The Border War also saw some pretty famous future personalities and this is one for all the EastEnders fans (the famous on going British soap opera), this fun photo is Alex Ferns during his stint in the South African Army on the Angolan border – Alex is best known for his EastEnders role as Trevor Morgan, “Britain’s most-hated soap villain”.
Alex was a 2 Special Service Battalion (SSB) Gunner in 1989 and affectionately regarded by his fellow brothers in arms as “hell raiser of epic proportions” he was their units “go to guy” during heavy physical training exercises and he used to sing his heart out and always lifted the spirits of the men around him. They had many an ‘oppie’ (a ‘beasting’ or Punishment PT’) together and many a dust up with other units. Because Scotland is his country of birth they regarded him as the ” mad Scotsman” often rousing his buddies to the call. Highly likeable, inspirational and great bloke to all who knew him.
We wish him the best of luck in his television career that has vaulted him to the dizzy heights of a true ‘soap star’ and British cultural icon.
Alex Ferns’ Bio
Alex Ferns also made an appearance in The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) before various television roles, including Trevor Morgan in the BBC soap opera EastEnders from 2000 to 2002. In 2005, Ferns played Lieutenant Gordon in the highly acclaimed trilingual film Joyeux Noël, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, Golden Globe Awards and the BAFTAs.
In 2003 Ferns appeared as Draco Malfoy in a Harry Potter sketch for Comic Relief.
In 2004 he played Commander Martin Brooke, the lead role, in the short-lived ITV series Making Waves. In the same year he appeared in Man Dancin’, a Festival Film & TV production, which won a number of awards on the festival circuit, including Outstanding Original Screenplay at the Sacramento Film Festival. He has also appeared on Coronation Street.
He has also appeared in the 2006 movie Shadow Man, as Schmitt, also starring Steven Seagal.
His theatrical work includes the role of the “tapeworm” (a hallucination) in I.D., a play about Dimitri Tsafendas and his assassination of South African Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd, the 2008 national tour of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery And Then There Were None, and Little Shop of Horrors as the Dentist. In 2011 he took the role of Scottish gangster Jimmy Boyle in the play about his life, The Hardman, during a Scottish tour to positive reviews.
He also made a brief appearance in the Smirnoff Vodka advert in 2009. Ferns took part in TV series Celebrity Coach Trip, partnered with friend Ricky Groves. He starred as Luther in the 2011 London revival and subsequent UK tour of South Pacific. In 2013, he starred as Lee in True West at Glasgow’s Citizen’s Theatre. In 2014, he starred in 24: Live Another Day.
Born in Lennoxtown, Scotland, Alex lived in South Africa for 17 years and studied drama at the University of Cape Town before returning to the United Kingdom in 1991. Whilst in South Africa the military conscription regulations were changed to include ‘white’ foreign nationals with South African residencies, and Alex was conscripted into the South African Defence Force as a ‘National Serviceman’ or he would certainly have faced deportation and even imprisonment.
Alex Ferns has been married to South African-born actress Jennifer Woodburne since 1996. They currently live in London with their two sons, Cameron and Mackenzie.
To see Alex’s skill transforming from ‘nice guy’ to ‘hard-man’ in EastEnders, have a cuppa tea (as EastEnders fans do) and take a look at this famous clip from the series;
Related work and link
Sid James from ‘Carry On’ series; ‘Carry On’ the South African Army – the story of Sid James
Researched by Peter Dickens.
Photo courtesy of BJ Taylor and story on Alex in the SADF courtesy of Gary Smith. Video clip BBC EastEnders. Feature image Alex Ferns in True West Rehearsals Photo: Tim Morozzo