AN OXTON drama student has won the lead role in the latest of Irn Bru's iconic ads.
Jack Lowden got the part after hundreds undertook a two-day audition earlier this year.
See the ad by clicking here
"I was relieved to actually be in it because it's an Irn Bru advert and they're renowned for being good ads. Then finding out I had the lead part was just the cherry on the top," he told us.
The 18-year-old is in his first year at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow and an email alerted students across Scotland to the opportunity.
"It was like the X-Factor," Jack enthused. "We were herded into different parts of the room like sheep and we didn't know if we were in or out. It was confusing but very exciting."
A couple of weeks later he got the news he was in – and only later heard he was to have the lead role in the 2million musical advert.
The minute-long ad draws on great movie moments from Gregory's Girl to Grease. Set in the fictional 'Auchendookit Senior High', it shows students performing their own very Scottish musical number when Jack is joined by a cast of more than 100 – including a breakdancer of limited talent and a science student who plays the test tubes, pan-pipes style.
The film ends with their show-stopping finale in the school gym – and a thrown football bringing them back down to earth.
The television ad first aired on ITV on Tuesday, though there were sneak previews online in the run-up to the release.
It took three days' work to shoot the advert – which boasts the catchline "It's fizzy, it's ginger, it's phenomenal" .
Jack said: "They were very long days – we started at 6.30am and went to midnight one day.
"There were a lot of people on site and a lot of young folk so the morale was never down and the crew were absolutely fantastic.
"By the end of the third day there was such a good relationship – we wanted to get the take done first time for the crew.
"I had underestimated the number of people involved."
It's not as easy as it looks though.
"Even taking three paces forward staying in camera is harder than you think – let along trying to sing into it too. The crew were great. This is the first TV work I've done and it's really valuable to have this early on," said Jack.
A veteran of the Earlston High School productions and a former lead in The Boyfriend with Galashiels Opera, Jack, aged 12, was also 'John' in a Peter Pan pantomime at the Kings Theatre, Edinburgh.
"That was crazy fun – I was flying up and down on a harness," he recalled.
He said playing the lead at Galashiels Opera was "a huge help" – it allowed him to work more with Earlston High music teacher and Galashiels Opera musical director Jeff Thomson.
He added: "It is down to him in a way that I followed the route into acting and musical theatre.
"My parents have been fantastic – there is no-one I would want to thank more than them." My brother Calum has been a good inspiration to me as well, and he’s two years younger!”
Jack’s brother Calum studies at the English National Ballet School and has been dancing since he was eight.
Jack’s parents Jacquie and Gordon Lowden decided to take him to the Scottish Youth Theatre (SYT) when he was 10.
He said: “Up to then I didn’t have much idea and I was really shy as a kid.”
It was through SYT that he got the part in the Peter Pan panto. “It confirmed things for me and I realised ‘you can do this as a career’,” said Jack.
He’s a fan of old sitcoms, in particular Only Fools and Horses.
“Right from eight or nine years old I’ve been obsessed! I was just completely transfixed by David Jason. He’s my favourite actor – the stuff he can do with his face is incredible.”
The ad also features Hawick dancer Jenni Dobbie, who is studying dance at Telford College in Edinburgh.
The 18-year-old told us: “It was really great fun and it was really strange to see myself! I thought it would be stressful, but it wasn’t, it was all really good fun. All the producers and directors made you feel at ease. For a lot of us it was the first time being in an ad.”
She added: “I’m hoping to get a couple of jobs and more experience in the dance world and try out for dance videos.”
She started dancing seriously when she was nine.
“My friends showed me a dance routine and asked me if I wanted to go along to the classes and I’ve been dancing since.”
See the ad at www.irn-bru.co.uk