Lovely Welsh star lights up the screen in 'Torchwood'



Eve Myles has every right to be an arrogant diva, especially to the press. She's toured with the Royal Shakespeare Company and performed with Michael Gambon, she stars in a wildly popular and successful series, and she's been voted one of Wales' top bachelorettes. And she's done all this before her 30th birthday, which she won't celebrate for another six months.

This is exactly the sort of meteoric rise that goes right to young actors' heads and egos. But not Myles'. She is almost unbelievably ... nice.

She is enthusiastic. Sweet. Kind. Modest. She giggles and exclaims and asks questions in the flowing, silvery Welsh accent "Torchwood" viewers have tuned their ears to as they watch her play Gwen Cooper, former Cardiff policewoman and soulful conscience of the Torchwood team. The accent may sound exotic, but viewers in this area should know she's practically a local girl.

"My family lives in West Virginia. And they're going crazy because they think it's hilarious that my little Welsh face keeps popping up on their telly. They think it's the funniest thing they've ever seen!"


'Torchwood'
  • When: 9 p.m. Saturday, BBC America.
  • Starring: John Barrowman, Eve Myles.

Maybe it's funny to family, but Myles is a bona fide star. Success brings a full schedule, delivered a little breathlessly.

"We wrapped Season Two the 26th of November, and then basically I've gone straight on to doing another drama, and between doing that we've been promoting the second series, and last night was the premiere." Viewership for that was reportedly at an all-time high in the U.K., so it looks as if Myles is going to stay busy for a long time. How did this start?

For Myles, it started with a role in a single episode of the first season of the revived "Doctor Who," in which she played a psychic Cardiff maid named Gwyneth. On the strength of that performance, "Doctor Who" producer and "Torchwood" creator Russell T. Davies wrote the role of Gwen Cooper for her.

"That was my biggest audition, I think," Myles bubbles. "The biggest audition I'll ever have in my life!"

Could be, but she's had some pretty big auditions. Before "Torchwood," she was "doing eight months at the National Theatre" in Shakespeare's "Henry IV" parts 1 and 2 with stage giant Michael Gambon. Before that, she'd spent 15 months with the Royal Shakespeare Company, including shows at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

The "Doctor Who" role might seem incongruous for someone too young to have been much interested in earlier TV incarnations of the Time Lord. She cut her sci-fi teeth on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Smallville," "Angel" and "The X-Files."

Now, in the role of Gwen, she's resurrecting the dead and seeing fairies and kissing aliens.

"I love playing Gwen Cooper," she says. "She's an absolute challenge to play, in every sense of the word, and I adore playing her." Asked if she's afraid of getting typecast, Myles' response is an emphatic "no."

She doesn't even have any strong goals for the future beyond "Torchwood." She's confident things will work out one way or another.

"I'm a very casual person, and I'm quite a calm person, and you know what? I take care of today, and tomorrow will take care of itself."

Don't be surprised if she ends up in Hollywood. Myles feels a lot of love from American fans.

"With 'Torchwood,' you guys have embraced it so fantastically, and you've given us so much joy because there's so many people watching it.

"And I get lovely letters from people of all ages, from across the board in America, and they've nothing but really lovely things to say."

Who can blame them, when Myles is so relentlessly lovely herself?


Samantha Bennett can be reached at sbennett@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3572. First Published January 24, 2008 5:00 AM


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