently to listen to
      the final version over a cup of tea and it was
      fabulous seeing both sets of parents beaming with
      pride. It's been great knowing someone who's in
      the same industry, and he's been a fantastic
      mentor, but most importantly his friendship has
      given me something else: a home away from home.

      John Barrowman's self-titled album is out on Sony
      tomorrow; <http://johnbarrowman.com>johnbarrowman.com


      Precious and rare all Love is, gender matters not.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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