John Scot Barrowman (born 11 March 1967 in Mount Vernon, Glasgow, Scotland) is a Scottish American actor, musical performer, dancer, singer and television presenter, who has lived and worked both in the United Kingdom and the United States. He currently lives in the UK with his civil partner Scott Gill.

Barrowman is best known on British television for his acting and his presenting work on TV. His most prominent television role has been as Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and its spin-off series Torchwood. He has featured in such light entertainment shows as Going Live, Live & Kicking, Any Dream Will Do, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, and I'd Do Anything as well as appearing on the celebrity ice skating show Dancing on Ice. As a result of his family's move to Illinois when he was 9 years old, Barrowman speaks in an American accent on screen but reverts to a Scottish accent when with family or in Scotland.[1]

Barrowman is openly gay. He was voted the 2006 Stonewall "Entertainer of the Year"[2] and was third in Broadcast magazine's "Hottest Commodity" poll in November 2006.[3]


John Scot Barrowman was born in Mount Vernon, Glasgow, where he lived for the first eight years. His mother worked in a record shop and his father worked for the Caterpillar heavy machinery company in nearby Uddingston. In 1976 the family was relocated to the United States by the company for which his father was working.[4]

He spent the next few years of his life in Aurora, Illinois, where his father was a manager at the Caterpillar tractor factory. Barrowman graduated from Joliet West High School in 1985. While still in high school, he won parts in several musical productions even as a freshman. Between 1983 and 1985 he performed in productions of Hello, Dolly!, Oliver!, Camelot, Li'l Abner and Anything Goes. He also spent a summer working for an Illinois power company, a job arranged by his father to give him experience of manual labour.[5] He attended university in San Diego, and returned to the United Kingdom in 1990.

Acting career

Barrowman's musical abilities have been featured in film: he had a duet with Kevin Kline singing Night and Day in the Cole Porter biopic De-Lovely, and he sang Springtime for Hitler in the 2005 film of Mel Brooks' The Producers, based on the Broadway adaptation of the original movie. He also recently performed in and co-presented a BBC One series on Saturday nights, entitled The Sound of Musicals, in which performers from West End musicals sing songs from the shows.[6]

His professional debut was in the 1989 London West End production of Cole Porter's Anything Goes, playing Billy Crocker, a role that he reprised in Trevor Nunn's 2003 West End revival. He has also appeared in the West End productions of Miss Saigon, Beauty and the Beast, Matador, Hair, Grease!, Sunset Boulevard, Chicago and The Phantom of the Opera.

He was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 1998 for originating the role of Cal Chandler in The Fix,[7] a performance he repeated in Cameron Mackintosh's 1998 gala concert Hey, Mr Producer!. He has played the role of Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard in the West End and, briefly, on Broadway. His only other Broadway credit is the Stephen Sondheim revue Putting It Together (1999–2000). In 2002, he appeared in the central role of Bobby in Sondheim's Company in the Kennedy Center's Stephen Sondheim Celebration.

He has also appeared in the West End in non-musical dramas, such as Rope and the 2005 production of A Few Good Men, in which Barrowman starred as Jack Ross opposite Rob Lowe. He has starred in the pantomimes Cinderella at the New Wimbledon Theatre (Christmas 2005–6) and Jack and the Beanstalk at Cardiff's New Theatre (Christmas 2006–7). He played the title role in Aladdin at the Birmingham Hippodrome over Christmas 2007–8.[8] He is also set to play the lead in the Robin Hood panto at the Birmingham Hippodrome for the 2008-2009 season.

He is best known in the UK for his appearances from 2005 to 2008 in the latest Doctor Who TV series and its spinoff Torchwood. In the United States these programs have been very popular on BBC America, but with its limited cable distribution his most familiar starring roles may be in several short-lived prime-time soap operas such as Titans with Yasmine Bleeth in 2000 and Central Park West, as well as the low-budget film Shark Attack 3: Megalodon.

Barrowman was under consideration for the role of Will in the popular US series Will and Grace but the producers felt he was "too straight" and the role went to Eric McCormack instead, who is heterosexual. "The sad thing is it's run by gay men and women," said Barrowman in a January 2006 article.[9] He later expressed contempt at the idea that all gay men act the same way.[10]

He has appeared playing an occasional character in BBC One's science fiction television series Doctor Who, since Queer as Folk creator Russell T. Davies revived the series in 2005. Barrowman first appeared as Captain Jack Harkness in The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances two-part story, and subsequently appeared in Boom Town, Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways in 2005, and in the 2007 episodes Utopia, The Sound of Drums and Last of the Time Lords. He will also appear in later episodes of the upcoming 2008 series.[11]

Barrowman also plays the role of Harkness as the lead regular in Davies' Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood which has just completed its second series. The spin-off's first 13-week season - set in modern Cardiff- was shown on BBC Three, BBC Two and the BBC's BBC HD satellite and cable high definition channel. In both shows Harkness appears to be pansexual.

In the first series of Torchwood, Barrowman's character headed an organization apparently investigating crime and alien activity (In Tooth & Claw, episode 2 of 2006's Doctor Who season - without Harkness - Torchwood was created by Queen Victoria after her meeting with The Doctor at Torchwood House in the Scottish Highlands, during which she banished The Doctor and determined that Britain must be defended against alien/supernatural forces - hence Torchwood). Because of The Doctor's ministrations and a mistake his then companion Rose Tyler made, Harkness (a time agent from the far future who assumed the identity of a World War II pilot) became unable to die.

Barrowman has also appeared in a Doctor Who special of the BBC's The Weakest Link.[12] He appeared in an episode of the third series of the BBC series Hotel Babylon.[13]

Presenting and guest starring

Barrowman appeared in the BBC children's Saturday morning variety show Live & Kicking, in which he hosted the Electric Circus segment, reporting on technology news, before moving on to The Movie Game, a children's television game show. In the late 1990s he was one of the regular presenters on Five's afternoon show Five's Company.

During January and February 2006 Barrowman took part in the ITV1 series Dancing on Ice, where Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean trained celebrities to compete in an ice skating show which took onboard many characteristics of a real ice skating competition. Barrowman's skating partner was World Junior Gold Medalist and three-time Russian champion Olga Sharutenko. Although a favourite to win, on 4 February, Barrowman and Sharutenko faced Stefan Booth and Kristina Cousins in the skate off and were eliminated by the judge's vote of 3 to 2.

Between 10 April and 14 April, 2006, Barrowman presented ITV's morning talk show This Morning whilst Phillip Schofield took an Easter Break.[14] Between 1 May and 5 May, 2006, Barrowman read bedtime stories on the CBeebies channel. In Summer 2006, he was on the Judges panel of BBC One's How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? music talent show alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber, David Ian, and Zoe Tyler.[15]

On December 31 2006, Barrowman made two television appearances. The first was on BBC Television's Heaven & Earth,[16] hosted by Gloria Hunniford. On it he talked about spirituality and civil partnerships. His second appearance was as a guest on a team with Craig Revel Horwood and Louis Walsh, on Graham Norton's one-off programme, The Big Finish[16] which was also broadcast on BBC Television. It was a light-hearted look at news stories in 2006.

On February 11, 2007, he co-presented the E!: Entertainment Television BAFTA Film Awards red carpet coverage with Ruby Wax.[17] He also guest-presented two editions of Elaine Paige on Sunday, a pre-recorded BBC Radio 2 weekly musical theatre and film music showcase, broadcast on February 11 and February 18, 2007.[18]

In 2007 Barrowman was a judge in the BBC One TV series "Any Dream Will Do" to find a new star to play the lead role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in London's West End, won on June 9 by Lee Mead, of whom he said: "Lee won because he is polished, professional and close to perfection in what he does. He goes on stage and commands it, and one of the best qualities about him is that he doesn't analyse the song too much. He just gets out there and does it. I'm happy to give over my West End leading man's shoes for a while, to allow him to fill them.",[19] on a post-final party on video posted at Andrew Lloyd Webber's website he commented "The West End had need of Lee Mead".[20]

He has also guested on BBC Two comedy panel quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks (Series 19, Episode 5), challenging host Simon Amstell to a "gay-off", Al Murray's Happy Hour, The Charlotte Church Show, and Friday Night with Jonathan Ross.

On Friday 27 July 2007 Barrowman guest hosted The Friday Night Project, on Channel 4, with Justin-Lee Collins and Alan Carr, in which he discussed his role as Captain Jack Harkness, what ET could do with his finger, and showed his backside at the request of an audience member.[21]

In November 2007 Barrowman started recordings for a new primetime BBC game show called The Kids Are All Right in which a team of 4 adults try to win money by beating a gang of seven super bright kids.[22] The show was recorded in the new BBC studios in Pacific Quay in Glasgow.[23] On Saturday 16 February 2008, and Saturday 23 February 2008, he presented the National Lottery Draw. On the 1st of March 2008 he appeared on the panel of the Eurovision Song Contest selection show, Eurovision: Your Decision on BBC 1, alongside Carrie Grant and Sir Terry Wogan.

On the 29 April, 30 April 2008 and the 1 May 2008 he presented This Morning.

On the evening of 29 April 2008 he spoke at the Oxford Union about his career, the entertainment industry and gay rights issues. The event was filmed for an as yet unnamed BBC TV program that will see Barrowman explore ideas of what makes people gay.

Beginning in June 2008, he is featuring as a judge on the Canadian version of How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?.

Personal life

File:Barrowman and Gill - 30 June 2007.jpg

Barrowman and Gill kiss on stage at Pride 2007

Barrowman has been with his partner, Scott Gill, since 1993, after meeting during a production of Rope at the Chichester Festival Theatre.[24] The couple have homes in London and Cardiff Bay.

Despite this long-standing relationship, Barrowman told Scotland's The Herald newspaper that he had no plans to marry, saying, "Why would I want a 'marriage' from a belief system that hates me?" However, he and Gill became civil partners on December 27 2006. As Barrowman explained when the couple were interviewed by Attitude magazine, the couple do not want to call this a marriage: "We're just going to sign the civil register. We're not going to have any ceremony because I'm not a supporter of the word marriage for a gay partnership."[10][25][26] The two did have a small ceremony in Cardiff with around 40 friends and family.[27] Among the guests were the regular cast of Torchwood, along with Russell T Davies, the Doctor Who and Torchwood executive producer.[24] The civil partnership was covered by OK! magazine, which published pictures of the ceremony on 16 January, 2007.

Barrowman's autobiography, entitled Anything Goes, was published on January 24, 2008 with Michael O'Mara Books. It was named after the Cole Porter song and musical of the same name. It is due to be published in the US in April 2008 [28] His sister - English professor and journalist - Carole Barrowman wrote the book using her brother's dictations.[29] Throughout February, he embarked on small tour of Scotland, England and Wales to sign copies of the book, ending at a Borders bookstore in Cardiff, where close to 1000 fans began queuing from 8.30am. Just before he started the signing, he jumped up and yelled "Yes! I beat Jordan [Katie Price]!"[30] with regards to a popular Katie Price signing at the nearby Waterstone's store.

Barrowman is bidialectal. He learned a American accent after school children picked on his Scottish accent when he moved to the U.S.[1] His accent is often called Mid-Atlantic.[31] He stated while he was appearing on The Friday Night Project that he still speaks in a Scottish accent when he is with his parents. He can be heard slipping into his Scottish accent during the blooper reel included on the Season 1 DVD set of Torchwood.

According to David Tennant's video diary of filming Doctor Who Series 3, Barrowman has a dog named Tegan after the Fifth Doctor's companion Tegan Jovanka, as well as two other dogs named Penny and Lewis. Tegan (also known as Tiger) was euthanized in October 2007,[32] as Penny had been in March, 2007 and Lewis soon after in May, 2008. On the 27th February 2008, Barrowman and Gill adopted another dog, a Jack Russell, whom they named Captain Jack.[33] Barrowman mentioned on a radio chat on 24 September 2008, that he was about to get a new black Cocker Spaniel as a surprise for Gill.


Year Title Type Role More information
1987 The Untouchables Film (uncredited) The Untouchables at the Internet Movie Database
1996 Central Park West TV Series Peter Fairchild Central Park West at the Internet Movie Database
2000 Putting It Together TV Special The Young Man Putting It Together at the Internet Movie Database
2000 Titans TV Series Peter Williams Titans at the Internet Movie Database
2002 Shark Attack 3: Megalodon Film Ben Carpenter Shark Attack 3: Megalodon at the Internet Movie Database
2004 Method Film Reporter Method at the Internet Movie Database
2004 De-Lovely Film Jack/Musical Performer De-Lovely at the Internet Movie Database
2005 The Producers Film Lead Tenor The Producers at the Internet Movie Database
2005, 2007, 2008 Doctor Who TV Series Captain Jack Harkness Doctor Who (2005-) at the Internet Movie Database
2006 - 2008 Torchwood TV Series Captain Jack Harkness Torchwood at the Internet Movie Database


Year Title Album Artist Label Notes
1994 Songs from Grease John Barrowman JAY Records Studio recording Grease from JAY Records
1994 Godspell London Cast JAY Records Studio Recording by JAY Records
1997 Aspects of Lloyd Webber John Barrowman JAY PRODUCTIONS
1998 The Fix Original London Cast Relativity
1998 Hey Mr Producer! Various Artists First Night Records Performing "One, Two, Three" from The Fix
2002 The Musicality of Andrew Lloyd Webber Various Artists JAY Records Performing "Any Dream Will Do" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
2002 Essential Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber Various Artists Metro Music Performing "High Flying, Adored" from Evita
2002 Greatest Songs from the Musicals Various Artists Soho Performing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" from The Lion King and "Grease" from Grease
2002 Loving You Various Artists JAY Records Performing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" from The Lion King
2003 Anything Goes 2003 London Cast First Night Records
2003 Reflections from Broadway John Barrowman JAY Records Studio album
2004 Swings Cole Porter John Barrowman JAY Records Studio album
2004 De-Lovely Original Soundtrack Columbia Performing "Night and Day"
2004 The Producers Original Soundtrack Sony BMG Performing "Springtime for Hitler"
2006 Just So World Premiere Cast First Night Records
2007 Aspects of Lloyd Webber John Barrowman JAY Records Studio album (re-issue of 1997 album)
2007 Another Side John Barrowman Sony BMG Studio album (first pop album) - Reached #22 on the UK Albums Chart.
2008 Music Music Music John Barrowman Sony BMG Studio album (second pop album).


  1. 1.0 1.1 "John Barrowman - Christopher Fisher meets Captain Jack from sci-fi television series Doctor Who, now starring in his own spin-off series Torchwood", Scotland Magazine, December 2006. Retrieved on 2008-03-15. 
  2. Template:Cite press release
  3. Murray, Paula. "Russell is voted hottest brand on telly", Daily Record, November 24, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-25. 
  4. John Barrowman official website, biography section
  5. Luaine, Lee. "John Barrowman stars in BBC America's 'Torchwood'", The Miami Herald, August 27 2007. Retrieved on 2007-08-28. Archived from the original on 2007-08-11. 
  6. It's showtime on BBC1 (needs registration) (September 2, 2005).
  7. 1998 Olivier Awards winners and nominations. Albermarle of London. Retrieved on 2007-05-21.
  8. Template:Cite press release
  9. Gay Doctor Who star was too straight for Will and Grace. Pink News (13 January 2006).
  10. 10.0 10.1 Williams, Andrew. "60 seconds: John Barrowman", Metro, Associated Newspapers, November 2, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-05. 
  11. EG BIG INTERVIEW: JOHN BARROWMAN. (2007-11-09). Retrieved on 2007-11-09.
  12. Blair, Alan. "Capt. Jack Returns To 'Doctor Who'", SyFy Portal, November 26, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-02-12. 
  13. Template:Cite press release
  14. Cameron Robertson (March 13, 2006). Exclusive: Dr's Jack takes on ITV sofa. The Daily Mirror.
  15. Template:Cite press release
  16. 16.0 16.1 'Kurly' (December 15, 2006). Catching you up through 2007. Torchwood. TV. Retrieved on 2007-01-13.
  17. Bafta Red Carpet. John Barrowman Official Site — News (January 10, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-01-13.
  18. JB on the Radio. John Barrowman Official Site — News (January 12, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-01-13.
  19. Template:Cite press release
  20. Template:Cite video
  21. John Barrowman - 27 July 2007
  22. Template:Cite press release
  23. BBC - Be On A Show - The Kids are All Right (SHTML). BBC. Retrieved on 2008-02-13.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Oconner, Gavin. "Torchwood star in celebrity ceremony", icWales, South Wales Echo, 28 December, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-12-28. 
  25. "Any Queries", Attitude Magazine, December 2006. 
  26. "Torchwood star's Cardiff big day", BBC News, BBC, November 23, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-25. 
  27. "Torchwood star's civil ceremony", BBC News, BBC, 2006-12-27. Retrieved on 2006-12-27. 
  28. "Autobiography release dates confirmed". 
  29. Weintraub, Joanne. "His own universe", News, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 4, 2007. 
  30. Naude, Richard. "John Barrowman joked that his crowds beat Jordan's at a nearby signing", Photos,, February 16, 2008. 
  31. Playbill: Dear John: Barrowman Puts It All Together on Broadway News. Retrieved on 2008-01-26.
  32. In loving memory (12). Retrieved on 19 January 2008.
  33. Pictures of CJ (27). Retrieved on 2 March 2008.


  • Barrowman, John & Barrowman, Carole (2008), Anything Goes, Michael O'Mara Books, ISBN 1843172895 

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