CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Sussex Life today CLICK HERE

Jason Donovan on his role in The King’s Speech, looking forward to a Chichester visit and what inspires him

PUBLISHED: 11:57 26 January 2015 | UPDATED: 11:57 26 January 2015

Jason Donovan (Lionel Logue) and Raymond Coulthard (King George VI)

Jason Donovan (Lionel Logue) and Raymond Coulthard (King George VI)


Alice Cooke caught up with Jason Donovan ahead of his latest role in The King’s Speech, which begins its run in Chichester this month

While many former stars of stage and screen spend their winters gaily treading the boards in pantomimes up and down the country, former soap star Jason Donovan is preparing to take on the role of Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue in The King’s Speech, a touring production which will begin its run at the Chichester Festival Theatre on 5 February.

In the story, familiar to many due to the 2010 film, Lionel Logue is the speech therapist assigned to treat King George VI’s speech impediment before he addresses the empire as war looms. The king will be played by Raymond Coulthard, best known for his roles in television’s Hotel Babylon and Mr Selfridge.

Of his time in Sussex this month, Jason says that “all stage actors seem to really look forward to coming to Chichester, so I can’t wait to come and explore.” He goes on to say that “I feel like I’m going to be comfortable in Sussex, as it looks like a fantastic place.”

He won’t get much time out between performing and rehearsing, but Jason says that “getting the opportunity to wander around each day and see what’s what is something that I really look forward to.”

In terms of acting and life in general, Jason says that he is inspired every day by “great artists, great songs and my family. I love music, and I never fail to be amazed by what it can do to you – your mood, your way of thinking, who you are.”

The film of The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, became the most successful independent British production ever at the UK box office, and went on to earn £250m worldwide as well as major Oscars for best picture, best actor and best director. But how do you approach a role that has already been so famously well-played? “It’s a very well-known piece of history and the film was great,” says Jason. “I saw it once, but I’ve got a pretty good idea of what the character is all about anyway – I won’t study Geoffrey Rush’s performance, as I think painting my own picture is what it’s all about. I’m a great believer in the notion that well-written words make for well-portrayed characters, and the words in this instance are fantastic.”

Of playing an Australian he jokingly says, “finally I won’t get criticised for my accent, which is a huge relief!”

Jason has a long history of performing on stage, with lead roles in West End musicals including Sweeney Todd and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; he donned drag for a 2009 production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, before putting his dancing shoes on for Strictly Come Dancing in 2011, where he came third.

Of the things that make him smile, he says that there’s nothing better than “a good bottle of red with a nice lunch. A really good holiday isn’t bad either.” And of course there’s his family, who he says make him who he is: “my life’s ambition is to be a good dad and husband, to eat well and to live well.”

Jason is the first to admit that not everything has gone to plan, and that looking back there are definitely things he would have done differently. “It was a well-documented period of my life when I went off the rails a bit and became a bit selfish, but I don’t regret it because I am the person that I am now as a result of the things that I have done.”

The King’s Speech comes to Chichester on 5 February. 01243 781312;



Sussex celebrities and personalities share what they love most about the county - Some of Sussex’s best known personalities have revealed in the magazine what they most love about the county. Here, we compile their stories, favourite restaurants, pubs, shops, views and places to visit.

Gruffalo creator Julia Donaldson on life in Steyning, helping others and inspiring a generation - Julia Donaldson is beloved by millions of children as the creator of the Gruffalo. The book, published in 1999, has been translated into 50 languages and has inspired a feature film and a whole host of merchandise. Now Julia is back in West Sussex, and inspiring another generation of children.

Lee Child on life in East Sussex, helping vulnerable animals in Ringmer and how Jack Reacher is partly autobiographical - His books weave tales of crime, mystery and intrigue, but author Lee Child is happiest when walking in the Sussex countryside.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sussex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sussex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sussex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Yesterday, 12:33

This year marks the bicentenary of Mary Shelley’s horror novel Frankenstein. Amanda Hodges explores its Sussex connections

Read more
Yesterday, 12:32

As giant snails take over Brighton and Hove between September and November 2018, Sally Turner speaks to an artist behind two distinctive snail designs about what inspired her creations

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Former Shoreham Labour candidate Sophie Cook discusses being the first transgender person to work in the Premier League, transitioning and her vision for the county

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Community groups and good causes across Brighton and Hove are being invited to bid for grants to put pride in our city

Read more
Monday, October 29, 2018

Some of Sussex’s best known personalities have revealed in the magazine what they most love about the county. Here, we compile their stories, favourite restaurants, pubs, shops, views and places to visit

Read more
Monday, October 22, 2018

Pagham Harbour has inspired photographer Richard Dunkley for 20 years. Ahead of a charity event he introduces his favourite shots

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

Brighton’s The Chilli Pickle is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Co-founder Alun Sperring talks about his passions

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search