Jason Donovan- who is he?
his big break in the Australian TV soap Neighbours, Jason Donovan
has become a household name. The talented and versatile performer
has experienced international success as an actor and singer,
combining the two to extend that success to the stage. He has come a
long way from his early Australian upbringing.
Childhood and schooling
Jason Donovan was born in June 1968 in Malvern, Australia. His
father Terence was an actor, while his mother Sue was a newscaster,
though sadly they were to split while Jason was still young. His
father was to get custody and became the major influence on a young
Jason, often having his son with him on sets. However, away from the
acting world, Terence Donovan wanted to make sure his son received a
good education. This seems to have been appreciated by Jason, who
initially turned down a role in Neighbours to play the part of Danny
in order to finish his education. These early years had already
given a hint to musical interests too, with Jason joining the
Australian choir aged 5, and also taking piano lessons.
Neighbours – the big break.
In 1985 Grundy Television asked Jason Donovan to audition again for
Neighbours, this time for the part of Scott. Playing alongside Kylie
Minogue's Charlene, this was to prove his big break in to the show
business world. Their TV romance, concluding in a wedding watched by
millions, cemented his place as a household name. Yet this was not
his first outing alongside Kylie Minogue, both having been in Jason
Donovan's first TV appearance, when he was aged, 11 in the
Australian series Skyways in 1980. In 1987 he picked up the Logies
award for best new talent, before leaving Neighbours in 1989.
Music – the pop scene
Jason Donovan had already branched out to music while still in
Neighbours. He originally signed for Mushroom records in Australia
and PWL in the UK. His first single, “Nothing can divide us”, was
released in 1985 and reached number 5 in the UK charts and was the
first of many collaborations with Stock Aitken Waterman. In December
of the same year he followed this up with the duet with Kylie
Minogue that is still arguably the song people associate with him
most. “Especially for you” was to stay in the charts for 14 weeks,
and hit the top spot in January 1988.
“Too many broken hearts” was to become Jason Donovan's first solo
number 1 in 1989. This was off the debut album “Ten Good Reasons”,
which also went to number 1 in the UK. Two more albums were released
in the following years, before a hiatus of 15 years, when he
returned with the album “Let It Be Me” in 2008. Although not
repeating the success of that first album, they have all still
featured well in the charts.
On to the stage
June 1991 was to see Jason Donovan make his West End debut in the
lead role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. It was a
box office sell-out at the London Palladium and was also to bring
him his second solo number 1 hit with the iconic song “Any Dream
Will Do.” In 1998 he starred in The Rocky Horror Show, before
returning to the Palladium in 2004 in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. 2006
saw him star in Sweeney Todd and then in 2009 it was on to the
Palace Theatre to play Tick in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, a
role he was to re-visit in 2013.
Away from the screen and the stage, Jason Donovan has had personal
issues to face like anyone else. During the mid 1990s, after
finishing his final appearances as Joseph, he had issues with drug
use, though this was said to be over by the time his first child was
born in 2000.
Before that, in 1992, he had taken out a lawsuit against The Face
magazine after it had printed allegations that he was homosexual.
Although winning the case, there was a backlash as he was accused by
some of being homophobic, though he insisted that the libel action
was only about the right to privacy.
During his time in the Rocky Horror Show in 1998, Jason Donovan met
Angela Malloch, a stage manager. The couple have two children, and
were married in Bali in 2008.
A return to the screen
After going in to the jungle for the 2006 I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out
Of Here show, Jason Donovan starred in Echo Beach, though this was
only to run for 12 episodes. Appearances in a variety of other TV
shows followed, including Who Do You Think You Are, Strictly Come
Dancing and Casualty. 2012 saw him take part in a very candid
interview as part of Piers Morgan's Life Stories. Unfortunately for
all the masses of Neighbours fans any prospects of a return seem off
the cards, even as part of the show's 30th anniversary celebrations,
although he was to take part in a documentary special.
Most recently those wishing to listen to the voice of Jason Donovan
will have been tuning in to Heart Radio on Sunday night, where he
has been presenting the All 80's show.