In the BBC with John Barrowman's American Accent

BBC Television Centre
Someone once told me the secret to succeeding in America is a British accent. Our dialect is perceived as "uncouth and rather unpleasant" according to several of my friends around the world who have chosen to be brutally honest with me. So much so, that most Americans might unknowingly prejudice their own dialect for the more melodic British version. One only needs to watch the twenty-four hour news channels to realize that this is true, and that we're slowly being invaded by their cheeky enunciations. So why would John Barrowman, a Scottish actor choose to speak in an American accent?

Of course you're probably wondering who John Barrowman is if you're reading this from North America. An actor, and singer, a part of the longest running (since 1963) science fiction franchise in television history, the shows "Doctor Who", and "Torchwood", have a small, but growing cult following in the U.S. Let's put it this way, if you saw John Barrowman on the streets of London, it would be like George Clooney showing up at your son's soccer game. Complete chaos. Barrowman, who spent time in the States as a child when his father was transferred abroad, decidedly chose to use an American dialect to prevent his fellow classmates from bullying him. "You can choose?" I silently questioned myself upon first learning of this fact. Of course that doesn't explain why it works for him as an adult, why he isn't ridiculed like Madonna was when she was caught on camera with a British accent, and she of course had every right to because she was living in the U.K. at the time with her husband. As is the case with Hugh Laurie (Gregory House M.D. from the show 'House'), perhaps it's because they're actors, or perhaps it's because most people don't know they're not American. Perhaps it's because John Barroman is just perfect? While I'll admit my futile (he's gay) crush on John, may sway my opinion, you can't deny his commitment to changing the world's perspective on being "out" in showbiz. John Barrowman's omni-sexual character, Captain Jack often even reflects this with lines like "You people, and your quaint little categories!" In real life, a billboard campaign quoted John, "It's the 21st century, some people are gay, get over it." While I'm certain there must be something wrong with him, like compulsive farting or something, you can't dispute that he's a truly intriguing individual. He's interesting, peculiar, and different. All the things I like in a person.

So you can imagine my complete loss of adult conduct when I found myself inside Television Centre at the BBC (a virtual city unto itself), standing five feet from John Barrowman. We were near the fountain of the central question mark (the shape of the inner courtyard) near the VIP entrance where the stars were arriving for the Red Nose Day charity event, when the BBC employee who was escorting us interrupted her typical monotone speech with "Look! There's John Barrowman!" In that moment, time stopped. I was speechless as my jaw dropped in slow motion like paint dripping down the wall. My brain now forced to deal with the lack of oxygen from not breathing, was telling me to scream, to do something, as I mentally cheered myself on "Come on Liv!!!" Yet I couldn't make any words come out, my body's muscles refusing to react to the complete shock and awe of the moment. "John..." I called out in the silence of my mind, but it was too late, he was gone and in his dressing room. I was left star-struck, stuttering, one arm reaching out, in front of a group of people I had never met before in my life. They, just as surprised that I knew who John was, didn't judge me for my infatuation, but replied with a sympathetic "awe." Our chaperone putting her arm around me and advising me "If I would have known you liked John, I would have introduced you. Perhaps we'll find him inside?"

Of course it never happened. John went into make-up, and we were never meant to see each other again that day. Yet out of nine million people in London, what seemed like impossible odds, coincidences collided that day, and I can say for a short moment in time, I shared a side-walk with this incredible man.
John Barroman touched this.

After playing around in a Tardis (a time travel machine)  for a bit, we ended up leaving the BBC that day, passing through security, and on to the street where hundreds of English teenage girls stood outside the gate screaming, and waiting to get a glimpse of the stars as they arrived. Many of them turned in disgust to me as if to ask "who does she think she is?", some trying to figure if I was anyone important enough to befriend. Like the vampires of stardom, they hungered for the fantasy of television to fill their life of reality.

Nine months later, three thousand miles away in rural North Carolina. A lifetime away from the BBC and John Barrowman. I stood at the edge of my snow covered drive-way as our mail man's car came to a stop, its tires crunching on the fresh snow in the silence of the winter morning. That's when he handed me a large letter, post-marked from Cardiff, Wales. I pulled one glove off with my teeth and opened the envelope, and there before me was Captain Jack in all his glory. This time I screamed all the way back to the house as I ran to show Shannon. I think she even screamed a bit before we both realized such behavior wasn't befitting of two grown adults. That said, I quickly purchased a frame for my autographed John Barroman, and he now hangs in my hallway as a reminder of that day at the BBC. It also serves as lesson to me that the coincidences of life are often cloaked in the language of reality.


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