A zest for life is something that money can’t buy - Annie Roberts meets one such lucky person - John Barrowman.
“I just love panto and I love the people,” says John Barrowman, chuckling at the prospect of entertaining the audiences in Birmingham to some traditional thigh-slapping theatre.
“Last year we didn’t expect the panto to do just so well – it was the most successful in the country and I can’t wait to get back. The people of Birmingham are great – I loved their reactions and how they went with us when mistakes were made. It is such a great atmosphere.”
It is this tempting mix that has lured John back to the stage – he could be forgiven for pleading lack of leisure time but this Glaswegian-born actor loves to work.
His recent television work has included being a judge on I’d Do Anything, the reality show to find the new Nancy for the West End show Oliver! The off-the-wall Captain Jack Harkness was brought to life in Dr Who in 2005 and the spin-off sci-fi series Torchwood, has grown another cult following.
Sandwiched between these regular appearances are anything from Dancing on Ice, musicals, publication of his memoirs and one-off radio shows.
“I get an awful lot of offers but for every one I take I turn down about eight,” reveals John.
“I am really chuffed about that – it means I am in a good position.”
He adds: “The main thing is that I enjoy what I am doing – I don’t think about what ifs but think there is a reason and things happen for a reason.
“I am very busy so don’t knock it.”
Looking back on John’s life and career there have been an awful lot of what ifs including the family’s decision when John was eight to move from Scotland to Illinois after his father, Clan, was offered a new job.
Apart from some of the obvious advantages for a performer moving to America, it has left John with some distinctive traits like his accent that has an American twang which appears to have more than a hint of Glaswegian in the right company.
His carefree attitude to life – with a refreshing way of wearing his heart on his sleeve – has won him opportunities and a legion of fans along the way.
This is a performer prepared to take risks, defying popular perceptions to live his life in and out of the spotlight the way he wants.
It has meant publicly celebrating his long-standing relationship with Scott ,who he admits can be ‘a bit of a cynic’.
“I am an optimist and don’t like negativity,” explains John.
“I have my down days like anyone else but don’t dwell on these but like to pick myself up and move on.”
The variety of John’s life means at least there is little risk of getting bored.
A specially-commissioned radio play episode of Torchwood, called Lost Souls, premiered on BBC Radio 4 to mark the experimental work at CERN to recreate the aftershocks of the Big Bang.
“It was great do and it was fascinating visiting CERN and getting a look at what really goes on there,” says John.
His versatility means that at times he is never far from a television viewer or a radio listener. His working relationship with Andrew Lloyd Webber has opened other doors – he played host to the musical Lord’s birthday celebrations in Hyde Park, London.
And this month will be the release of a new album, Music Music Music. The single What About Us written by Take That’s Gary Barlow, is due for release a week earlier on November 17.
With so much going on in John’s life he could be forgiven for having little time to dream but he laughs when asked if he had ever thought about becoming a time traveller like the team on Dr Who.
“What a great idea, that would be a lot of fun,” laughs John.
So where would be his time travel destination?
“I suppose I should say at some important place in time but let’s go back to the Roman era – I can’t resist the togas.”
John is undoubtedly one time traveller who would savour every moment.
* John Barrowman stars in Robin Hood – The Pantomime Adventure at Birmingham Hippodrome from Friday, December 19 to Sunday, February 1 2009. For tickets see the website at www.birminghamhippodrome.com or call the box office on 0844 338 5000.