From The Times
March 13, 2010
Guest list: John Barrowman
The king of light entertainment gets heavy - sort of - about . . .
Interview by Alex Hardy
"Coffee with a straw for Mr Barrowman," requests
the PR at Sony's HQ, a place with so many
ice-white surfaces and on-trend cardies that it
could be where the über-cool go to be
cryogenically frozen. A straw? This surely reads
"diva" as unambiguously as Barrowman's press
release ["Britain's most successful - and
comfortably Britain's best - all-round
entertainer"]? Yet our chat wasn't quite the
one-dimensional ego-centric camp-fest that was
expected. He doesn't want to talk about his new
album - "bo-ring!" - but does want to eulogise on
the epiphanies he's had while scuba diving. He's
about to swerve his Torchwood heroics for a stint
as Desperate Housewives' latest bad boy. He's a
petrolhead who will read Nuts magazine if it's
got cars in it [even if he does christen his own
with names like "Beyoncé"]. He's also amazingly
un-divaish as he laughs off the straw thing - his
teeth are newly whitened but he loves coffee too
much to forgo it ["and you can tell anyone
that."]. But he puts his foot down about his
ideal duet date - Céline Dion, no one else. Will
he ever be cool? Probably not. Would your mum
love his album for Mother's Day? Almost
certainly. His self-titled album is out now [johnbarrowman.com]
There are three things I really like to do - but
when I'm under contract in no way am I allowed to.
Scuba diving There's something about being under
water - the peace. Having just you and your
breath and your breathing rhythm, just floating.
It's like you're flying. I love wreck dives
because you're seeing a part of history that has
disappeared. Like on the SS Thistlegorm off the
coast of Egypt - you actually see this stuff as
it was the day it sunk. I also did a night dive
near Cozumel in Mexico and freaked myself out a
bit, but in a good way. After coming to the
surface alone I just sat there for about ten
minutes and looked underneath at all of these
little lights going on and looked up to a
pitch-black sky with all these stars in it, and
it was the first moment in my life that I realised how small we actually are.
Rock climbing On a wall at speed, you don't have
that much time to debate things. You just have to
do it and I think that's the way that you have to live your life.
Snowboarding One of the most blissful snowboards
I've had was in Whistler. There's a beautiful
glacier that takes about an hour and a half to
get down. There's a theme here about peace and quiet.
I still have all of my original Matchbox toys
from when I was a little boy. I would say to my
dad, if ever I could afford to have a hobby it
would be these cars but for real. I have about ten cars now, including ...
A C70 convertible She's jet-black. [Her name]
will sound really terrible - it's Beyoncé! She's
got a great booty and ... I love the headlights
on her - you know what I'm talking about!
A 1936 Dodge She's named Zaza after the drag
character that I did in La Cage Aux Folles - she's bright red.
A Mercedes 3SL The kind that Pamela Ewing drove.
Her name's Elpheba, after the wicked witch in Wicked.
A Range Rover She is totally blinged out. Let's
call her Rose after the Doctor Who sidekick who
brought [my character] Jack back to life.
A Cadillac CTX This one looks like a Transformer. She has an aggressive sound.
Gene Kelly For me he was a better dancer and
performer than Fred Astaire. I love any film he
did, but there's one with Judy Garland where he
does this dance, jumping around from one building
to another, like free running before it was even done.
James Cagney Yankee Doodle Dandy [pictured below
left] was the first musical theatre album I ever
bought in 1976. Any time it's on I watch it - because of the style of dance.
Avatar Because of the things that it says about
diversity and ecosystems - and the fact that
part-way through the movie when you're watching
them as avatars you've forgotten that they're
actually digital animation. Having dealt in
Doctor Who and Torchwood with a lot of
technology, to see that it has come that far is amazing.
Lost I have it on my iPhone but can't watch it on
a plane! I'm excited it's the last series. I
wanna know answers - I think they have to give
the answers because people will be really ticked
off. They have to explain everything, and if they
don't I'll be ringing someone up.
Glee My favourite, because I was in a swing choir
at school and it has brought musical theatre things back to TV.
Desperate Housewives I'm going to play a villain
and upset all the women on Wisteria Lane.
The TV show I could really do without is Time
Team - they only find a piece of arrow head in
about two hours - that's really engaging television . . .
Precious and rare all Love is, gender matters not.