WHO DUNNT; Exclusive Doctor Who Spin-Off Star Promises Torchwood Mysteries Will Be Full of Terrifying Aliens, Weapons and Sex

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), October 20, 2006 | Go to article overview

WHO DUNNT; Exclusive Doctor Who Spin-Off Star Promises Torchwood Mysteries Will Be Full of Terrifying Aliens, Weapons and Sex


Byline: By Rick Fulton

SEX, aliens and guns ... that's what Scots actor John Barrowman is promising with Torchwood, the Doctor Who spin-off which is about to put the sigh in sci-fi.

Torchwood, an anagram of Doctor Who, starts with a double bill on Sunday on BBC Three, which will be repeated on BBC2 on Wednesday.

The Record was the only Scots paper to be invited to a screening and I can reveal the show more than lives up to all the hype.

Writer Russell T. Davies has made a gritty British equivalent to America's The X-Files, but using more humour and sex.

While Mulder and Scully's relationship was always a "will they, won't they?", the Torchwood team's motto seems to be "we will . . . with anyone".

Glasgow-born John, 38, who plays team leader Captain Jack Harkness, laughed: "It doesn't have to have a pulse for Jack to fancy it. And if it's got azip code, he'll sleep with it.

In the opening episode, one of the team, Owen Harper, played by Burn Gorman, sprays his face with a high-powered aphrodisiac which sees him being dragged home by awoman he meets in a bar - and her boyfriend.

However, for the first episode at least, don't expect any Queer As Folk-style threesomes, although the second episode has a sex-crazed alien parasite.

Certainly John has a twinkle in his eye as Captain Jack and is clearly enjoying the role.

He said: "I'm a grown man who gets to go to work every day and fight aliens, play with guns and kiss beautiful people. What more could I ask for?" When we last saw Captain Jack in Doctor Who last year, he was stranded on a satellite thousands of years in the future.

He'd heroically faced down a Dalek invasion to protect his new friends, The Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, and Rose, played by Billie Piper, but his fate was unknown.

Now the Time Agent, who appeared in wartime London and then became part of the Tardis team, is back heading up Torchwood, the institute set up by Queen Victoria to protect the earth from aliens, including Doctor Who.

Although Torchwood battles beings from other planets, it's quite happy to use their technology.

Captain Jack and his team may not have a Tardis, but they do have an underground base, the Hub, hidden in the middle of Cardiff and containing a pet pterodactyl. After John's family moved from Glasgow to Illinois when he was eight, he managed to watch Doctor Who when it starred John Pertwee and became a huge fan.

"It was a childhood dream to be a character in Doctor Who, so to have my own series is just unimaginable," he said.

The Hub is on a space-time rift that becomes a gateway to all kinds of aliens, including bloodthirsty Weevils who live in sewers, one of whom we meet in the first episode.

"Being a Time Agent not a time traveller, Jack can only travel through time with the assistance of someone such as The Doctor," said John.

"Cardiff has this rift in it and so is one of the places the Tardis is likely to return to, so Jack is just waiting. He never leaves. He never sleeps."

John loved making Torchwood in Cardiff so much he bought a house overlooking the bay, which he shares with his partner, architect Scott Gill.

They are going to cement their 13-year relationship with a civil partnership in December.

But in Torchwood it seems Jack is more interested in Gwen, a feisty policewoman, played by Eve Myles.

The first episode is almost seen through her eyes as tries to find out what Torchwood is.

But Eve laughed: "She really is a feisty chick and you wouldn't want to mess with her.

"She's a lot tougher than I am. The first sight of a Weevil and I would have gone home for a Chinese takeaway and a cup of tea. I certainly wouldn't have joined Torchwood."

Working in Cardiff was a fantastic opportunity for Eve, who is fiercely proud of her Welsh roots. …

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