Torchwood star John Barrowman says a gay sex scene banned by the BBC is vital to the storyline.

Although US audiences will see the raunchy scenes with Barrowman’s bisexual character Captain Jack Harkness, BBC bosses decided they would be too explicit for a UK audience, even after the watershed.

Speaking to The Sun, the actor said: “It’s not gratuitous sex, it facilitates the story. It’s nothing they grab just to put on the camera and sensationalise it.”

He added that viewers would find out more about his character’s past: “You go back into history with Jack and you discover an integral relationship that is part and parcel to what is happening. It’s a massive story.”

A BBC source told the newspaper last week: “It wasn’t that it was a gay scene that worried people, but just the fact it was such an explicit sex scene, full stop.”

A BBC spokeswoman said the gay sex scene and another which involved violence had been cut.

She said: “The UK and US versions of ‘Torchwood’ are slightly different. However, these differences do not change the story in any way and the strong storylines are first and foremost to the series.”

Last month, Barrowman promised Torchwood fans that the new series would be the sexiest yet, with “man sex” and “full-on” nudity.