Jason Donovan is trying to find Jesus. After a rollercoaster career, which has seen him fade from man-of-the-moment to tabloid fodder, then back again, the singer is now firmly fixed on a path of religion. OK, so it’s not as you might expect – the 43-year-old hasn’t discovered God or had a brush with faith – instead he’s been selected as a judge on a new Andrew Lloyd Webber talent show. So pretty much the next best thing. Starring alongside Spice Girl Mel C on Jesus Christ Superstar, Donovan will be looking for someone to play the lead role.

“Finding Jesus. That’s my line: ‘What have you been up to the last few days?’ I’ve been finding Jesus – but for us it’s going to take three months,” he laughs.

However, all jokes aside, being back on prime-time national TV is a career move some might call a miracle, given the turbulence the Aussie star has had to overcome.

Having started out in showbiz aged 11, Donovan hit the big time after starring as Scott Robinson in Neighbours, alongside Kylie Minogue, who became his on- and off-screen girlfriend. He left in 1989 to pursue a global pop career, playing sell-out concerts to screaming fans, selling millions of records worldwide as well as acting on the stage and in films.

And it was assumed he’d stay there, his name in lights. But, instead, his career and personal life hit the rocks. In 1992, Donovan sued The Face over an article suggesting he was gay. Despite winning £200,000 in damages, his reputation plummeted, with accusations of homophobia. By 1995, Donovan admitted to having a huge drugs problem, taking up to 2g of coke a day. It wasn’t until five years later, and the birth of his first child, the actor was drug-free.

But Donovan, now a father of three, says despite this downfall, he wouldn’t do things differently if he had the chance. “You tread the path that you tread in life and you can’t regret it,” he says.

“We all make mistakes along the way, but they’re the sort of things that make you grow, and if you can learn to live with those things, you’ll move forward. No life is perfect.”

Donovan is lucky enough to be talking from a privileged view, with the benefit of hindsight, as his career has certainly turned around. There was coming third on I’m A Celebrity, an album release after 15 years away from the studio with Let It Be Me, and a gig as a radio presenter on Heart. 

He describes it as a “little more dangerous“ than the scripted TV soaps he’s used to. And last year, Donovan wrapped up a stint on Strictly Come Dancing. His efforts, even by his own admission, were a significant improvement on the moves he displayed in the Nineties.

“There was a reason why people gave me a guitar back then – to balance out my disastrous dance routines. I think the wholeStrictly experience was an opportunity to face my fears in a way,” he explains.

“I’ve never been particularly well-versed with choreography, so I feel that it [dancing] wasn’t in my comfort zone – but I’m a relatively brave person. I like to try challenging things in my life.”

For challenging, one can also read ‘flamboyant’ – such as prancing around on Echo Beach, slipping into fishnet stockings and suspenders as Dr Frank N Furter in the The Rocky Horror Show, and as a hot pants, headpiece-wearing drag queen in the West End stage show Priscilla.

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Priscilla was an incredible experience for me, I did about 450 shows, and a lot of people were very surprised it
finished because they felt it was a show that was still entertaining many people.” Although Donovan says if he’s learned anything in life, it’s not to overdo it, adding he was pleased not to see the show ”dribble on”. He didn’t leave empty handed, though.

”I took home the giant flip-flop dress, and the shoes,” he admits. ”I always take costumes away from jobs I do as a memory, and one day I’m going to get them all framed.”

Donovan’s latest BBC TV slot comes on the back of the launch of his new album Sign Of Your Love, ”a Frank 
Sinatra tribute”, which includes swinging band covers such songs as Everytime We Say Goodbye, and They Can’t Take That Away From Me. He says: “The album certainly lies in my passion for a jazzier, more chilled-out, high-hat snare-type of sound. We’ve tried to keep the songs relative to the era I feel comfortable with and can sing.”

The album has definitely put Donovan back in the spotlight – with him even appearing on Piers Morgans Life Stories on Saturday night, where he admitted to having hada hair transplant. He’s also been lined-up to perform a one-off duet with Kylie, singing Especially For You [their 1988 hit] at London’s Hyde Park on July 11. 

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But fans shouldn’t get their hopes up too high – Donovan is a man looking ahead. ”I am very grateful for Too Many Broken Hearts [No1 in the UK in 1998] and Especially For You, but I don’t want to be doing that every year at Christmas. I’ve been there, and I’ll be doing again at some point in future, but there needs to be other things in my life – I’m too creative,” he says.

But while Donovan is prepared to harness his creative energy into most things, he draws the line at Eurovision, which he was asked to enter before Engelbert Humperdinck.

”That wasn’t a difficult decision,” he says. ”I’m not really wanting to take on that sort of pressure at this time – being under the microscope. I just don’t think there’s an opportunity for someone to go a long way with that competition.”

It remains to be seen whether Eurovision was a missed opportunity or not. However, given Donovan’s recent track record, more doors are bound to open – after he finds Jesus.

So far though, he is a man happy with his lot. ”I’m grateful for the fact I know what I want to do with my life. I’ve always known where I want to be, and while I’m not always necessarily there, I’m always working towards something that involves entertainment.” Hallelujah to that. 

Images via Getty