Jason Donovan: "Kylie and I were robbed of Christmas number one by Cliff Richard!"

7 December 2023, 18:47

Jason Donovan speaks to Smooth
Jason Donovan speaks to Smooth. Picture: Smooth/Global

By Tom Eames

Jason Donovan has achieved many amazing things throughout his 40+ year career.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The Australian entertainer burst onto the scene playing Scott Robinson in the hit soap Neighbours, and soon after became a bonafide pop icon around the world.

Alongside Kylie Minogue, Jason scored many massive hits in the late '80s and early '90s, and has since gone on to become a successful star on stage and screen.

In 2025, Jason is returning to the UK for an epic Doin' Fine 25 tour, where he'll be playing his biggest hits, following a year back home in Oz starring in The Rocky Horror Show.

Jason caught up with Smooth's Kirsty Gallacher about the tour and his career, and you can watch the full interview above or on Global Player here.

Jason spoke about his iconic Kylie duet 'Especially for You', which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.

He jokingly lamented the fact that they were kept off the Christmas number one spot by Sir Cliff Richard with his festive hit 'Mistletoe and Wine' in 1988.

Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan - Especially For You (Official HD Video)

Speaking about making the song, Jason said: "It was 24 hours and it was done in Sydney. Kylie was well and truly [massive]. Her first album was a big success in 1988. I was trying to grab a little piece of that!

"And the demand for our moment together was so huge that Pete Waterman said, 'look, this has got to happen'. I think they resisted initially, but if you think about what happened then was you have two characters on a television show with an audience of 24 million people, and you have the greatest producers of their time, English producers, making records that suited the audience that the Neighbours' audience.

"So it was the perfect storm. And I think it was released before Christmas. The idea was to have a Christmas number one, but good old Cliff..."

He added: "I mean that with love. Cliff came along with 'Mistletoe and Wine'. Geez, he would have thought that one? But the good news that even Cliff would probably know is that because it wasn't a Christmas single, we were pipped to the post on the Christmas number one. But the next week we went back to number one.

Kylie Minogue And Jason Donovan
Kylie Minogue And Jason Donovan. Picture: Getty

"We stayed there for about three or four weeks after Cliff. His used by date was on Boxing Day! His mistletoe had disappeared and gone into the recycle bin."

Jason also spoke about his and Kylie's return to Neighbours for its 'finale', before Amazon brought it back in 2023.

"I think it sort of meant a lot more to the audience [to me], probably, and I'm not trying to downplay it, but it was half a day and, of course, it was a wonderful moment to celebrate 36 years of that show.

"But a lot has passed and I'm certainly not, nor is Kylie, certainly not hanging on to it. No, but we both recognise the value of it. I think an email exchange went around and we sort of know if ever there was a time to pay respect to that time and what Neighbours did for not just Australian television, but Australia as a whole.

"Because probably up until Neighbours, the world thought of Australia as these sort of Crocodile Dundee type of characters. And what Neighbours did was brought suburban life to the rest of the world.

"And it changed my life and it changed Kylie's and it changed Guy's and it changed Margot Robbie's. I think once a few of us got on board, then the whole ball started rolling. I guess we didn't anticipate such a quick reboot, didn't anticipate Amazon's coming from behind!"

Tickets for Jason Donovan's Doin' Fine 25 tour are on sale now from here.