EVER since he caused hearts in both hemispheres to flutter Jason Donovan has been redefining himself.
With Neighbours last year chalking up its 6,000th episode, the actor and singer admits he still gets the call to go back, but is too far down the line.
“I’ve been asked on numerous occasions,” he confirms. “I’ve done that period in my life and I’m proud of that but it’s time to move on and do other things.”
And move on he has. Since blond surf type Scott Robinson took Sharleen – aka a young, demure Kylie Minogue – up the aisle in the mid ’80s, Jason has lit up the pop charts, led West End hit musicals and become a dedicated dad.
So with his career rarely straying far from performing music, he says he didn’t hesitate signing up for his first Here & Now tour of era-defining ’80s artists on its 10th anniversary.
Not least since he released an album late last year mostly filled with covers of his favourite tunes from a period often remembered for big hair, big make-up and even bigger mobile phones.
“Because I did this ’80s record it fits the package really,” says Jason.
“I like to do my own tours but you’ve got to take responsibility for everything – and that can be quite lonely.
“This is a nice way of just getting up on stage, enjoying the night and spending some time with people other than myself.”
It may come as a surprise to many but Jason has sold a respectable 13 million albums while mixing acting with singing and winning over critics with West End stints in Technicolour Dreamcoat and the musical adaptation of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert.
It was during the 18-month run of the latter that Jason, now a dad of three, recorded his album Soundtrack Of The ’80s.
He is happy to admit the decade sometimes gets a hard time for its music, but having given his take on songs such as Tears For Fears’ Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Cutting Crew’s (I Just) Died In Your Arms, an acoustic version of Terence Trent D’Arby’s Sign Your Name and Danny Wilson’s Mary’s Prayer, the Aussie says it wasn’t tough finding songs that ‘mattered’.
“MTV was happening and Dynasty, New Romantics and make-up. Grunge was a reaction against it in the ’90s,” he says.
“I know that period backwards and I think my fanbase does. It was difficult to know what not to put on the record because there’s a whole bunch of songs.
“Music has an emotional connection with people. It puts you in a time and a place that no other medium can and these songs remind me of periods in my life, some good, some emotional.
“So we stayed pretty true to them. When they’re so good in their original form why would you not want to?
“I’m not a vocal gymnast, I’m a pretty simple singer. I’m not overtly complicated in what I do, but I sing with an emotion.
“We did a ’50s and ’60s record before; that was successful but I don’t know if it connected with my audience as much as this one.”
Jason was last at the Motorpoint Arena in late 2010 playing the Artilleryman in Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of War Of The Worlds.
“It was an interesting character, which is what I begin with when I look at work. It was a short tour, 20 or 30 shows, as opposed to a year and a half in a West End show.
“I didn’t know too much about it but it’s got an unmistakable sound to it.”
Jason is back on Broughton Lane on June 30 on the Here & Now 10th anniversary tour when he joins the likes of Midge Ure, Boy George, Belinda Carlisle and Jimmy Somerville.