Jason Donovan

Jason Sean Donovan (born 1 June 1968) is an Australian actor and singer. He initially achieved fame in the Australian soap Neighbours, playing Scott Robinson, before beginning a career in music in 1988. In the UK he has sold over 3 million records. His debut album Ten Good Reasons was the highest-selling album in the UK in 1989, with sales of over 1.5 million. He has had four UK No. 1 singles, one of which was "Especially for You", his 1988 duet with fellow Neighbours co-star Kylie Minogue. He has also appeared in several stage musicals, most prominently in the lead role of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in the early 1990s.

Jason Donovan
Jason Donovan Here and Now Tour 2011 429 v2.jpg
Donovan performing at the Here and Now Tour in 2011
Born (1968-06-01) 1 June 1968 (age 54)
OccupationActor, singer
Years active1980–present
Television
Spouse
Angela Malloch
(m. 2008)
Children3
Parent(s)Terence Donovan (father)
Sue Menlove (mother)
RelativesStephanie McIntosh (half-sister)
Musical career
GenresPop
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar
Years active1988–present
Labels
Websitejasondonovan.com

Early lifeEdit

Jason Donovan was born on 1 June 1968 in the Melbourne suburb Malvern, Victoria. He is the son of Australian actress Sue McIntosh (née Menlove) and British-born veteran stage and television actor Terence Donovan (who also appeared in Neighbours) who has English and Irish heritage.[1][2] Following his parents' separation and divorce, his father was awarded full custody of him in 1973 and brought him up on his own.[3] Donovan has had no contact with his mother since the divorce.[3] He attended De La Salle College Malvern.

CareerEdit

1980–1989: Television career and NeighboursEdit

Donovan made his first television appearance at age 11 in a guest role on the Australian series Skyways in 1980. In the episode, his on-screen sister was played by future Neighbours co-star Kylie Minogue. He also appeared in the series I Can Jump Puddles (1981) and Golden Pennies (1985) before entering the cast of Neighbours in 1986 as Scott Robinson (replacing actor Darius Perkins, who had played the role for the first year of the series). His character's story arcs included an onscreen romance and wedding to Charlene Mitchell (played by Minogue), and helped boost the show's popularity with British as well as Australian audiences.

He won his first Logie Award for "Best New Talent" in 1987 and received a commendation in the category "Performance by a Male Actor In a Series" from the Television Society of Australia's Penguin Awards. In 1988 he was awarded the Silver Logie for the "Most Popular Actor" on Australian television.[4]

In addition to his regular role in Neighbours, Donovan appeared as "Happy Houston" in the 1988 Australian World War II mini-series The Heroes, based on the historical novel by Ronald McKie. He won the 1990 Logie Award for "Most Popular Actor in a Mini-Series".[5]

Donovan left Neighbours in 1989. Twenty years later, he said that he had been asked to return to tie in with the show's 25th anniversary in 2010, but was unable to do so due to other work commitments.[6]

1988–1991: Pop careerEdit

While he was still appearing in Neighbours, Donovan followed Minogue (who had already left the series by this point) in signing a recording contract with Mushroom Records in Australia, and with PWL in the UK. Although the production team of Stock Aitken Waterman initially resisted working with Donovan, fearing recording with a second Neighbours star would be "too tacky", the trio quickly warmed to him, recording his first single, "Nothing Can Divide Us", after it was rejected by Rick Astley.[7] The track was released in 1988, reaching number five in the UK and number three in Australia.[7]

Donovan's next single was a duet with Minogue. "Especially for You" was released in December 1988, and after spending four weeks at No. 2 in the UK, it hit No. 1 in January 1989. It was the fourth-highest selling single in the UK in 1988, and 17th in Australia for 1989.

His next single, "Too Many Broken Hearts", reached number one in the UK in March 1989. He released his début album, Ten Good Reasons, in May 1989, which also reached number one (for three weeks). For two weeks, Donovan held the number one positions in the singles chart and the albums chart simultaneously, when his next single, a cover of Brian Hyland's "Sealed With a Kiss", entered the UK charts at number one.

In December 1989, he took part in Band Aid II's version of "Do They Know it's Christmas", which also included Minogue, whose exit from Neighbours had by now been shown on screen in both Australia and the UK. His own exit from the show had by this stage been shown on Australian television, although it was not aired on British television until several months later.

Donovan released his second album, Between The Lines, in May 1990, again produced by Stock Aitken Waterman. Although the album reached Platinum status in the UK, it was less successful than his debut a year before, peaking at no. 2 and selling only a fifth as many copies. Five singles were released from the album, and although they all reached the UK Top 30, they also signalled a decline in his popularity. Between 1988 and 1992, Donovan garnered 16 Top 40 hit singles in the UK.

He embarked on an extensive world tour in 1990, The "Doin' Fine Tour". It covered the UK, Ireland, mainland Europe, Australia, Singapore and other parts of South East Asia. The Dublin concert was recorded and released on VHS in 1990; and released on DVD in 2010.

Donovan continued to act alongside his pop career, and in 1990 he appeared in his first feature film, Blood Oath (released in some countries as Prisoners of the Sun).

1991–1993: Stage career and The Face lawsuitEdit

In 1991, Donovan accepted the lead role in the restaged London Palladium version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, directed by Steven Pimlott. Donovan had his third solo UK No. 1 single with one of its songs, "Any Dream Will Do". Donovan left the production in early 1992.

In 1992, Donovan launched a libel action against The Face magazine which had published allegations that he was homosexual. Donovan won £200,000 in damages and the magazine had to pay a further £100,000 in costs, but the lawsuit created a backlash with people accusing him of being homophobic.[8] Although he had been a mild drug user who had smoked cannabis joints up until this point, in the months after his libel action Donovan began using cocaine.[9] In a 2007 Marie Claire interview, and also in his 2007 autobiography Between The Lines: My Story Uncut, Donovan stated that suing The Face was the biggest mistake of his life.[9]

Donovan moved to Polydor Records and released his third album, All Around The World (1993). However, the album was unsuccessful, failing to reach the UK Top 20 and was not released at all in his native Australia. His contract with Polydor was not extended and it would be Donovan's last album for 15 years.

1995–1999: Drug addiction, The Last Bullet and continued musical workEdit

Donovan later admitted that by 1995 he had a serious drug problem, taking around three grams of cocaine a day. In early 1995, he attended model Kate Moss's 21st birthday party at The Viper Room in Los Angeles, where he suffered a drug overdose.[10]

Later in 1995, Donovan starred in the Australian TV film The Last Bullet[11] with Koji Tamaki, directed by Michael Pattison, which was set in World War II on the Pacific island of Borneo.

In 1998, Donovan took the lead role of Dr. Frank N. Furter in the UK touring production of The Rocky Horror Show, where he met stage manager Angela Malloch.[12] After the pair had a brief relationship, Malloch became pregnant and gave Donovan an ultimatum that he had to kick drugs once and for all if he wanted to be part of their child's life.[13]

In late 1999, Donovan stated that he still used cocaine, saying: "I still have a joint and I still take coke, but not as much as I did two years ago."[14] In 2011, he stated that he has been drug-free since 2000, the year his first child was born.[15]

2000–2005: Fatherhood, MDA and Sweeney Todd musicalEdit

Donovan's daughter Jemma was born in March 2000. Since then, with his drug problems now under control, he continued to act on stage and television, and had a role in the medical-legal television drama MDA (2003–05), on Australia's ABC network. Since 2003, Donovan has also lent his voice to the Buzz! series of quiz video games.

In late 2004, he was headlining in the stage musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium. He finished his original run on 13 March 2005, but was then invited back from June onwards to play in the final two months of the show, until its closure on 4 September 2005. Following this, he has toured the UK performing a few gigs and returned to the stage in January 2006 to star in a UK tour of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. After this, he returned to Melbourne to star in David Eldrige's Australian transfer of the London drama Festen.

2005–2006: Virgin Mobile phone controversy and participation in I'm a Celebrity...Edit

In 2005, Donovan's mobile phone number was circulated around the web in Australia, due to an image that was taken in Sydney. It appeared that Donovan was trying to sell his car, and unwittingly released his mobile phone number to the public. From 10 September, his answering machine had a special message on it, because he was frustrated by the number of calls he was receiving. Virgin placed advertisements in several high-profile Australian newspapers, urging people not to call Donovan, one of their customers.[16] Virgin Mobile later admitted the photos were part of a marketing ploy. Virgin also ran TV advertisements showing Donovan answering prank calls, asking the viewer not to call him, then displaying his number.

Donovan took part in I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! in 2006 and finished in 3rd place. While in the jungle, he became good friends with David Gest and Matt Willis. Donovan also took part in many Bushtucker Trials, which included wearing a helmet full of insects and playing a giant game of Operation. Donovan lost out on the King of the Jungle Crown to Matt Willis. Despite his loss, during an interview on The Steve Wright Show on BBC Radio 2 (January 2008), he claimed that his appearance on I'm a Celebrity... had revitalised his career.

2007–2009: Return to music career and soap operasEdit

 
Donovan at a 2007 book signing in Waterstones Bournemouth.

Donovan performed a medley of songs from Joseph along with other actors who have played the eponymous role (Donny Osmond and Lee Mead) at the Concert for Diana in July 2007.[17]

In early 2008, Donovan had a role in ITV's post-watershed soap opera Echo Beach; the series was cancelled after 12 episodes. He also presented Sunday Night with Jason Donovan, a programme on The One Network of British local radio stations.

On 25 September 2008, Donovan performed in the canteen at the head offices of Tesco in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. He was promoting his forthcoming album, Let It Be Me, which was released on 10 November 2008. The album, his first for 15 years, reached No. 28 in the UK.

Also in 2008, Donovan performed at the Party In The Park in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, storming off stage after hecklers squirted him with a water pistol.

In 2009, Donovan performed as Tick (Mitzi) in the London stage musical production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre. Also in 2009, Donovan began appearing in television commercials (with Kerry Katona and Coleen Nolan) for the frozen food supermarket chain Iceland in the UK.

2010–2013: Soundtrack of the 80s, Strictly Come Dancing and Sign of Your LoveEdit

In September 2010, Donovan took part in the BBC television series Who Do You Think You Are?, tracing his family tree back several generations. Donovan's fifth studio album, Soundtrack of the 80s, was released in October 2010. The album is composed of cover versions of well known 1980s hits such as "Drive" (The Cars), "I Just Died In Your Arms" (Cutting Crew) and "Sign Your Name" (Terence Trent D'Arby) and several others. The same year, Donovan played the role of The Artilleryman in the 2010–2011 stage show Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. The show toured the UK and Europe, starting in November 2010 and finished in Germany in January 2011.[citation needed] Donovan also voiced the part of Toby the Kangaroo in the environmental animated film Animals United.

In February 2011, Donovan appeared on the BBC series Ready, Steady, Cook. Later in 2011, he performed on the Here and Now Tour, and also toured in a production of The Sound of Music playing Captain Von Trapp. The production co-starred Verity Rushworth as Maria. From September 2011, Donovan took part in the ninth series of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing.[18] He was partnered with dancer Kristina Rihanoff and finished third in the competition. Donovan presented a voice-tracked radio show on Heart each Sunday from 10 am to 12 noon. Donovan temporarily left the station in 2013 [19]

In March 2012, Donovan released a new album of covers, Sign Of Your Love, which peaked at number 36 in the UK Albums Chart. In May 2012, Donovan was interviewed by Piers Morgan on the ITV series Piers Morgan's Life Stories, in which he talked openly about his career, his past, his former relationship with Kylie Minogue, and his battle with drugs. During the interview, Donovan also admitted that he'd undergone hair transplantation to counteract his thinning hair. In summer 2012, he appeared as a judge on ITV's talent search show Superstar. In late 2012, Donovan again toured the UK and Europe in a new version of Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, this time playing Parson Nathaniel.

In 2013, Donovan reprised his role as Tick/Mitzi in the UK national touring production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. On 5 May 2013, Donovan was heard narrating Pick TV's budget version of Rude Tube, entitled Video Surf. Donovan revealed in January 2015 that he was invited to return to Neighbours for the show's 30th anniversary celebrations, but he declined the offer, adding "it's just not something I want to do".[20] However, he agreed to take part in the documentary special Neighbours 30th: The Stars Reunite, which aired in Australia and the UK in March 2015.[21][22]

2015-2019: Radio, Tours and Joseph returnEdit

Since 2015, Donovan has presented Jason Donovan's 80s Rewind (known as All 80s from 2015 to 2017) on Heart Radio, which airs on Sunday evenings from 7 pm until 10 pm.

In 2016, Donovan toured the UK with his Ten Good Reasons and Greatest Hits Tour.

In 2017, Heart 80s Radio was launched and he began presenting Sunday Mornings from 9 am to 12 noon in addition to his 80s Rewind Sunday Evening Show on Heart. In December 2017 it was announced that in the new year Donovan would be taking his second break from his radio shows. He has confirmed he will be returning to Heart at some point in the future.

In summer 2019, Donovan returned to the London Palladium in a new production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, this time playing the Pharaoh alongside Sheridan Smith as the Narrator and Jac Yarrow as Joseph. The production was due to return for summer 2020 with Donovan and Yarrow returning, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the production has been postponed to summer 2021.

2020-present: Dancing on Ice and Neighbours finaleEdit

For Christmas 2020, Donovan was due to make his pantomime debut as The Evil Ringmaster in Goldilocks and the Three Bears at the Birmingham Hippodrome, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic the panto was postponed to Christmas 2021.

In 2021, Donavan competed in the thirteenth series of Dancing on Ice, paired with Alexandra Schauman. However, he withdrew from the competition in week 6 due to a back injury.[23]

In July 2022, Donovan returned as Scott to Neighbours for a one-off cameo appearance (alongside Kylie Minogue as Charlene) for the show's final ever episode.[24][25]

Personal lifeEdit

Donovan is married to Angela Malloch, with whom he has three children.[26] They live in West London and Oxfordshire.[27] Donovan's half-sister is former Neighbours star Stephanie McIntosh.[28] Although he is estranged from his mother, he is close with his maternal grandmother and other relatives.[29]

Donovan was the subject of an episode of the BBC TV series Who Do You Think You Are? on 30 August 2010 in which he discovered he is a descendant of the pioneer William Cox, who built the first road across Australia's Blue Mountains in 1814. Donovan confirmed he is Jewish through his maternal great-grandmother, Eileen Dawson (née Lyons).[29]

DiscographyEdit

FilmographyEdit

Jason Donovan filmography
Year Title Format Role
1980 Skyways TV series Robin's Brother & Trevor Kirk
1981 I Can Jump Puddles TV movie Freddy
1983 Home TV series Unknown
1985 Golden Pennies TV series Sean
1986–1989, 2022 Neighbours TV series Scott Robinson
1989 The Heroes TV mini-series Happy Huston
1990 Prisoners of the Sun Film Private Talbot
1990 Shadows of the Heart TV movie Alex Fargo
1991 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat TV special Joseph
1993 Galleria Short film Duane
1995 The Last Bullet TV movie Stanley Brennan
1995 Rough Diamonds Film Mike Tyrell
1996 The Sun, the Moon and the Stars Film Pat
2000 Sorted Film Martin
2002 Tempe Tip Film Max
2003 Horseplay Film Henry
2003 Ned Film Father Thompson
2002–2003 MDA TV series Richard Savage
2004 Loot TV movie Jon Peregrine
2005—2010 Buzz! Video game series Buzz
2005 Vietcong 2 Video game Australian Officer
2008 Echo Beach TV series Daniel Marrack
2010 Animals United Film Toby (voice)
2011 Evil Calls (The Legend of Harrow Woods) Video film Gary
2011 Back2Hell Video film Gary
2012 PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Video game Buzz
2014 Boj TV series for CBeebies Pops (voice)
2014 Watch Dogs - The Suspect Man Mission: Big Brother
2019 Dial M for Middlesbrough TV series Darren
2021 Not Going Out TV series Prince Charming
Jason Donovan stage roles
Year Title Format Role
1992 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat London Palladium Joseph
1998 The Rocky Horror Show UK tour Frank-N-Furter
2005 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang London Palladium Caractacus Potts
2006 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street UK tour Sweeney Todd
2009 Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Palace Theatre, London Mitzi (aka "Tick")
2010 Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds UK arena tour The Artilleryman
2011 The Sound of Music UK tour Captain von Trapp
2012 Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds UK arena tour Parson Nathaniel
2013 Priscilla, Queen of the Desert UK tour Mitzi (aka "Tick")
2014 Annie Get Your Gun UK tour Frank Butler
2014 Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds UK arena tour Parson Nathaniel
2015 The King's Speech Chichester Festival Theatre, Birmingham Repertory Theatre and UK tour Lionel Logue
2015 Priscilla, Queen of the Desert UK tour Mitzi (aka "Tick")
2016 Million Dollar Quartet UK tour Sam Phillips
2019 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat London Palladium Pharaoh
2019 Chicago Arts Centre Melbourne Billy Flynn
2021 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat London Palladium Pharaoh
2021 Goldilocks and the Three Bears Birmingham Hippodrome The Evil Ringmaster
2022 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat UK tour Pharaoh
2022 Grease Dominion Theatre, London Teen Angel
2022 Goldilocks and the Three Bears Mayflower Theatre, Southampton The Evil Ringmaster

AwardsEdit

Mo AwardsEdit

The Australian Entertainment Mo Awards (commonly known informally as the Mo Awards), were annual Australian entertainment industry awards. They recognise achievements in live entertainment in Australia from 1975 to 2016. Jason Donovan won one award in that time.[30]

Year Nominee / work Award Result (wins only)
1991 Jason Donovan Australian Showbusiness Ambassador Won

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Whitney, Hilary (14 November 2009). "Jason Donovan: my family values". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  2. ^ McLean, Craig (4 March 2012). "The only way is up: The rise and fall (and fall and rise) of Jason Donovan". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b Piers Morgan's Life Stories
  4. ^ "All Down Under: 1988 Logie Awards".
  5. ^ "1990 – The Logie Awards". Yahoo!7. Archived from the original on 17 April 2014.
  6. ^ "'Neighbours' asked Jason Donovan to return - Neighbours News - Soaps". Digital Spy. 10 November 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  7. ^ a b "A Journey Through Stock Aitken Waterman: Ep 36: The Loco-Motion to Turn It Into Love on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  8. ^ "Jason's technicolour life". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  9. ^ a b Donovan, Jason – "Between The Lines: My Story Uncut" (2007) HarperCollins Publishing (ISBN 978-0007261475)
  10. ^ De-Burca, Demelza (21 February 2017). "Jason Donovan visited U2's Dublin studio on a wild coke binge". Irishmirror.ie.
  11. ^ "The Last Bullet (TV Movie 1995)". IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Jason Donovan's killer coke habit". The Sydney Morning Herald. 28 September 2007.
  13. ^ "Jason Donovan 'loved being on cocaine' when he was younger". 30 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Donovan admits drugs habit". BBC News. 18 February 1999. Retrieved 29 July 2007.
  15. ^ "TV mirrors life for Jason Donovan". Couriermail.com.au. 19 December 2011.
  16. ^ "Virgin Mobile notice". Members.iinet.net.au. 6 June 2014.
  17. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber medley, featuring". concertfordiana.com. Archived from the original on 12 August 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2007.
  18. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing signs up Lulu and Edwina Currie". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 6 September 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  19. ^ "Heart". Heart.co.uk.
  20. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (5 January 2015). "Jason Donovan: 'Neighbours return is not something I want to do'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  21. ^ Knox, David (28 February 2015). "Airdate: Neighbours 30th: The Stars Reunite". TV Tonight. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  22. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (4 March 2015). "Neighbours 30th anniversary schedule confirmed by Channel 5". Digital Spy. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  23. ^ "Dancing on Ice: Jason Donovan quits after injury 'Completely gutted'". Daily Express. 22 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  24. ^ Murray, Tom (29 July 2022). "Kylie Minogue says a 'heartfelt' email from Jason Donovan convinced her to return for the Neighbours finale". The Independent. Retrieved 29 July 2022.
  25. ^ Spackman, Maisie (29 July 2022). "Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan reveal all on final Neighbours episode". Metro. Retrieved 29 July 2022.
  26. ^ Strong, Gemma (9 April 2018). "Jason Donovan makes rare public appearance with his teenage children". Hello!. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  27. ^ "Jason Donovan: Notting Hill & Neighbours Rumours". The Resident. 22 September 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  28. ^ Hughes, Jonathon (18 March 2020). "Neighbours 35th anniversary: Stephanie McIntosh on working with real-life niece Jemma Donovan". Radio Times. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  29. ^ a b "Jason Donovan". Who Do You Think You Are?. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  30. ^ "MO Award Winners". Mo Awards. Retrieved 16 March 2022.

External linksEdit