Sunday Express

John Barrowman shrugs off injury and says he’ll be living life to the full this Christmas, he tells


JOHN BARROWMAN may have had to cancel his gigs this weekend because of a neck injury, but he insists he’s still feeling “very fabulous”. He has an album, A Fabulous (what else?) Christmas, will be back on stage in his tour tomorrow and will be on TV in January as a Dancing On Ice judge.

Speaking before yesterday’s health scare, he looked great – gleaming smile, naughty twinkle and a booming voice as big as his personalit­y.

I say I first saw him on TV in 1993 hosting Live & Kicking in a flashy Versace shirt. He roars with laughter: “I remember that shirt, David Gest bought it for me for a party. So long ago! I don’t feel 52, I think I’m 25.”

John’s eyes have been fixed on the past as the new album, a collection of songs and carols, stirs up childhood joys and sorrows. All of it wrapped up in his close-knit family, which remains the bedrock of his life.

He may appear to have sprung from an affluent, but traditiona­l Angloscott­ish upbringing yet his roots run deep. The voice comes from mother Marion, a singer. The performer, from his father, also John.

One Christmas, wee John was desperate for a fancy Gemeinhard­t flute [“all the other girls in the band had one”] but it wasn’t under the tree. “My dad asked me to get something out of the silverware drawer and there was the flute! He was a big corporate businessma­n, publicly honoured by Ronald Reagan, but he was always fun.

“On caravan holidays he would hide in the cupboard.we knew he was there but loved him for it and screamed when he jumped out. Uncle Alec and cousin Ian are the same. Ian says it’s not the action, it’s the fact we all do things to make a shared moment.”

The Barrowman clan will be on the tour. “Mum and Dad always come, and my husband Scott,” he says. “This show’s built around Christmas and I’ll have a sack with presents for the audience. I want everyone to leave happy.”

John seems larger than life on TV but on stage his energy and antics are extraordin­ary, as befits someone very aware of his difference­s.

“Maybe it goes back to as a kid knowing I wasn’t part of anything,” he says. “I played basketball with my best friend Mike but also wanted to brush a Cher doll’s hair. I couldn’t figure out why. Maybe that’s why I always want to make people feel included.”

His voice rises recalling the dawning awareness that he was no longer welcome in church: “For someone who grew up loving that music to be told I’m not welcome because of my lifestyle and sexuality, that hurt. Church was community and love and helping your fellow man. When did they forget that? This album reclaims what I lost.

Take these songs and find something you can believe in.” John learnt to stand up for himself from his feisty grandmothe­r who stormed into class after John told her the teacher picked on him.

“Nana walked in and smacked her in the back of the head. (John puts on a Glaswegian accent) ‘Don’t you ever hit him again!’ My mum inherited it.when we were told there might be protesters outside my civil partnershi­p ceremony my mum said, ‘Let them, I’ll batter them with my Chanel handbag’.”

John entered a civil partnershi­p with Scott Gill in 2006 but they met many

‘I want everyone to go home happy’ ‘I love my dogs, my friends, my MBE’

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