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Torchwood star Gareth David-Lloyd admits he unfairly lashed out at Russell T Davies over gay actors debate

Emma Powys Maurice
·2-min read

Torchwood star Gareth David-Lloyd admitted he has reconsidered a “sulky” tweet aimed at Russell T Davies on whether straight actors should play LGBT+ roles.

David-Lloyd has played two queer characters written by Davies, including Ianto Jones for BBC’s Torchwood. The actor, who is straight, joined the debate on who should play gay roles after hearing Davies’ remarks about “authenticity” when casting.

“Ianto’s sexuality was complex, but interesting that I got the role partly based on the strength of a gay character I played for Russell T Davies in Mine All Mine. But then I suppose we all make mistakes,” he wrote on 16 January, pointedly tagging Davies in the tweet.

Explaining his reasoning behind the barbed message, he told Metro: “I was a bit upset so I tweeted a little sulky comment. I was a little upset with the implication that all straight actors approach gay roles with a mind to ‘act gay’.

“Of course there are those that do that and there have been some really cringy performances, but I think to tar all straight actors with the same brush on approaching gay roles was a little unfair.”

Gareth David-Lloyd complained that he felt like Russell T Davies was “rubbishing” admirable queer performances by straight men – such as Sean Penn in Milk, and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club – as well as his own performance in two roles that Davies himself had created.

“I thought, he must regret casting me and that’s why he hasn’t seen me for anything since Torchwood,” he said.

The tweet caught the attention of Russell T Davies, who immediately reached out to clear the air. Having discussed the matter, David-Lloyd now admits he was being “completely oversensitive” about the issue and agrees that gay actors should be prioritised for gay roles.

“[Russell] was mortified that he’d upset me, he told me he had no regrets casting me and he loved the work that I’d done,” he said.

“What he wanted to achieve in that interview was basically a call to the industry to balance the playing field and give gay actors more opportunities and I completely agree with him on that.

“Absolutely, gay actors should be considered for gay roles first.”

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