Recent work has begun to explore the existence of a range of contemporary celebrity forms, particularly in relation to subcultural identities and issues of value. This paper seeks to contribute to these debates through an analysis of the television personality John Barrowman, with particular reference to his status as a lead actor in the British science-fiction series Torchwood and his guest appearances in its parent show Doctor Who. His connection to these science-fiction/fantasy based shows indicates that we might best consider his star or celebrity status as a form of 'subcultural celebrity' which refers to 'mediated figures who are treated as famous only by and for their fan audiences' (Hills, 2003: 61). However, I want to explore how Barrowman's other appearances in prime-time shows such as Tonight's The Night, Any Dream Will Do, and Strictly Come Dancing complicates the ways in which we can read his star person and work to limit how he can be constructed as a subcultural celebrity. Furthermore, given Torchwood's status (until its new series) as a production based in Cardiff and Barrowman's very visible status as a resident of Wales, I will further draw on the concept of the 'localebrity'; a 'hybrid of the reality television celebrity and the local personality or “character”' (McElroy and Williams, 2011) to discuss how Barrowman's status as science-fiction actor, a prime-time TV presenter, and a 'local character' can be explored.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationN/A
Publication statusUnpublished - 2011
Event Alien Nation: A Conference on British Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Television - Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Duration: 1 Jul 20111 Jul 2011


Conference Alien Nation: A Conference on British Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Television

    Research areas

  • science fiction, celebrity, local celebrity

ID: 117039