Destined for success with Downtown Abbey role

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A FORMER Eastbourne College student is among the new faces in the latest series of Downton Abbey which starts this Sunday (September 16).

The popular ITV1 show will return to screens this weekend with a new character Jimmy Kent, played by former Eastbourne College pupil Ed Speleers.

The 24-year-old was originally from Chichester but was educated at Eastbourne College and left the school in 2006.

Ed was destined for a successful acting career from a young age after taking a number of lead roles in school productions. He took the starring role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream when he was 10, and tackled Peter Pan, A Streetcar Named Desire, Richard III and Hamlet.

He then landed the title role in Hollywood movie Eragon in 2008 before appearing in the British prime time series Echo Beach as Jimmy Penwarden. In 2010, he was cast as one of the lead roles in British thriller film A Lonely Place to Die.

Now, he will be on the television at 9pm on Sunday nights as part of the popular Downton Abbey period drama. It is the third series of the show and Ed will be playing a new first footman who is used to working in a grand house.

Ed’s drama teacher, Tim Marriott, who still teaches at Eastbourne College, said, “He was superb at school and I was very fond of him. He played a number of lead roles during his time here and was cast in a major movie while in the lower sixth. Downton is very high profile and we are all very excited for him here at Eastbourne College. He is one of several of our pupils that has done very well.”