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Exclusive: If It Wasn’t Ianto, It Would’ve Been Rhys

Kai Owen reveals the twists and turns that took place in ‘Torchwood: Children Of Earth’

When the announcement was first made that “Torchwood” would return for a third season on BBC One, fans received the news with whoops of cheers and excitement.

What could be better? The “Doctor Who” spinoff series, which broke BBC Three records when it launched in 2007, would migrate to the big leagues of prime time terrestrial television.

Their jubilation was short-lived however as it also came with a hefty price tag – – the episode commitment for “Torchwood” was a whopping eight episodes less than the normal 13-episode run — and the season would commence and conclude in a single week. Tagged as “Children of Earth,” the season premiered in July, and in true “Torchwood” fashion broke more records by pulling in a stunning 6.5 million viewers.

Despite the success, the BBC has remained tight-lipped on whether or not a fourth season of the show is on the cards … and actor Kai Owen is just as in the dark as the fans. Will the series be back?

“I don’t know … we all hope so,” Owen, who plays Rhys on the series, told Airlock Alpha at the recent Collectormania event in Glasgow, Scotland. “‘Children of Earth’ done really, really well, so the answer is, how can they not? It might take some time for it to happen, but we all had so much fun on the last” season.

In addition to the fan outcry at the episode order cut, series star John Barrowman was very vocal on the decision to change the format of the show, announcing that he wanted another 13-episode season. And who can blame him?

However Owen insists that the five-episode order was in fact better for the show.

“John just wants to be on TV more,” Owen joked with fans. “We got 3 million extra viewers we probably wouldn’t have had [if it was a 13-episode series]. I never felt cheated at all. I felt it was a bigger event and if it comes back in that form, I’d be happy with it.

“It was a big gamble, even though it is the mother ship, BBC One, but the script was so good that we knew if people watched the first one then we’d do well.”

With that in mind, Owen also confirmed that he personally feels “Children of Earth” should have been where the series originated, despite some strong performances in the first two years.

“Seasons 1 and 2 were good, but ‘Children of Earth’ is where is should have started,” he said. “The standard pace, writing, story … ‘Children of Earth’ was the best. Even though there were some sad moments, it was the best.”

The “Children of Earth” miniseries offered thrills, squeals and more than a few tears, particularly in the departure of a much loved series regular who died in the hands of his beloved Capt. Jack. Given his popularity with the fans though, why was it Ianto, played by Gareth David-Lloyd, that had to go?

“Cause he’s rubbish,” Owen joked with the Woodies at the event. “I was as gutted as everyone else. Gareth is a good mate of mine and someone had to go, and it was Ianto.”

Apparently, Rhys himself was slated for the chopping block a few times over the first two seasons and may even have been considered for the death scene in the miniseries. What has kept him around so long, however, has been the simple nature of his character – – he’s the regular guy that has kept Gwen grounded in the darkest of times.

If the series returns for a fourth season – – in whatever format agreed upon by the Beeb — it will include a totally different dynamic than what fans are used to with only two members of the Torchwood team still alive (one with a baby and the other in a very dark place). However if the show comes in a similar format to “Children of Earth,” fans may not even notice.

“You don’t see much of a change in the dynamic in ‘Children of Earth’ because it was non-stop,” Owen said, citing the noticeable change of dynamic behind the scenes. In the miniseries, “Jack had a family, Ianto had a family and Gwen had a baby to worry about. If Season 3 had been a 13-episode season, you would have seen and felt that dynamic.”

So what was it like behind the scenes?

“One word: porn,” Owen revealed with his tongue in his cheek. “With sheep, no … with Barrowman! John and his little, well not little … hanging out. You’d be trying to do a serious scene and Barrowman would be naked from the waist down.”

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