Why Torchwood's Gareth's home from home
Emily Lambert/Oct 28 2006/BBC
Making the coffee, tidying the office and chasing alien invaders around the streets of Cardiff it's all in a day's work for Welsh actor Gareth David-Lloyd, who's seen his nation's capital in a whole new light since joining the cast of Torchwood, BBC Three's new sci-fi thriller.
Gareth plays Ianto, a young man he describes as "a bit like the team's butler".
"He's a sort of Alfred to Jack's Batman, if you like," explains the intense, dark-haired actor. "He looks after the Hub, he makes the tea and coffee, and he gets the team everywhere on time."
But despite the fact that he seems to be landed with the least glamorous jobs, Ianto gets a kick out of working for Torchwood and relishes the idea of the renegade lifestyle.
"I think he probably feels a little on the outside of things to begin with and he might feel that his talents aren't being used to their full potential. But as the series progresses, he develops personal relationships with the other members of the team and becomes gradually more integrated.
"He loves Torchwood, he's fascinated by it and he constantly wants to be better at the job and make even more important contributions to the work they do," says Gareth.
But, he reveals, there's definitely more to Ianto than meets the eye.
"He puts up a bit of a front at first he's this quiet, reliable, very smart guy, who's always in a suit. But I think it's a hard exterior he puts up to cover something that's probably a bit more vulnerable and a bit more childlike underneath.
"The truth is that Ianto's got his own secrets and his own agenda, though I'm not going to divulge what they are!" he laughs.
The 25-year-old actor, who was born in Newport, not far from Cardiff where the series is shot, and trained at the National Youth Theatre, says he fell in love with Russell T Davies's script when he auditioned for the role in London earlier this year.
"It's completely different to anything I've ever seen on television before. It's definitely not a dark, sexy version of Doctor Who, because it's different on so many levels. There's temptation temptation for the characters that they can't always resist. It's a lot naughtier..." he says, teasingly.
So does Gareth have any "naughty" scenes?
"You could say that," he laughs. "Let's just say that I have a feel for darker characters and darker situations, so it really appealed to me."
The actor, who met his girlfriend, Sara, on the set of Torchwood (she plays Carys in episode 2), reveals that the episode broadcast on Sunday 5 November sees him tackle one of his most challenging storylines in the series.
"It completely took me by surprise I had no idea when we started filming that I'd get the opportunity to play some of those scenes, but Ianto really earns his stripes."
Gareth who is one year into a part-time degree in Philosophy with the Open University has had a passion for performing since he was a child. In the last few years, he has earned rave reviews on stage for roles including Sebastian in Twelfth Night and Macheath in The Threepenny Opera. He also appeared in the BBC film The Genius Of Beethoven in 2005 and the comedy Absolute Power. But Torchwood is his first big TV role and he couldn't be more pleased that it has brought him back home to Wales.
"I love Cardiff and I'd love to make it my base in the future if circumstances allow," says the actor, whose brother and two sisters all live near by. "I moved to London to get my career off the ground but it's great that my biggest and most exciting project so far has been filmed here."
But when he first arrived on set, he almost turned on his heels and fled...
"The Torchwood Hub is absolutely amazing and when I first saw it I was a bit scared, to be honest with you scared about whether my acting skills could match the skills of the art department! I was completely knocked out by it," he says. "But now I'm more relaxed in my character and I feel more at home. Now I'm just really proud of it."