Torchwood star Gareth David-Lloyd has responded to Russell T Davies’ remarks on why straight actors shouldn’t play LGBT+ characters in film and television.
“I’m not being woke about this… but I feel strongly that if I cast someone in a story, I am casting them to act as a lover, or an enemy, or someone on drugs or a criminal or a saint,” he said. “They are not there to ‘act gay’ because ‘acting gay’ is a bunch of codes for a performance.
“It’s about authenticity, the taste of 2020.”
He added: “You wouldn’t cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair, you wouldn’t Black someone up. Authenticity is leading us to joyous places.”
Davies’ comments contributed to a discussion on the lack of LGBT+ representation in media, and whether marginalised minorities should be given the opportunity to portray themselves in queer stories.
The debate obviously resonated with David-Lloyd, who is straight but was cast by Davies as the gay character Ianto Jones in the 2004 series Mine All Mine.
He also played a bisexual character by the same name in Davies’ popular Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood, which saw Ianto have a loving relationship with the omnisexual Captain Jack Harkness (played by John Barrowman).
“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 tweeted on Saturday (16 January).
Ianto’s sexuality was complex but interesting that I got the role partly based on the strength of a gay character I played for @russelldavies63 in ‘Mine All Mine’. But then I suppose we all make mistakes.
— Gareth David-Lloyd (@Pancheers) January 16, 2021
Fans were quick to respond with their support for David-Lloyd, whose performance as Ianto was so popular that after he was killed in Torchwood‘s third series a shrine was created for the character in Cardiff. It has remained in place for the past 12 years.
“You play Ianto as the fantastically-written character he is and a layered, complex person,” commented one, “never a caricature or stereotype like some of of the roles and actors currently under scrutiny – and continue to be supportive of LGBT+ people and fans.”
Davies has yet to respond to David-Lloyd’s tweet.