Alex Ferns: From EastEnders to Chernobyl, here's everything you need to know about the Scottish actor
Alex Ferns may be best remembered as Trevor Morgan, but his roles in shows such as Chernobyl and Andor deserve recognition too.
He was once voted ‘Britain’s most-hated soap villain’ for his role as Trevor Morgan in EastEnders, but Alex Ferns has had an interesting career since.
With recent credits including historical miniseries Chernobyl, Star Wars prequel show Andor and 2022 film The Batman, here is everything you need to know about Alex Ferns.
Alex Ferns was born in Lennoxtown on October 13th 1968. After spending his early childhood in Scotland his family moved to South Africa where he spent his teenage years living under apartheid.
In an interview with The Herald, he described the culture shock he experienced after moving to the country: "It was an all-white school. This was the days of apartheid. Everything was segregated. There was loads of down-at-heel Afrikaners. They walked to school in bare feet. We wore shoes and they would ask: 'Why are you wearing shoes?' We were in a very poor white area."
In the same interview he describes being caned by his school’s headmaster for writing “Free Nelson Mandela” on his school bag along with being monitored by police for his family’s leftist views.
After leaving school, he was conscripted into the South African army and served two years in Angola during the late 1980s. Following his National Service, Ferns would go onto study drama at the University of Cape Town before returning to the UK in 1997 to pursue a career in acting.
He and his wife, South African-born Jennifer Woodburne were married in Oban around the same time. However, he struggled with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during this period and would spend years in therapy, particularly after his father was killed in a car accident in South Africa.
The couple have two sons together, Cameron and Mackenzie.
What TV shows has Alex Ferns been in?
His earliest appearances on screen include brief stints in TV dramas such as Rhodes, Tarzan: The Epic Adventures, The Bill, Psychos, Britannic, Holby City and Doctors.
He made his EastEnders debut in 2000, portraying Trevor Morgan in 112 episodes. His time as the abusive husband of Little Mo Slater (Kacey Ainsworth) has been etched in the memory of soap fans with Ferns eventually becoming the show’s main antagonist. The explosive domestic abuse storyline saw Ferns win several awards, including Best Villain and Britain’s Most Hated Soap Villain, before his character was killed off in 2002.
Ferns also starred in short-lived ITV drama Making Waves in 2004 and has appeared in series such as Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire, M.I. High and Casualty.
However, in the 2010s Ferns’ television career began to pick up once more.
His TV roles include DCI Neil Thompson in ITV miniseries The Widower, Radko in 24: Live Another Day and as David Edwards in Polish-British drama The Passing Bells and as Alistair in children’s fantasy show Wolfblood.
Ferns can also be seen in The Coroner, Wallander, Vera and Taboo, and in 2017 he returned to his soap roots, joining the cast of River City as menacing criminal Rick Harper.
In addition, he has performed in shows such as 2020 limited series Barkskins, based on the novel of the same name, 2021 Netflix show The Irregulars and Prime Video thriller The Devil’s Hour in which he plays DS Nick Holness.
If that wasn’t enough, you can also find the actor alongside Kevin McKidd in the Scotland-based ITVX series Six Four, and Toby Jones in 2021 BBC TV film Danny Boy.
Ferns has an inarguably varied filmography, but we have yet to mention his roles in 2019 miniseries Chernobyl and Andor, the 2022 Star Wars series.
In the multi-award winning historical drama Alex Ferns leaves behind past characters such as Trevor Morgan to fully embody Andrei Glukhov, the leader of Chernobyl’s miners who worked in dangerous conditions to prevent further disaster.
While his role in the show may have come as a shock to audiences, in 2019 Ferns received a BAFTA for his performance as the miner. He also spoke out about how he was inspired by his uncle, a Scottish Water Board worker, who died after being exposed to rain poisoned by the nuclear disaster.
Alex Ferns in Andor
Sergeant Linus Monk in Disney+ show Andor is portrayed by Alex Ferns, who is almost unrecognisable.
The Star Wars series is a prequel to 2016 film Rogue One, and Ferns’ character – who quickly became a fan favourite – is on a mission to hunt down protagonist Cassian Andor.
While there will be a season 2 of Andor, it is unlikely that Ferns will return.
Alex Ferns movies
Or if you’re more interested in the actor’s films we have everything you need to know.
Among his earliest film roles was The Ghost and the Darkness, a 1996 action movie starring Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas with Ferns’ other notable roles including Scottish crime film Man Dancin’ and 2005 war movie Joyeux Noël, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2006 Oscars.
He can also be seen alongside Steven Seagal in 2006 action flick Shadow Man, in 2009 French espionage thriller Farewell, and later productions such as 2015 crime thriller Legend and 2016 films Hot Property and The Legend of Tarzan, starring Alexander Skarsgård and Margot Robbie.
In 2017 he starred alongside Orlando Bloom in priest abuse movie Romans, but his past as Trevor Morgan almost cost him the role. One of the film’s directors shared his misgivings about casting the actor, and Ferns, who still landed the job, said: "It got me thinking about how many times over the last 15 years that has happened. Where someone has gone: 'He's perfect for the role, but…'"
More recently Ferns starred in British action film Knuckledust and Wrath of Man, a 2021 Guy Ritchie movie starring Jason Statham and Josh Hartnett.
However in 2022 Alex Ferns’ role as Commissioner Pete Savage in The Batman got fans talking. With Robert Pattinson starring as Bruce Wayne and Paul Dano portraying The Riddler, Ferns’ Gotham police Commissioner becomes involved with the villain in a rather unfortunate way.
After a busy few years, Ferns will star in Nightsleeper, an upcoming BBC One series set on a sleeper train from London to Glasgow. The cast includes Peaky Blinders’ Joe Cole, Highlander’s James Cosmo, Barbie actress Sharon Rooney and Katie Leung, who is best known for her role as Cho Chang in Harry Potter.
Or if you are more of a blockbuster fan, he is set to appear in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, a follow up to the 2021 monster film.
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