From Irn bru adverts to War and Peace

Jack Lowden as Nicolai Rostov in BBC adaptation of War and Peace
Jack Lowden as Nicolai Rostov in BBC adaptation of War and Peace

The acting career of former Earlston High School pupil Jack Lowden continues to go from strength to strength.

The 25-year-old from Oxton has just received rave reviews for his portrayal of Nikolai Rostov in Andrew Davies’ adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace which concluded its six-episode run on BBC1 on Sunday evening.

In the costume drama, which is being tipped for a glut of awards, Jack appeared alongside a host of famous actors, including Paul Dano, Lily James, Jim Broadbent, Brian Cox, Gillian Anderson and Stephen Rea.

However the scene that hit home hardest featured none of those, but Jack’s equine co-star, a horse named Ziggy.

In one of the series’ climactic battle scenes, Ziggy - in the role of the headstrong Rostov’s horse, Little Rook - was shot from under him.

Some viewers believed the fall was too realistic to have been staged, but the BBC have since confirmed Ziggy was unhurt.

Jack, now based in London, has been singled out for praise for his nuanced reading of the flawed, characterful Nikolai in a series which was filmed in Russia, Latvia and Lithuania and is now earning top ratings in the US.

Jack last hit the headlines in 2014 when he won the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of Oswald in Richard Eyre’s West End adaptation of Ibsen’s Ghosts.

It has been a meteoric rise for a Borderer who was just 10 when his parents Jacquie and Gordon enrolled him in Edinburgh’s Youth Theatre.

At Earlston High School, he took part in many annual productions and studied during summer school at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.

He also performed regularly with Galashiels Amateur Operatic Society, starring in the 2008 annual show The Boy Friend.

Aged 18, he appeared in a high profile TV advertisement for Irn Bru and, the following year, he excelled as Cammy in the National Theatre of Scotland’s acclaimed and uncompromising touring production of Black Watch.

With a string of television roles already behind him, most recently as the poet Thomas Wyatt in Wolf Hall, Jack appears destined to continue with a glittering career on the silver screen.

Movie audiences will be able to watch him in three films due to be released this year. He will appear as golfer Tom Morris Junior in Tommy’s Honour, as Tony Benn in A United Kingdom and in the Holocaust drama Denial, starring Rachel Weisz and Andrew Scott.