John, who appeared as Captain Jack Harkness both in the original series (with the Doctor played by Christopher Eccleston, and later David Tennant) and its spin-off ‘Torchwood’, is a big fan of Peter Capaldi, saying “I love the fact he’s Scottish, and that they’ve given him a cape. It takes me back to the olden days.”
As to whether Captain Jack will share screen time with this latest resident of the Tardis, John says, “I would love it, and I think the fans would want it. I know how popular jack is because of the reception I get all over the world, but it’s in the fate of the gods.”
Just as I’m about to speak to John Barrowman about the forthcoming DVD release of 'Arrow's second season, in which his guest-starring role of Malcolm Merlyn has been upgraded to a regular slot, a headline pops up on my screen – “John Barrowman likes to flash us.” Seeing as he’s right here, I ask him for the truth of the matter.
“No, no, no,” he beams. “I might have mooned them, just as a way of having a bit of fun on set. But don’t let anyone be thinking I dropped the whole thing. That might have got lost in translation. This is a family show.”
Despite his long and diverse career – via Broadway and the West End, stage and big screen before we even get to official phenomenon ‘Torchwood’ – it would be fair to say that John remains tickled pink by the success of the show about a disguised millionaire vigilante, complete with bow and arrow. “This kind of thing is what you’re shooting for,” he tells me. “One evening of an Arrow audience will be bigger than in all my lifetime of theatre. And, in an ideal world, I’ll introduce a different audience to each one. I can cross-pollinate.”
Much he enjoys larking around, John’s serious side came out during the Commonwealth Games when his kissing another man was broadcast around the world – something he didn’t realise had caused such a reaction until he stepped on a plane the same day, “and people were literally trying to get through to talk to me via the plane’s communication system.”
So why put himself in the eye of such a storm?
“There’s a lot of Scottish blood in me,” he explains. “And I just wanted to say thankyou to Scotland for all its done in the area of equality.
“It was completely rehearsed, except we were supposed to be up on a truck, and when we got there, I realised I wanted us to be down on the ground with everyone else, so that it would be properly inclusive. So that was the only thing that was spontaneous.”
Despite his strong opinions, extreme popularity and happiness with his own longterm partner Scott – “my husband, I LOVE saying it, particularly at those times when people are a little uncomfortable with it, they’re the best,” he adds mischievously – John has never regarded himself as a political figure, just one who isn’t prepared to pretend.
“When I was in my early twenties,” he tells me, “a big US TV company brought me in and they said, ‘We don’t want you to tell anyone you’re gay.
“I was so confused, it was only when I got home, I realised they meant not referring to Scott, which meant not talking about my life outside the show, to anyone, ever.
“I wasn’t put on earth to be political, but I wasn’t prepared to lie, so that changed everything for me. I couldn’t be something I wasn’t.”
It takes a certain robust framework to combat that sort of pressure at such a young age, something for which John credits his Scottish parents, and something his mother once told him…
“She told me that not everyone has to like me,” he remembers. “Respect is very different from like, and once you realise that, and stop working so hard to get everyone to like you, it can be intensely liberating.”
Arrow: Season 2 is available on Blu-ray and DVD now, courtesy of Warner Home Entertainment UK. Check out the blooper reel exclusive to the home release below...