SDCC 08: Exclusive Interviews With John Barrowman And Gareth David-Lloyd

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To think of Torchwood as simply a spin-off of Doctor Who would be doing both the show and the people behind it a huge disservice. True, it does inhabit the same fictional universe as its parent series, but that would be where the similarities end. Torchwood is decidedly a much more adult narrative, certainly darker, but that may not mean what you think it does. Over the next couple of days we will be presenting two conversations with the creators and cast of the series. First up is a couple of interviews with John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness) and Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), whose characters have a relationship that arguably forms the heart of the show. I literally stumbled into these interviews while on the convention floor and they focus mainly on each actor’s view of their characters’ relationship with each other and their thoughts on the success of Torchwood in America.

John Barrowman

PCZ: How do you feel about the reception of Torchwood in the States?

JB: I’m totally ecstatic about it and overwhelmed and excited. We had no idea that was going to happen. It’s actually turned out that Torchwood is more popular than Doctor Who, which is really cool.

PCZ: Are you pleased with the way that the relationship between Jack and Ianto has been handled in the show and progressed?

JB: Yeah. We haven’t really thought about how to handle it, we’ve just done it because – I guess I’m speaking on behalf of the writers here – because we don’t look at that as being something wrong or out of line. We don’t look at it as being off or weird. So, It’s how the public accepts it and they’ve totally accepted it. Women, actually, are the ones who want to see more of it.

PCZ: I think it goes a long way as to how you guys have handled it in the show. You haven’t made it gratuitous or…

JB: No, you’re right, that’s absolutely the way it is.

PCZ: Will we see it continue in series three?

JB: I hope so.

PCZ: Excellent. Considering Jack is from the 51st Century and is now immortal, do you think perhaps the relationship with Ianto keeps him grounded and focused on the little people and what’s going on?

JB (thinks for a moment): I guess it…yeah! It probably does. It brings out the “human” in him, it brings out more of the empathy because he’s actually fallen for someone and he really cares about somebody. So, it’s really great and I think that’s what makes him warm to other people. It makes him more approachable.

PCZ: Will we ever, in Torchwood, get to Jack’s missing two years?

JB: You might, you might.

PCZ: Keep watching?

JB: Yeah, keep watching, but there are other things you’ll get to with Jack.

PCZ: What was your reaction when you found out that Jack was destined to become the Face of Boe?

JB: I was so excited. David Tennant and I jumped up screaming. It was probably the most excitable moment we had during the shooting of that series of Doctor Who. It was amazing.

PCZ: How’s everything going with your book?

JB: Really well. It was twelve weeks in the number one bestseller list in the UK and it’s been released here and it’s selling out in bookstores everywhere. It’s great.

PCZ: In 2010 for series five of Doctor Who if they want you back are you willing to return?

JB: I’ll always come back to the TARDIS to help out the Doctor. Jack will always be at the Doctor’s side, no matter who he is.

PCZ: Well, thank you very much for your time.

JB: Thank you very much, I appreciate it.

Gareth David-Lloyd

PCZ: What is your reaction to the reception of Torchwood in America?

GDL: Overwhelming and very flattering. It’s been tremendous really. I did a panel yesterday and the ballroom was just absolutely packed and it was a really good, positive feeling.

PCZ: You start filming series three soon. Where do we find Ianto at the beginning of series three having lost a couple of friends and also having helped save the universe?

GDL: Well, we’re going to find the team much more vulnerable then they were before. They’ve got two of the most important team members missing, so they’re weaker and between you and me – (glances at the recording device) well, it won’t be just between you and me (laughter). This can go on the record! Episode one, I’ve read it, and it’s just full of thrills and spills, high action and the stakes are a lot higher.

PCZ: We understand it’s going to be five episodes over five nights.

GDL: Yeah, absolutely. One big story.

PCZ: How was it getting to finally be in Doctor Who?

GDL: Amazing. I mean, I grew up with the Sylvester McCoy Doctor. I was eleven, a kid, so, eventually to get to be in it and fire a gun at a Dalek – fantastic.

PCZ: Much like you probably did as a kid.

GDL: Yeah, absolutely.

PCZ: What else have you been working on between series of Torchwood?

GDL: I’ve done some audios. I did another series shot in Cardiff [Editor’s note – unfortunately, the audio dropped out for a second here and we missed the title of the series. We are researching and will include it as soon as possible.]. There’s really not a huge amount of time to do anything else as it [Torchwood] takes up seven months of the year. You only really have time for a couple of one-off episodes and before you know it you’re back filming again. It sort of takes you out of the loop as far as auditioning for things that overlap with the filming schedule.

PCZ: I think it’s fantastic how Torchwood has handled the relationship with Jack and Ianto. It’s handled pretty normal, not making a huge thing of it. Have you been pleased about the way it’s progressed?

GDL: Absolutely. It’s sort of one of the key character elements of the show, especially for the fans. There’s a lot of fan fiction out there with Jack and Ianto. I think they [fans] connect with them and empathize with them and it’s great, even young people from both sexes.

PCZ: I asked John this as well, Jack being from the 51st Century and being immortal and maybe kind of being in a mindset above everything, do you think that the relationship with Ianto keeps him grounded and aware of the little people?

GDL: Absolutely. I think Ianto’s always made him care and that is really the heart of the show. Ianto’s always bearing his emotional side and vulnerable side and keeping his feet on the ground. I think of all the characters, he’s the one who tries to keep everyone else’s feet on the ground. He brings everyone back to reality, often with a dry, witty remark or taking a dig at somebody just to sort of bring people back down.

PCZ: Well, thank you very much for your time.

GDL: No problem, you’re welcome.

Thank you very much to both John and Gareth for being very gracious with their time and thanks also to everyone at Holzheimer’s for making this possible.

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