Sam isn’t like other 15-year-olds – he’s try­ing to bal­ance falling in love and his urge to mur­der in thriller minis­eries Born To Kill.

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Born To Kill Sea­son 1 Wed­nes­days (from 2 August) BBC First (*119) 20:00

“From the out­side, Sam is a nor­mal kid – he goes to school, he’s a good swim­mer and the girls like him. But there is a lot go­ing on in his mind,” teases 20-year-old Jack Rowan, the lead star of four-episode drama show Born To Kill (2017). “A lot” in­cludes falling for the town’s new­comer Chrissy (Lara Peake) while hid­ing his killing crimes. “This char­ac­ter Sam does nasty, hor­ri­ble things. He lies. He ma­nip­u­lates. He is all fak­e­ness, all day,” teases Jack.


Sam is the kid next door you’d never ex­pect to be a mur­derer. “And that is what makes him good at it,” says the ac­tor. “I watched hours of video­tapes of real and fic­tional killers and some of the doc­u­men­taries blew me away.” Sam isn’t your reg­u­lar killer ei­ther, like Nor­man Bates (Fred­die High­more) in Bates Mo­tel (2013-2017) – they’re about the same age, are as piti­ful as they are psy­chotic and have sim­i­lar trig­gers. “At some points, you feel sorry for him in spite of the things he does,” says Jack. And it has a lot to do with his home…


Sam never knew his dad. His nurse mom Jenny (Ro­mola Garai) told him that his fa­ther died as a hero soldier – he’s re­ally in pri­son and about to be paroled, but “his mum’s been the only per­son there for him,” says Jack. “There are mo­ments where their bond is nor­mal, but as the story goes on, it turns toxic.” Without know­ing it, it’s Jenny who gives Sam the perfect train­ing ground: a hos­pi­tal where peo­ple die daily and no one sus­pect’s a killer’s “help­ing” hand.


Sam’s killer calm­ness is un­set­tling but isn’t sur­pris­ing. The show was cre­ated by Tracey Malone, who wrote thriller Rilling­ton Place (2016) about real-life killer Reg Christie (played by Tim Roth). And Jack loved his role too – “This is what peo­ple want. It’d be pretty bor­ing if ev­ery­thing was a ro­man­tic com­edy. I love shows that are dif­fer­ent and treats the sub­ject mat­ter se­ri­ously.”

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Chrissy (inset) comes be­tween Sam and his mom Jenny. THE BIG TIME Jack has only been act­ing for three years and Born To Kill is his first lead role – his only other “big” role was play­ing Brinni in 12-episode drama Be­owulf: Re­turn To The Shield­lands in 2016.

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