Ashley Dowds is a South African actor, television presenter and director best known as a continuity presenter for SABC3, and for co-presenting the reality travel show Going Nowhere Slowly, also on SABC3. He is also known for his role as advertising executive Andrew McBain on the e.tv soapie Scandal!, since the show began in January 2005.
Born and raised in Durban, Dowds graduated from the University of Natal with a BA in English, Zulu and Drama. He followed this up with an Honours degree in Drama. Early on in his career he was a company member with Durban’s Natal Playhouse.
In the early 1990s he taught speech and drama while working at the Playhouse, and began working for radio station SAFM. In 1999 he joined SABC3 as a continuity presenter, which greatly increased his public profile. He left in 2003 and was replaced by Graeme Richards.
He also presented the lifestyle show Life.Style.Matters, the reality competition Sanlam Money Game and the reality travelogue Going Nowhere Slowly, also for SABC3. The popularity of Going Nowhere Slowly inspired him to write and publish a journal documenting the second season, called Red Car Diaries. The 192-page “armchair read” was published by Struik Publishers in January 2006.
In 2002 he began playing the starring role of Roger Schickler in the children’s drama series Scout’s Safari, which aired in the USA on NBC and Discovery Kids, from 2002-2004. Ashley appeared in all 25 episodes, over two seasons. He was cast as one of the lead characters, advertising executive Andrew McBain in the e.tv soapie Scandal!, which premiered on 10 January, 2005. He continues to play the role today.
Other television characters he has played include Paul in e.tv’s Jozi Streets, Jason Rose in Deafinitions (e.tv), Rick Fletcher in Reignbows (e.tv), ad executive John in SABC1’s Generations, Dr. Incredible in What’s Hot (M-Net) and a policeman in Khululeka, a dramedy created by Penguin Films and aired on SABC1 which aimed to educate voters ahead of the 1994 and 2004 general elections.
From May to July, 2008, he played the role of Deon Pienaar in the SABC1 drama series Sokhulu & Partners. Dowds also has an extensive theatre resume, performing in plays such as The Three Musketeers, Peter Pan, Fiddler on the Roof, Old Boys, Mousetrap, Japes and Blue/Orange.
He also does voiceover and narration work for documentaries, corporate videos, television and radio commercials, animation and dubbing work, and magazine shows. He has appeared in numerous television commercials as well, for brands such as Standard Bank, World Cup Cricket, Vodaworld and Castle Lager.
Education remains a passion and has seen him work with NGOs in Sweden and Norway under the umbrella of Drama in Education. Ashley is married and has two sons, Connor and Garion.