Welsh walks and Chelsea circuits fit the bill for actor John Barrowman
Imostly work six days a week, so my free time usually starts on Saturday night and goes through to Sunday. When I do finish work on a Friday, it’s a huge luxury. It happens every couple of weeks.
I live in London, but most weekends are spent in Wales because we are filming the television series Torchwood there. My partner — the architect Scott Gill — and I have a flat in the heart of Cardiff Bay.
If I have a proper free weekend, Scott travels to Wales on Friday night. Right after breakfast on Saturday morning we’ll jump in the car with our beloved spaniel, Lewis. Until recently, we had three dogs, but Penny and Tiger died of old age this year. We’ll take off — with the top down if the weather is good — and drive to the Vale of Glamorgan and other gorgeous places. Soon enough it’ll be time for a big pub lunch before heading back to town in time to have drinks with friends and then maybe go to a movie. On Sunday we might have friends visiting with their kids. We’ll show them round Cardiff and take them to the set of Doctor Who and Torchwood.
Our favourite place for Sunday lunch is a lovely little pub called The Captain’s Wife, where the food is superb. It’s right on the seafront in Swanbridge, near Penarth. Scott and I are so fond of the area that we’re buying a fantastic house there, with sea views and a pool. We shall be doing lots of renovations, of course. Scott has his own company now, but he used to work for Norman Foster and Richard Rogers, so he has a very good design pedigree.
Right opposite the pub is Sully Island. When lunch is over and the tide is out, you can walk across to the island. One side is barren, rocky and weatherbattered, and the other is smooth and green. It’s a really cool place.
I feel very relaxed about being recognised when I’m out. I came into this business to work and celebrity status has come with it. I’m proud of it. When I’m asked for an autograph, of course I sign it. I love being famous because it shows people appreciate what I’m doing.
London weekends are great, too. Scott and I have lived for 12 years in what estate agents call West Chelsea, but it’s really Earls Court. We bought the place for a relative song and used to own the whole building. We’ve sold the freehold but kept a three-bedroom maisonette with a garden. It’s elegant, but very cosy and lived-in.
I spend Friday evenings at home, chilling out with Scott, reading and talking. On Saturday morning we take the dog to Hyde Park for a long walk, then do our grocery shopping. After a light lunch, Scott generally has a nap and I head off to Bond Street or the King’s Road. I often find myself in Peter Jones. I’m a Peter Jones tart. I love the place.
On Saturday evening we’ll have dinner at a local restaurant, Balans, on the Old Brompton Road. I’ve known the owner, Prady Balan, since he worked in a sandwich shop when I was in my first West End job — Anything Goes with Elaine Paige.
After a lie-in on Sunday morning, my job (or Scott’s, depending on who has had the most to drink the night before) is to make bacon sandwiches. We must have bacon sandwiches, coffee and papers in bed. It’s traditional.
Once we finally surface, we often visit Scott’s parents in Hertfordshire for Sunday lunch. Then I’ll drop him off in London, take the dog and drive back to Cardiff, ready to start filming again.
It’s a good life and, despite my American accent, I am a Brit. I was born in Scotland and moved to the US, aged nine, when my father’s job took him there. Living here since 1989 has been great — like coming home. Interview by Yvonne Swann
John Barrowman’s album, Another Side, is out
on Sony BMG
I’m a celebrity: John Barrowman loves his fame and signing autographs