Shropshire Star

Dreams come true for Jason Dovovan

“You create your own luck in life, I’m very much of that belief,” says Jason Donovan.

Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan perform during the Hit Factory Live Christmas Cracker concert.

The Australian actor and singer recognises he has definitely had a good dose of fortune throughout his 35-year career in the entertainment industry, but he feels his work ethic has spurred him along.

Born to Australian actress Sue McIntosh and British-born stage and TV actor Terence Donovan, he was aged nine when he took on his first professional acting role.

His major break into stardom came after he landed a role as Scott Robinson alongside Kylie Minogue’s Charlene Mitchell in the long-running Australian soap Neighbours, making his first appearance in 1986.

He later followed Minogue into the pop world and worked with her producers, the acclaimed Stock, Aitken and Waterman.

With them he released his debut single Nothing Can Divide Us in 1988, which soared through the charts Down Under and in the UK.

His second track, Especially For You, was a collaboration with Minogue, which secured him his first UK number one.

They both appeared on his chart-topping album Ten Good Reasons, which was supported by his 1990 Doin’ Fine Tour.

“I landed in a TV series which gave me leverage,” Donovan, 55, tells me as he reflects on being propelled into the spotlight.

“I’ve always been passionate about acting and entertainment, through my parents and my dad, particularly, so it’s not really by coincidence.

“But timing in life is everything and the timing for me back in those days couldn’t have been better and I embraced it and I worked my ass off, and I took some risks.

“I mean, some people might say jumping in the bed with Stock Aitken Waterman wasn’t really a risk, but a lot of people told me not to take up music at all.

“A lot of people when they heard some of my vocals thought maybe I shouldn’t take up music ever.

“But that changes as one gets older and one works harder at focusing in on stuff, and I think that’s why people have stayed with me.

“It’s not really how you start, it’s how you progress and you grow.”

Donovan,who will be performing at Let’s Rock Shrewsbury on July 13, followed up his success with five more albums and branched out further into the world of theatre. Within his career, he has starred in a West End run of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert and a touring production of The Rocky Horror Show, but he is arguably best known for his time playing the titular role in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

He feels these roles helped show that he was an artist that was “willing to try some good stuff and keep working at it”.

However, amongst the brilliance of fame, he also struggled with his sudden rise initially.

“I’ll be honest, success came very young to me and I probably didn’t know how to deal with it,” he muses.

“I was down to earth but I didn’t know how to deal with it in my own head.”

He admits he went through a belated teenage rebellion in his 20s as he began to find everything “claustrophobic”.

“Most of my friends when I was 19 were putting surfboards on the top of their cars and heading up the coast and doing a number of things that, probably, we shouldn’t be talking about, but I didn’t really have those experiences,” he recalls.

“But in my mid 20s, I needed to go out and just be Jason Donovan and I did that quite successfully.

“But I realised the real value of life is not trying to be cool, it’s about your friends and your family and not going out to nightclubs, as much fun as it was.

“At my age, I feel very grateful for what I have, which is a lot of stability and a lot of knowledge and possibly even a bit of respect these days, which is quite nice.”

The entertainer says he passed on a few films over the years including an adaptation of Priscilla, but knows he had his reasons. Another one he felt was “a bit edgy” for his popstar image at the time.

“There was always a conflict as a pop artist in those days, but you’ve got to push the boundaries… and I just think sometimes I played it a bit safe sometimes,” he says before adding “but not all the time”.

These days, the father-of-three is more focused on putting his family first, which has only become heightened as he has gotten older.

“While my career might have been important for a while, I’m one of the lucky people to say that is quite solid in my life,” he says.

“But it’s my friends and family and my people that are the most important and the most vulnerable in the world that I live in.”

He has also gotten more concerned about his health and home, revealing that he can be “a bit OCD” at times.

The singer says he has not sat down to talk to someone about his obsessive compulsive disorder tendencies, which includes him loving to be clean and making sure his bed is made every morning.

“I double check the front door’s locked about 16 times before I go to bed, make sure that all the taps are not running and the stove is turned off – and that’s getting worse,” he adds.

However, this attitude means he does not procrastinate, which is probably one of the reasons he can still put on a tour across the UK.

His upcoming Doin’ Fine 25 tour, which will come 35 years after his first one, will take fans on a journey through his hits on stage and screen, accompanied by his live band.

Kicking off in February 2025, Donovan will visit cities including Birmingham, York, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London.

What does he have in store for fans? “Always a bit of theatrics,” he jokes.

“You never know, I might do a little bit of dancing – Jesus Christ.

“In those days I did do a little dance break, I think it was the Running Man, which at the time was very in fashion.

“Whether I’ll be capturing the spirit of the running man and skateboarding across the stage, I don’t know whether my insurance policy goes that far at 55.”

He is still exploring how he will approach the show, but so far he is keen to cast his mind back to the 1990s by looking at old footage and previous set-lists.

“I’ve got 35 years of work, theatre work, music,” he adds. “And I always try and bring my own personality to a show.”

In the future, he is open to writing a film and says “never say never” at the idea of collaborating with his former co-star Minogue again.

He also wants to start winding back, adding: “I want to not do as much work and I want to be content just having six months off and going ‘That’s cool, don’t need to stress, don’t worry about it’.”

Tickets for Jason Donovan’s tour Doin’ Fine 25 tour are out now.

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