Downton Abbey actor Nigel Harman to play Simon Cowell role in The X Factor musical

The former EastEnder - who has experience in the West End - will take the lead in Harry Hill's new production I Can't Sing

He’s soon to appear in series four of Downton Abbey but Nigel Harman’s next gig will see him make a return to the West End stage. The former EastEnders actor has been cast in Harry Hill’s new X Factor musical, playing a role based on show creator Simon Cowell.


But will Harman be pulling on Cowell’s trademark low-buttoned shirts and high-waisted trousers and cutting his hair into a cube when the production premieres at the London Palladium next March? We’ll just have to wait and see. What we do know is that I Can’t Sing, written by Oliver Award-winning Sean Foley, will feature a plot based on the ITV entertainment show which is about to launch its tenth series. 

Holby City’s Alan Morrissey and Cynthia Erivo (The Colour Purple) will also appear in the show which is holding its official press launch on Monday 2 September, with Cowell due to attend. 

Aside from his television roles, Harman has carved a career out for himself on the stage, starring as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls at London’s Piccadilly Theatre before playing Lord Farquaad in Shrek the Musical at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane – a role that won him an Olivier Award, and is not necessarily that far removed from Cowell himself.

Harman’s next role will see him play a visiting valet named Mr Green in the fourth series of Downton Abbey, due to begin on ITV this autumn.