Barrowman appeared as the Earth-2 version of Malcolm Merlyn for the final season (before that Earth got blown up), and speaking to Digital Spy, he explained that prior commitments – including the release of his new festive album A Fabulous Christmas and the UK tour – meant that he was unavailable to make another appearance.
When asked if the season 8 premiere was his final episode, he said: “Yes. I was only able to do that first episode, and they didn’t get back to me in time before I booked up my tour, before I booked I’m a Celebrity: Extra Camp.
“There was a bunch of other stuff that came in, and I didn’t want to wait around. And it was first come first served, basically.
“So they did check my availability for other episodes, but I wasn’t available.”
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Barrowman added that he was glad to have been able to go back for the season 8 premiere.
“It was lovely to go back,” he explained. “To be part of that show for eight years has been incredible, and as I say with every show – Captain Jack changed my life, Arrow changed my life in another way, and it was great to play the villain this time and be, what I call, the passionate but bad dad on there.
“It was good! I enjoyed it. I love playing Malcolm Merlyn. He’s a lovely character to play, and it’s nice to be an arsehole!”
Meanwhile, Barrowman explained that he sees A Fabulous Christmas – which features a wide range of covers including ‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town’ and ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ – as a way to reclaim Christmas.
“It goes back to when I was a kid,” he said. “We celebrate Christmas with family and friends, and we used to go to church and have the communal feeling of Christmas.
“As I grew up and as a gay man, I realised that we weren’t as welcome in some churches – not all churches, but certain places.
“I wanted to reclaim Christmas and put out an album that celebrated Christmas – the kind of traditional side of it, the fun side of it, and as it says on the album, the fabulous side of it – so that people can reclaim it and start their own kind of festivities and their own celebration when they listen to the album.”
John Barrowman’s A Fabulous Christmas is out now on Decca Records.
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