This week, we interviewed the legendary Australian actor and singer Jason Donovan on life as a busy working dad. Jason initially achieved fame in popular soap Neighbours, before beginning a career in music, selling over 3 million records alone in the UK. Jason lives with his wife and three children in Oxfordshire.
You began your acting career aged 11, what inspired you to join the world of showbiz, and what was it like being famous at such a young age?
My father was a actor and my parents split when I was young, so I spent most of my childhood on TV sets waiting for my dad to finish work – I guess this is where my ambition and desire to be an actor began. I was always realistic about the prospect of becoming a professional actor as most of my father’s friends were very cautious about the business …
I quickly fell In love with the craft at an early age and continue to be challenged to this day.
For me, fame and what happened after Neighbours has been a been a bi-product and sometimes a distraction for my passion for performing.
You played half of soap’s most legendary couple of all time, Scott and Charlene in Neighbours, and your on-screen son Daniel Robinson has just made his debut in the show. How did it feel when you heard the news that the Robinson family lives on, and would you ever make another appearance on the show?
I think it’s great that Neighbours continues to create wonderful opportunities for many Australians (actors writers directors) and that it continues to entertain so many people across the world… I feel privileged to have been part of its story.
Long live the Robinson’s and more importantly, Daniel Robinson ‘rocks’!
Your real-life dad Terence Donovan has just re-joined the cast of Neighbours. Are you watching the show to see him in action?
Unfortunately I haven’t as yet seen dad in the series but he continues to remind me of when he’s on air. I will catch it at some point. I have a lot of respect for my father and he is where my story began. He’s a fine actor and I’m sure his performance in Neighbours is inspiring.
What’s your favourite family dish?
My wife always cooks a great Sunday roast and we love our Asian food.
How does family life in the UK compare with that in Australia?
Very different. In the UK you live to work and in Australia you work to live. The climate plays a challenge in this country but I do love my seasons. You can’t beat summer in the English countryside. I miss my salt water beaches, my friends, family, food and great coffee (anywhere) in Oz. We visit Australia every few years to get the Southern Hemisphere fix, but we’re always happy to come back to the UK. I can see myself spending more time in Oz when the kids finish school, it’s such a long way away.
You are the voice of new animation BOJ for CBeebies, tell us a bit about this and what attracted you to the project?
I was asked whether I’d be interested, I enjoy animation and the challenges it brings. I also have a 3 year old, so I thought that it would be really cool to be involved in something like this. BOJ is a great series with some really cool story lines, and some great songs provided by Micke from Belle And Sebastian
What’s the one children’s product you couldn’t have lived with out?
My push bike.
Do your children have any desire to follow into your footsteps into showbiz?
I think so, but I’ve told them that their education is the most important thing. As long as they are passionate about whatever they do in their lives I will be supportive. Ultimately it’s about making choices and being happy. I believe you create your own luck.
What’s in the pipeline for you next?
After ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ I’m doing ‘War Of the Worlds’. After that who knows? That’s Show business. Maybe some family time after a few years of touring.