John Barrowmans career controversies – genital flashing to Dancing On Ice axe

John Barrowman has had a varied career, including roles on shows like Doctor Who, film and stage, plus numerous TV judging stints, such as Dancing On Ice.

The star turns 55 today (March 11), and will soon undertake a UK tour called I Am What I Am – From The West End to Broadway.

He will also return as a judge on the upcoming second All Star Musicals special on ITV.

However, John's career has been dogged with scandal over the years.

The star has been very open about his past and defended himself against various claims, including that he exposed his genitals on-set and to radio hosts.

Radio 1 apology

Back in 2008, the Torchwood star apologised after exposing himself on a live BBC Radio 1 show.

During the Switch programme, presented by Nick Grimshaw and Annie Mac, Grimshaw asked Barrowman: "You're famous, we're told, for getting your willy out in interviews. Is this going to happen today?"

John responded by saying he was going to "get it out", amid shouting and laughter.

He was later heard to say: "I didn't take the whole thing out, but I got my fruit and nuts out."

Annie Mac apologised on air at the end of the programme.

John later said: "I apologise for any offence I have caused. I was joining in the light-hearted and fun banter of the show and went too far. I was wrong to do this and it will never happen again."

Torchwood 'tomfoolery'

In May 2022, two former runners on Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood alleged that while on set, Barrowman would "get his genitals out on a regular basis", although they stressed that it was "larking about" and not sexually predatory behaviour.

One of the women told The Guardian: "Sometimes he’d call me into his dressing room, and I would knock on the door and he’d say, 'Oh, look at this', and he’d just have his willy out, standing in the doorway. It was kind of accepted that it was his thing."

  • John Barrowman defends exposing himself on Doctor Who set and calls antics 'tomfoolery'

Barrowman told The Guardian that his "high-spirited behaviour" was "only ever intended in good humour to entertain colleagues on set and backstage".

He said: "With the benefit of hindsight, I understand that upset may have been caused by my exuberant behaviour and I have apologised for this previously. Since my apology in November 2008, my understanding and behaviour have also changed."

A source later told the Metro that John's return as Captain Jack Harkness for series 12 and the Christmas special were a one-off.

Dancing On Ice axe

  • Richard Madeley's leaves GMB fans cringing over 'brutal' John Barrowman question

In October 2021, ITV announced that John would no longer appear as a judge on Dancing On Ice.

A spokesperson for ITV said: “We thank John Barrowman for two brilliant years on the Dancing on Ice panel and are pleased to be working with him again as host of the forthcoming All Star Musicals specials.”

He had previously appeared on Dancing on Ice as a contestant in 2006 and was the fourth person eliminated.

It was widely believed that the resurfacing of flashing allegations in May last year led to Barrowman's DOI exit.

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