***WARNING*** This article contains some minor plot spoilers for Season 2 of Torchwood.
and most folks think of Dylan Thomas, wool sweaters, and picturesque seaside
villages. But for those who follow gay characters on television, Wales is
becoming known for something else entirely – handsome actors portraying some of
the best gay and bisexual roles on the small screen.
Matthew Rhys’ performance as Kevin Walker on ABC’s Brothers & Sisters has won him numerous
accolades, magazine covers and status as a gay favorite. Now fellow Welshman
Gareth David-Lloyd is developing a following of his own as Ianto Jones on the
hit sci-fi show Torchwood, currently
airing its second season on BBC America in the U.S.
and BBC 2 in the U.K.
At the end of Torchwood’s
first season, it became clear that some sort of relationship was blooming
between the previously heterosexual Ianto and Torchwood’s omnisexual leader,
Captain Jack (John Barrowman). Gay fans, not to mention many straight women,
were thrilled by the turn of events and have followed the developments of Janto (as fans refer
to them) quite rabidly in hopes of a more serious relationship growing between
AfterElton.com recently caught up with Gareth to discuss
what the future holds for Ianto and Captain Jack, how Ianto views his own
sexuality, how he wound up working for Torchwood in the first place and much,
terms of the part of Ianto, in the first season he seemed to be a pretty small
supporting character, but he’s developed into something much larger. Do you
know if it was always planned for him to become a larger character as the
series went on?
I’m not sure. There is a certain organic relationship between the actors and
the writers, and things develop and grow as it moves on. The writers see things,
and performances spark off other ideas and actors, so it’s almost like an
unspoken relationship there between the actors and the writers.
I think it
could have gone either way. I could have died after the first series, and you wouldn’t
have seen any more progress or development for the character, but obviously it
was great in the sense that we did, so I’m still there.
AE: Speaking of
organic relationships and organically developing relationships, the burning
question for most of our fans is what is going on with Jack and Ianto and whether they are becoming an official couple.
GDL: I wouldn’t
say an official couple. You will still find that it does go more into their
relationship and their backgrounds later on in the series, but there is definitely
a relationship. Whether they are labeling it as a couple, I’m not quite sure. I
don’t think so. There’s more to find out about that relationship later on in
AE: I’m sure
you can’t divulge too many details anyway. It seems like they’re going in one
direction with Jack and Ianto and then in another direction with Jack and Gwen,
so people are kind of . . .
GDL: Yeah, I
think [there is] different sorts of love or lust, as it might be, and I think
that’s an ongoing thing, whether friction will be caused because of it, I have
yet to know really. At the moment, I think there’s two different sorts of love
going on there.
AE: But Janto fans in
particular shouldn’t be giving up hope that something might happen at this
not – no. Absolutely not. Nothing’s being said and it looks like that’s the way
it’s going, so it should be fine.
AE: In the first season, Ianto was in love with
Lisa before she died, and now obviously has some sort of relationship with
Jack. Being that Ianto is from the 21st century as opposed to Jack,
who is from the 51st century, how would you say Ianto perceives
his sexuality? Would he consider himself bisexual, or omnisexual as does Jack? And have you done any character work as to whether he’s had relationships with men
in the past, or is this a new thing?
GDL: I think it’s
definitely a new thing as far as same-sex relationships go for him. He doesn’t
quite strike me as a labelist anyway, but if he were a labelist, he’d probably
be bisexual because obviously omnisexual is very much a term from the century
that Jack is from. So "bisexual" as a label would be that. He wouldn’t regard
himself the same way as Jack does because they’re from different times.
AE: What do you think
Ianto hopes for from Jack?
meaning. I think he lost meaning. He was tortured and Jack gave him that
meaning back. And reliability that he’ll always be there, I think.
Next page! We ask how Ianto joined Torchwood!
AE: Do we find out
exactly how Ianto became to be a part of the Torchwood team?
GDL: Yes you do,
in this series. I don’t know if I was supposed to say that, but I said it!
AE: In series two?
GDL: In series
two, you find that out, yeah.
AE: Can you give us
any hints about it?
GDL: It involves
a certain pet that Torchwood keeps.
AE: I think it’s the
one we’re always commenting on and wondering why it’s there in the first place. Another question that many readers want answered had to do with your being a musical person outside of Torchwood, as is John. Since you’re both singers, is there any reason to hope for a musical episode of Torchwood?
GDL: Um, [laughing] Buffy [the Vampire Slayer]
did that, didn’t they? Maybe. Nothing’s
being mentioned at the moment, but I’d love to do it. I think it would be great
AE: Are you a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
I’ve been watching more of it since I met James Marsters because we got on so
well when he came over that I watched it. I didn’t watch it religiously before,
but I’ve seen a few episodes. I’m enjoying his performance.
AE: And you guys
actually performed in a concert outside of the show as well, correct?
GDL: I got to
sing one song with James, “Roadhouse Blues”, a Doors cover, when he came over
the first time. The second time, he was gracious enough to ask if I’d like
to do a support act with the band I’m involved in. It was great publicity and a
lot of people liked it, so we’re putting on our own event in April.
AE: Fantastic. What
is the name of the band again?
AE: There’s quite a crossover in terms of the fan base from Buffy
to Torchwood, and the shows have some
similar sensibilities and a similar situation, with this group of individuals
sitting on this portal of awfulness and protecting the world from what
comes through it. Do you think that the sensibilities are similar?
GDL: I’m not
sure. I think there’s still a different tone with Buffy. I think there much more of a bleakness with Torchwood. There
is a bit more harsh realism where I think Buffy
was just sort of a tone above that. Like you said, a group of people guarding
the horrible portal in outer space, that seems right. But I don’t watch it
and think this is like Torchwood.
AE: Were you a Doctor Who fan before you came on the
GDL: Yes, I was
actually, and again, I watched it a lot when I was a kid, I was getting into
the new series when I got called up for an audition so I was thrilled.
AE: There has been a lot of crossover between the two shows. Do you think Ianto will ever appear
on Doctor Who?
GDL: I can’t say
anything like that.
AE: Oh, okay! I think
I’m asking you some of the wrong questions. Moving on . . . . you were recently chosen
the fifteenth sexiest man in Wales.
GDL: Yeah, I read
that in the local paper and I thought that was quite flattering.
AE: What do you need
to do to break the Top 10?
GDL: Probably an
episode of Doctor Who.
Next page! John Barrowman’s dirty pranks!
AE: It seems the U.K. in general
is decades ahead of us in terms of how the culture is accepting
of gay issues than we are in the U.S. Does that extend specifically to Wales, too, and not just London and more metropolitan areas?
GDL: Big cities
have obviously got a bigger gay scene, so in Cardiff
there is a gay scene, but not as big as say in Manchester
or London or Birmingham. But it’s definitely there, It’s quite accepted.
It’s quite free and open.
AE: Has playing Ianto, who at this point is romantically involved
with another man and who has a different sexuality than you do, given you any kind of insight into gay issues or how things are for gay men in the
GDL: No, not really. To be honest with you, I have a lot of gay friends
anyway. I’ve been to the gay clubs before with gay friends. I think John
Diamond hits the nail on the head when he says I’m one of these people of that
age where it’s just not an issue, and it never has been.
AE: So you weren’t in
a place where you needed to be educated about it. One thing we found really
interesting is that there are a lot of female fans who are really into the idea
of two men being together romantically. Do you have a lot of female fans that
are pushing for a relationship between Jack and Ianto?
definitely. I try to stay clear away from the Internet, but you find yourself
reading fan fiction and it takes up a lot of time. Yeah, absolutely. That’s
definitely one of the biggest questions for fans as far as Janto. Everyone’s for Jack and Ianto to get
AE: We know Torchwood has been commissioned for a
third series – congrats on that. A reader asks, If you could have a wish list of one thing
that you would want to happen with Ianto on series three, what would that be?
GDL: I haven’t
really thought of it actually. Maybe a surfacing of some more depth of darkness
and anguish – that would be quite fun to play.
AE: What do you think
motivates Ianto to come to work every day and do what he does?
GDL: Because Torchwood is his life and that’s his oxygen, that’s what gives
him meaning, that’s his purpose. He’s a good soldier, he’s a well-oiled cog in
a machine. That’s his life and there’s never a question about him getting
himself to work because he needs it.
AE: Do you think much
about what he does when he’s not there? We don’t really see much of his life
when he’s outside.
GDL: Exactly, I
think that is his life. I don’t think he’s got an extracurricular social life
with anyone. There’s nothing that you’ll find for him to do.
AE: Another readers wonders if you have
anything in common with Ianto? For example, he seems like he’s a complete neat-freak.
Are you a neat-freak in your life?
not! I’m the complete opposite. I’m unshaven and I like baggy clothes, I’m a
bit scruffy. I like being comfortable and I feel quite restricted and quite
uncomfortable when I’m dressed up in tight clothes. That’s Ianto’s thick extra
skin, I think.
AE: Numerous readers commented they’ve heard that
John Barrowman likes to play pranks on set and ask if he has ever pranked you?
GDL: A couple of
times. He’ll do things in your close-up like wearing some of the costume pieces
for one of the aliens and playing a gay cowboy called Slappy while you’re
trying to deliver a line.
AE: A gay cowboy
GDL: Yeah, next
time you see him, ask him about Slappy.
interviews, he often seems to have a kind of dirty mind and is into dirty jokes. Are his pranks on set that way as well?
GDL: Yeah, well,
when work has to be done, he’s very professional. But if you give him too much
time, he’s like a child and then the jokes will start coming. And bits of his
body will just happen to fall out.
AE: Another AfterElton.com reader asks, besides Torchwood, do you have any dream
projects? What are your aspirations in terms of your acting career beyond the
GDL: I’d like to
do some documentary-style film and drama and some realistic hand-held stuff.
I’d like to do some more theater and some Shakespeare, anywhere I can kind of
ponce around on stage.
AE: We’ve heard
you’re a big fan of horror star Robert Englund?
GDL: He was my
childhood favorite villain. I got hold of some Nightmare on Elm Street movies when I was under the age of 10, but
now I’m in complete awe. He inspired me to be an actor, I think.
interesting. They’re actually doing a remake of the original. I don’t know if
you knew that.
Who’s playing it?
AE: I’m not sure
who’s doing it, but maybe that’s your chance to play a bad guy?
GDL: Oh, yeah –
that would be awesome!
Next page! Ianto action figures!
AE: A lot of folks
are saying that they’re really happy with the new tone of Torchwood’s second season. One person said specifically that Ianto
is a little more “ninja,” a little more quippy, a little bit more fun and
little bit less morose than he was. Are you happy with the way the character’s
developed over the two seasons so far?
And that was completely intentional. He’s got these dry comments now that come
from a positive place, rather than a sort of negative place. And he’s the same
as Jack, he’s the same in purpose, so wherever that’s leading, this dry,
outside-the-box look on the world, all his intent is coming from a happier place.
AE: The whole show
seems to have lightened up in the past season, which is fun. It’s
great to see a range, the scope that it’s gone across. We hear there is a line
of action figures that may be released?
GDL: Yeah, that’s
what I’ve heard as well. I don’t know if it’s true, but that would be great.
AE: If there are,
what do you think Ianto should be wearing? What kind of accessories should he
GDL: I think
there should be the suit that he wears, and then there’s Ianto with what he’s wearing
in “Countrycide” because Ianto strikes me as the man with the perfect equipment
and costume for every terrain and country. So you could do a whole line of
different costumes: space Ianto, desert Ianto . . .
AE: I’m sure it would
be actually quite popular, especially over here. In terms of the way that
season three is shaping up, do you know if there’s another love interest for
either Jack or Ianto in the works?
GDL: I don’t know
anything about that, but one thing is I’m sure it’s not going to be anything I
can imagine right now.
AE: A fan wants to
know, in terms of the attention that Wales has been getting from of the show,
as a Welshman yourself, are you happy with the extra exposure? Do you think it’s fair and balanced?
It’s been really good, especially for Cardiff.
It’s so nice, it’s such a vibrant, sexy city and Torchwood and Doctor Who
has really energized and helped that. So I’m really pleased and I think Wales is going
to get more recognition and [start] making lines on the map.
AE: A lot of fans are
asking if you are going to make an album any time soon.
thinking of releasing an EP by this summer, but we want to make sure the
quality of the work is absolutely right, so it might be a little later. But
hopefully we’ll have an EP before the summer is over. Some blues covers and
some original tracks as well.
AE: Another fan asks,
if you could change one thing about Ianto, what would you change?
GDL: The way he sticks
his head to the side when he’s holding his gun. I’m gonna work on that straight
away. He sticks his head out. Not all the time, but sometimes I’m holding a gun
and I look a little too relaxed. My knee is bent and my hip is slightly
sticking out to the side.
AE: So in your daily life you usually don’t hold a gun like that ?
GDL: I don’t
usually hold a gun. No one probably notices how I hold the gun, except me tearing apart my
AE: A lot of folks
are saying that you have a scene-stealing quality, which is obviously a compliment . . .
GDL: That’s a
great compliment. That speaks to the writing as well. I think I said a line in
a certain way that they really liked, so then they have been kind enough to
give me a bunch of really brilliant, punchy lines that you can do a hell of a
lot with. So it’s due to the writing as well as to me.
AE: I know you’ve
done some live events, like the Rift Torchwood event is coming up in London–
GDL: Yeah, I’ll be there.
AE: And you’ve done
some signings. What’s it like meeting fans face to face?
GDL: It’s really
flattering because you don’t really see it, well, I didn’t see it before I
started meeting fans, how much it means to people. It’s really overwhelming
sometimes. It’s really nice. I always enjoy meeting the fans even though I feel
like sometimes I don’t deserve all this attention and the gifts. I
think it’s just really, really flattering.
AE: What’s the most
outlandish fan encounter that you’ve had or the most interesting gift?
GDL: A little
porcelain Ianto. It was made of fiber or clay or something. It was brilliant.
It was like Ianto in a waistcoat with that purple shirt and like wide-eyed
looking out. He sits on top of my TV. It was cool.
AE: Oh, that’s
adorable! I bet if you had a line of them on your website, they’d sell like
GDL: Yeah, well
whoever made that doll. Maybe she can do a commission.
AE: Is Valentine’s
Day big over there?
GDL: Yeah, it’s
as big as it is over there.
AE: Do you have any
special plans for it?
GDL: I’m spending
it with my girlfriend, Sarah, in London.
AE: Fantastic. Hey, London’s a romantic city
if you want it to be.
AE: Great. Thank you
so much for taking the time to talk to us and I know our readers will be just
gaga to hear their questions to you answered. Best of luck with season three.
GDL: Thank you
and take care.
Torchwood airs Saturdays, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on BBC AMERICA
Michael Jensen contributed to this article.