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Who is John Barrowman? Everything you need to know about the TV presenter and musical theatre star

The all-singing, all-dancing presenter and musical theatre star is a permanent fixture on TV screens around the UK

Who is John Barrowman?

Who is John Barrowman?

John Barrowman is an actor, presenter and entertainer.

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He has performed in musical theatre in many West End shows including Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera and Sunset Boulevard. It was for his performance of Sam Mendes’s premiere production of The Fix at the Donmar Warehouse that he was given an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical.

On screen, he is best known for his performance of Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and its spin-off series Torchwood. 

He’s also appeared on many musical TV shows as a presenter. Between 2009 and 2011, he presented the Saturday night show Tonight’s the Night. As a judge, he has appeared on various BBC shows searching for new West End stars, including How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?Any Dream Will Do and I’d Do Anything.

He’s taken part as a contestant in I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!Dancing on Ice, The Weakest Link and the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special. He is now on the roster of judges for Dancing on Ice. 

As a singer, Barrowman has released a number of albums, most of which feature musical numbers.

In collaboration with his sister, Barrowman has released two autobiographies: Anything Goes and I Am What I Am, as well as a series of three young-adult novels.

He was awarded an MBE for services to entertainment and charity in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

All Star Musicals at Christmas

He presents All Star Musicals, which is returning to our screens this Christmas on ITV. This year’s All Star Musicals at Christmas will feature an all-star line-up: presenter Fern Britton, actor Ben Miller, broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, presenter Anita Rani, actress Catherine Tyldesley and sports presenter Radzi Chinyanganya.

The celebrities in All Star Musicals at Christmas will take musical theatre masterclasses, with mentoring from the likes of theatre stars Elaine Paige, Samantha Barks and Trevor Dion Nicholas. They will perform musical numbers from traditional and contemporary musicals including CatsMoana and The Rocky Horror Show. 

With his fellow judges, John Barrowman will open the show with a medley of tunes from The Greatest Showman. 

Where is John Barrowman from?

John Barrowman was born in Glasgow, but moved to Illinois in the US as a child. As a result, he often switches between a Scottish and American accent, something that confused audiences on the Lorraine programme, where he suddenly spoke with a Scottish accent. ‘I’m bidialectal!,’ he joked with Lorraine. ‘When I’m with anyone that’s Scottish, I speak with a Scottish accent, because you are privileged.’

He says when he moved to the US as a child, he was bullied for having a Scottish accent, so learnt to develop both accents.

Did John Barrowman study music?

John Barrowman studied musical theatre at the US International University in San Diego, California. It was while he was in the UK studying Shakespeare as part of his university education that he landed his first professional role in Cole Porter’s musical Anything Goes, starring alongside Elaine Paige as the protagonist Billy Crocker.

How old is John Barrowman?

John Barrowman was born on 11 March 1967.

Where does John Barrowman live?

Despite owning a house near Cardiff in Wales, John Barrowman and his husband Scott Gill are predominantly based at their second home in Palm Springs, California. He decided to rent out his Cardiff home in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, when he decided to spend more time in the US.

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Is John Barrowman married?

John Barrowman was legally married to his long-term partner Scott Gill in 2013, having previously entered a civil partnership in 2006.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23: Scott Gill and John Barrowman attend ITV Palooza! at The Royal Festival Hall on November 23, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Lia Toby/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 23: Scott Gill and John Barrowman attend ITV Palooza! at The Royal Festival Hall on November 23, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Lia Toby/Getty Images)