John Barrowman is never less than enthusiastic – about everything. But there’s something about the festive season which makes him particularly effusive.

“I love this time of the year,” says the entertainer, who arrives in Oxford on Saturday with his Yuletide show – A Fabulous Christmas.

“It’s been great to get back into the studio recording new Christmas tracks. This is the first time I’ve put together a full album of festive music for the most fabulous time of the year!”

A singer, actor, dancer, presenter and author, Barrowman knows how to put on a show. A star of the West End, the Glasgow-born and American raised performer has fans for his various roles on children’s television, the stage, as a judge on shows like How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria? and Any Dream Will Do, and, of course, as the dashing Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and the spin-off Torchwood.

Last year, he went into the jungle for ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here 2018, and finished third. And he has just been announced as the new judge for Dancing On Ice, having competed on the show’s first series in 2006.

But first, there’s the small matter of a national tour and album which is currently at Number 23 in the charts. It comes off the back of his sold-out summer shows, celebrating his 30 years on stage and screen, and which featured his mum, dad and husband Scott.

“I am so looking forward to starting everyone’s Christmas off with a festive bang,” he laughs.

“This show is going to be totally Christmassy.

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“I’ve written a letter to Santa to see if ‘Mr and Mrs Claus’ are able to come along. Scott will be there again, on the merchandise stall, and on stage at some point. I hope to integrate mum and dad into it – which will be quite exciting, I hope.

“Like the summer shows, there will be music, stories and photos, but this time sharing all my favourite moments from Christmas through the years.”

So what does Christmas mean to John?

“It’s about family, friends, celebrating the birth of a child, and basically coming together and enjoying people’s company. Everybody talks about presents, but my favourite time is Christmas morning after all the presents have been opened, having brunch, relaxing, playing games, all that stuff.

“Of course, I have to fit music into Christmas, and that starts on Christmas Eve. We have all the Christmas songs on, line up bottles of Champagne – from the most expensive to the cheapest… and by the time we get to the cheap ones, they all taste exactly the same anyway.”

Home is the house he and Scott share in Palm Springs, California, but he admits to still being attached to his Scottish roots.

“Prior to last year, Christmas had always been spent at my cousin’s in Dunblaine, as when I’ve been working in panto, you only really get Christmas Day off – so not much chance to travel too far.

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“Last year was the first time in many years where I’ve actually been at home with family in the States, for Christmas, and that’s where we’ll be this year too.”

It’s safe to assume his house looks fabulous at Christmas too.

“Absolutely,” he agrees. “My house gets decorated to the hilt; pilots could mistake our house for a runway! That said, by the time I’ve actually finished the tour and other work I’ve got on, there’s only going to be about five days to do all the decorating and shopping.

“We have two trees. One is decorated in a Scottish-American-Welsh-British traditional style, recognising all the places I’ve lived in. The other is more glitzy and sparkly, with a dash of Star Wars – we have a Star Wars tree topper.

“All the trees outside have huge baubles on and we really go all out.”

He adds: “Mum and dad are just down the road, so they’ll be with us, and my aunt and uncle and Scott and mine’s best friends – just the eight of us.

“Everyone shares the jobs, although one day I’ve got a chef booked so no one will have to cook at all. But we’re a diverse family, so we really try to include lots of different elements.

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“Mum will make shortbread, obviously – being Scottish, my aunt is from Belgium and she does the hors d’ouvres. Then it’s a traditional turkey dinner with everybody pitching in to help.

“One rule though, whoever cooks does not clean up – so I make sure I get really stuck into the cooking, and make a mess.”

Fans at the New Theatre on Saturday should count themselves lucky. John was forced to cancel the first dates of the tour after injuring his neck and finding himself unable to move.

After being rushed to hospital by Scott, he underwent a series of painful injections in the spine to reduce the inflammation and help him regain his mobility.

“Doctors have advised me to not perform... while I try and recover, so I had to make the very difficult decision to cancel my performances at the Bristol Hippodrome and at the SEC Armadillo, Glasgow,” he told his followers on social media.

“I am so disappointed and upset as I was looking forward to seeing you all, I feel I am letting everyone down, but it’s simply not possible for me to do the show in my current condition,” he added.

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Thankfully he has bounced back to his usual dynamic self – and has invited fans who missed out in Bristol to join the Oxford show.

“I’m really looking forward to coming back to Oxford,” he says. “I have spoken at the Oxford Union and have been thrown out of one of their libraries! It’s such an honour to be invited to speak; I was very proud of that. I did it during my time as Captain Jack, and spoke about my time in Doctor Who, and it wasn’t publicised at all, beyond the Union itself. It was very much on the lowdown, and I loved it.”

Perhaps he’ll also get time to snatch a little time for Christmas shopping in the city.

So is he more of a gift giver or receiver?

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“I like to give more than receive, for sure,” he says. “But I do absolutely love to receive gifts which are made personally, crafty gifts. There’s so much more heart to those things.”

And he still remembers his favourite ever present.

“I remember one year as a kid, all I wanted was a silver flute,” I’d come down, opened all my presents from Santa and I didn’t get it. Mum and dad asked me to get something out of the drawer in the other room where they kept the silverware, and there among it all was this very particular flute.

“I like to make gift giving an event like that – it really adds to the occasion.”

John Barrowman ‘A Fabulous Christmas’ is out now on Decca Records. He plays the New Theatre Oxford tomorrow (Saturday). Tickets from