Film, TV & Animation
Torchwood: An audience with Gareth David-Lloyd
By Martin Barber
Fans of the sci-fi series Torchwood lined the streets of Norwich to meet leading cast member Gareth David-Lloyd, aka Ianto Jones. He spoke to BBC Norfolk about filming the new series, kissing Captain Jack and the idea of dancing on Strictly.
The Torchwood team investigate
Torchwood, the post-watershed sci-fi series from the creators of Doctor Who, is enjoyed by millions of viewers around the world. Set in modern-day Cardiff, the Torchwood team research and combat alien threats to Earth.
On Saturday, 6 December, 2008 - hundreds of series' fans braved the winter weather and queued from 8.30am at Norwich's Television And Movie Store to claim an early Christmas gift - the opportunity to meet Gareth David-Lloyd, one of the stars of the show.
Fans queued from early in the morning
The crew have begun filming the third season of the show - Torchwood: Children Of Earth - which is due for broadcast in the new year.
Unlike the usual 13 part series, the new season takes the form of a five part series run across a single week.
"It's great… it's just one story from beginning to end. It's going to BBC1 and the way it was pitched to us is that it was a re-launch, that it [Torchwood] was moving up a channel and that the stakes were going to be higher than they've been before for the characters," said Gareth.
"[For Ianto in the new series] there's lots of running, being out and about with the rest of team rather than back at the Hub making teas and coffees for everyone. As an actor it was really exciting," he added.
Meet Ianto Jones
Gareth, 27, plays Ianto Jones, the man in charge of Torchwood's administrative issues. His knowledge is eclectic and his attention to detail unrivalled, but he dislikes it when his remarkable efficiency is taken for granted.
Normally at home in the Torchwood base, the Hub, he's also more than capable of undertaking field work for the team as they, once again, save the world from extraterrestrial intervention.
"It's great to be a fully fledged member of the team now rather than just the administration man," said Gareth.
"As an actor when you get those scripts and you see it involves a lot more action… emotional ties with the leading character, it's very flattering that the producers and writers have faith in me to be able to do it.
"To have a storyline where you're involved with the leading character for any actor is awesome."
Captain Jack and Ianto in End Of Days
Sealed with a kiss
Over the last two season of the show Ianto has moved from Hub tea-boy to key character, which has included the development of a love interest for Torchwood's leading man Captain Jack Harkness, played by John Barrowman.
The deal was sealed with a kiss which Gareth remembers as a tense day on set.
"I was very nervous. He [John Barrowman] does joke a lot to keep everyone's spirits and energy up when we're on set," said Gareth.
"It being my first big job as well I was nervous he'd do something to put me off – but he was very professional when it came down to it. I was convinced, I was happy with it."
Young people's theatre
Born in Bettws, Newport in 1981, Gareth first starting acting in junior school.
After various productions in young people's theatre groups he eventually went to train at the National Youth Theatre before moving to Reading to pursue his acting career with Rep College.
Television roles have included appearances in Casualty, Rosemary & Thyme and The Bill - but he returned to his native Wales in 2004 to begin filming on Torchwood, his first regular television role.
Strictly Come Dancing
When not filming for Torchwood, Gareth enjoys writing and gigging with his band Blue Gillespie - a heavy blues/rock outfit that's building a strong fan base.
Gareth signs for a lucky Torchwood fan
Their EP is released just before Christmas and Gareth hopes the band could tour outside of Wales in the new year, including a date in Norfolk - they just need to find a manager first!
Gareth doesn't get much time to watch TV, but admits that he does enjoy Strictly Come Dancing and would be up for taking part if asked.
"I'd love too. I'm not the world’s best dancer but I've had a dance in shows that I've been in like The Threepenny Opera in the National Youth Theatre.
"I used to do dance classes when I was younger as well so yeah I'd like too, it's another good reason to get fit as well.
"I haven't been watching this series. I don't get time to watch a lot of television but I've got on-demand and I go back and pick up my favourite TV dramas, but if there was a reality show I'd watch it'd definitely be something like Strictly Come Dancing."
Christmas in Wales
Normally one to keep on working during the holiday season, Gareth had decided to try and take some time out this Christmas.
"I'm staying in a little cottage in west Wales with log fires and colourful Christmas' jumpers, lots of walks in the countryside and just chilling out. It'll be as much of a traditional Christmas that I can manage.
Gareth David-Lloyd as Ianto Jones
"I get really bored really easily when I'm not working and it'll only take a week of me being out of work before I'm itching to start again.
"When it gets to Boxing Day I'm a bit like, 'Come on' - I want to starting looking for work or start a new series or something, so I've always skipped over it.
"That's why this year I'm going to enjoy Christmas and put some time and effort into it. Spending it with the dogs, my girlfriend Gemma and some of the family."
And it seems Gareth's flying visit to Norfolk on a cold winter's morning has prepared him for the weather of the festive season.
"It's the first time in Norfolk in my life… it's much colder up here! I haven't had a huge amount of time to look around but I'll definitely be coming back," he said.
Torchwood: Children Of Earth is due for transmission in spring 2009 on BBC One.
last updated: 07/12/2008 at 18:38