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No Brief Candle: John Barrowman Claims "Torchwood" Punished by the Beeb

Torchwood: Children of Earth star John Barrowman has lashed out at the BBC for "punishing" the Doctor Who spin-off series as it moved from BBC Two to BBC One with the third season, when its episodic count was reduced from a traditional thirteen to a leaner five episodes.

Barrowman made the comments in the latest issue of the UK's Radio Times, which hit newsstands today, just a few days before the launch of Torchwood: Children of Earth in the United Kingdom.

Unlike in previous seasons, Torchwood: Children of Earth is being stripped five nights a week in an "event" format by both BBC One and BBC America in the States.

"I'm going to get a little political and I'll probably get into trouble for it, but... we were the most successful show on BBC3, ever," Barrowman told Radio Times. "We moved to BBC2 because the ratings were so good; the ratings were great again and we were beating shows that had been on BBC2 for a long time. The decision was made to go to BBC1 – and then we were cut. From 13 episodes down to five."

"The five episodes, the miniseries as I call it, are incredible – I have no doubt about that – but personally, I felt like we were being punished," said Barrowman. "Other shows move from BBC3 and 2 to 1, and they don't get cut. So why are we? It felt like every time we moved we had to prove ourselves."

Torchwood creator and lead writer Russell T. Davies, however, refuted any claims of being punished by the Beeb.

"Part of us thought, 'We could do another 13 episodes, we've learnt how to do that, and the second series was better than the first.' But why not change it?" Davies told Radio Times. "I know if this was America, they'd try to keep it going for seven years, doing the same thing every week. And BBC America, who show Torchwood, are furious that we've changed the format. But they're not our paymasters. It's the British audience we make these for. And I don't think audiences are remotely lost by a change in format."

And, for their part, the BBC certainly didn't want to "punish" Torchwood either.

"We wanted to create a powerful sense of event when the show came to BBC One and so talked with the show makers about a story that could run over five consecutive days," said a BBC spokesperson in a statement. "This [...] is something very special that we hope viewers will enjoy."

Torchwood: Children of Earth launches Monday night on BBC One in the UK and Stateside on July 20th on BBC America.


Anonymous said…
Barrowman should stop whining. He's lucky he has the work he does have otherwise we'd be forced to endure more jazz hands rubbish like How Do you Solve a problem Like Maria.
MeganE said…
I don't care what format it's in, or how many episodes there are, as long as it's good!!!
justjoan123 said…
Although "Joseph" and "Maria" are being shown in the US now, they actually are older shows, and predate "Torchwood." And John doesn't whine, he may simply have a different take. After all, he left a very successful career on the West End stage to commit to "Torchwood," and he certainly did not make that commitment on the terms on which it is now shown. In his view, he has been given the old bait and switch by the Beeb.
kellyyyy. said…
Why has everyone took what John stated, out of context like this.. "lashed out at the bbc" Wtf? He simply stated his thoughts on the actions. Aren't we all entitled to our opinions? John isn't whining about anything, it's the press who have taking this statement way too far!

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