While at San Diego Comic-Con to promote his sci-fi series Torchwood:
Miracle Day, British actor John Barrowman addressed a growing
controversy over a gay love scene that aired Friday night in the U.S. on Starz, will air in two weeks in the UK on the BBC.
That episode includes a romance for Barrowman’s immortal,
pansexual Captain Jack Harkness. “This man has a passionate romance
with this other man and — like everybody else does — the sex happens.
It’s a wonderful lovemaking scene, and it’s not gratuitous,” Barrowman
Not everyone agrees with Barrowman about it not being gratuitous,
though, if the British press are to be believed. The scene in question
was cut differently for Starz and the BBC, with the British version
reportedly coming off decidedly more tame. “The Sun took an interview I did four
or five months ago talking about putting sex into the program and how
it fits in, and they took quotes and made it sound like I was
disagreeing with the BBC,” Barrowman explained. “The controversy that
was raised was raised by a newspaper that didn’t know what it was
In fact, he says he was in complete agreement, since the BBC plays to
a wider audience in the UK than Starz’s subscription-only
viewership. “Some young kids are going to watch Torchwood, and if
they’re sitting watching it with their parents, it might make it a
little uncomfortable,” Barrowman said. “The parents might click off.
So in order to stop that from happening, we’ve just taken a snippet
off the end of it. You still get a good chunk of it. It’s not that
we’re taking it away. It’s not that it was, ‘Oh my God, we can’t show
sex between two men!’”
Barrowman also thinks that all the hubbub is overblown because the
actual amount of footage cut out for British audiences doesn’t add up
to much. “There’s not very much cut out,” he said. “It’s hot, too.
That’s what nice about it. It’s super-hot.”
The series, a spin-off of
the long-running BBC hit Doctor Who, follows the exploits of
Barrowman’s Harkness and his covert government team tasked with
dealing with alien and paranormal threats. In the new season, every
person on earthsuddenly cannot die, while Harkness himself, who’d
been rendered immortal in an episode of Doctor Who, finds himself
mortal once again.
Captain Jack meets his one night stand
Regardless of which version of the scene audiences see, Barrowman is
just happy it’s there, since that sort of depiction of gay romance is
something he feels he was sorely missing growing up. “If I were a
young man growing up and saw that on television, to know that there is
romance out there for me, it might’ve made things — not that I had a
difficult growing up — but in the ’70s and ’80s, it might’ve changed a
lot of things earlier for me,” he said.