Bookmark and Share Bharat Nalluri talks Torchwood

2/02/2011 12:04:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

Torchwood returned to its origins yesterday with filming taking place at various locations in Cardiff Bay. During a quiet moment, fan Chris Williams (aka Twitter's TheTimeKill) was able to have a chat with Director Bharat Nalluri about the show.

Director Bharat Nalluri with Chris Williams
I caught up with Bharat near Sergeant Andy's police station at a converted bank in Bute Street, Cardiff. I took the chance of having a few words with him before Andy delivered his lines in front of a full-sized movie camera in the street.

I started by asking Bharat where he was from. He has a curious accent, some sentences sound pure American, or possibly Canadian, but at other times, he sounds more non-descript. I ws wrong - he's not an American, but a Brit, from Newcastle. He was born in India, lived for most of his life in the English North-East, and moved back and forth to the US to work on shows such as Buffy, and in the UK, Life on Mars, Spooks, Hustle and now Torchwood. It's clear that he is a major, top-rated director - and that Torchwood is well and truly in competent and safe hands.

We spoke about Children of Earth. I said that it was, in my opinion, it was excellent drama, but perhaps too close the the edge. I added that for my personal tastes, it was actually too dark, and wondered whether Miracle Day would be in the same style. Bharat smiled, and said that the 'edginess' came from Russell (RTD), and that would never change. There definitely some bleak or 'heavy' scenes, but that the show was balanced by some really light and very funny moments. He added that some of the humour in the show was at the expense of the American audience, who were believed to be 'naive' about Wales and Welshness... and was primarily meant for us in the UK. Should indeed be fun!

I was curious as to whether the show would be toned down for an American audience, as US TV has very strict codes of 'propriety' - with swearing, lewd behavior, etc pretty much taboo. Again, Bharat was reassuring. The network Torchwood are working with is Starz: a cable TV channel with a US-wide reputation for edginess and a 'gritty', no-holds barred approach to what can be shown. He quoted Spartacus as an example of one of their shows and said that Torchwood was RTD's baby. It would be just the same as ever, cheeky, occasionally rude, perhaps steamy - and very reflective of what we had enjoyed in Torchwood in the past. Bharat made it very clear that Russell would not tone Torchwood down - and that he was still completely in charge of the show. This really was very good to hear!

A fellow fan (@ohaiadam, a professional V-logger) put it to Bharat that being based in America, Torchwood would lose its Welshness, and become just another show. Yet again, the reply was encouraging. We were reminded that Torchwood was "entirely RTD's baby" - and that Russell was intensely proud of being Welsh, immensely fond of his country, and all it had to offer. The show would continue to be very Welsh ("Gwen will see to that!"). RTD had previously told me that Wales was such an enormous place, and that he'd never run out of stunning, beautiful locations'

Bharat emphasized that although only two weeks of filming was (initially) planned to happen in Wales, we would be amazed how 'Welsh' the show would be. A fantastic number of scenes would be shot here, and often, an external scene shot in Wales would cut to a studio scene filmed in LA. Wales would be 'much more apparent' than we were expecting, and "Russell wouldn't allow it any other way". He added that they'd be returning to Wales for more filming later.

Reassured and happy with Bharat's comments, I tried a question I knew I wouldn't get an answer to. Would any of our favorite characters die in Miracle Day? Bharat again smiled, and said he couldn't comment. Would people who loved Gwen and Rhys be happy after episode 10? Again - Bharat said his contract forbade him to speak.. I couldn't guess anything from his body language, so I guess (gladly, I suppose) we'll have to wait and see!

Bharat added that Torchwood really was going to be a cracking show - and a massive production too. He then posed for photographs and did a stack of autographs, before being dragged away by (producer) Brian Minchin, who quietly said "Can I have my director back now!"