Rory loving life in Hollyoaks

Edinburgh Napier graduate lands first major television role

Date posted

23 November 2016


Last updated

19 March 2020

An Edinburgh Napier graduate is loving life on the small screen after landing his first major national television role. 

After graduating in 2014 from the University’s Acting for Stage and Screen course, Rory Douglas-Speed has landed the role of character Joel Dexter in Channel 4’s hit-soap Hollyoaks.

Starring alongside stalwart characters including Warren Fox, Rory plays the part of his reformed son, who found himself and religion before returning to the village as a seminarian.

The 24-year-old, originally from Cupar in Fife, plied his trade locally before taking his new role, most recently playing the part of Sick Boy in the theatre production of Trainspotting before he took up his first on-screen part. He is the latest graduate from the University’s burgeoning acting courses to gain industry success.

And with heads already turning on set at the character’s return, the transition from stage to screen is one that Rory is loving so far. 

He said: “I’m having such a blast already, I’m extremely happy to have landed a role in Hollyoaks. 

“It’s very much a learning curve as I have never shot any TV before, so every day is very much a school day at the moment. However, I could not be working with a better bunch of people down at Lime Pictures – everyone from cast and crew to the canteen staff are amazing! I’m very happy with the way everything is going at the moment: I’m just so happy to be here.

“Studying at Edinburgh Napier played a big part in me landing this role. The course was fantastic and the team of lecturers were tremendous. They really try and get the best out of you, not only as a student but as a working, professional actor. It’s not easy. Constantly seeking work and knowing how to get it is very tough but the team tell you how it is and how to approach it. They give you the tools and you know exactly what to do with them when you leave.”

Launched in 2010, Edinburgh Napier’s BA (Hons) Acting for Stage and Screen degree is delivered in partnership with Queen Margaret University and provides contemporary vocational actor training that focuses on the craft and practice of performance. 

Alongside Rory, and despite its infancy, the course is already garnering a host of graduate success, with fellow 2014 graduate Daniel Campbell currently filming crime drama Muncie for ITV as well as starring in BBC thriller One of Us. 

Caroline Deyga and Kirsty Findlay, who graduated in 2015 and 2013 respectively, are currently on tour with the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour. Caroline is also currently in a lead role in BBC Radio 4’s new comedy, The Fair Intellectual Club. Graduate Patrick Wallace is touring Scotland as part of a play entitled The Man Who Followed His Legs and Kept on Walking and Blair Thomson has recently finished a stint in the new show Celtic – The Musical. 

Dr Donna Soto-Morettini, senior lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “We’re incredibly proud of all our graduates and it’s great to see such a high level of student success permeate throughout the summer. From sold out Fringe shows to Rory landing his role in Hollyoaks and others touring the country in various plays and musicals, it’s been a great run for our graduates.

“When we launched this course, we hoped to prove that we could train actors to industry standard, and it’s great to see the industry responding to our work. We like to think that our course is a great foundation for all kinds of careers in the entertainment industry, as well as in education. Every student success helps all of us, and we hope the university will join us in celebrating their achievements.”

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