Dr Who actor John Barrowman has said that the Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, who called on gay people to “repent and be changed” will actually drive even more people away from churches.

The bishop’s views, published in the Sunday Telegraph, sparked outrage from gay campaigners. Peter Tatchell called on him to “repent his homophobia”.

Barrowman, who has also starred in Torchwood, said Dr Nazir-Ali should “stop talking rubbish.”

He said: “From a gay man, weren’t the actions of Jesus Christ supposed to be about compassion and love and understanding? And here you have a man who is supposed to be teaching that and he is teaching bigotry.

“I think more gay men would go to church if the teachers weren’t as bigoted as they are. Now, I’m not saying all Christians believe like that, because there’s a lot out there who don’t.

“But these kind of men and women who are preaching that, they are going to lose their congregation because mums and dads are going to realise they have gay siblings – or children or family members who are gay – and they are not evil. Stop talking rubbish.”