MDA: articles

Donovan back after 14 years

JASON Donovan had to be "pushed onto the plane" to return to Australia for his first major television role since he rose to fame in Neighbours.

Donovan, who has been based in the UK for the past 12 years, said the decision to accept a starring role opposite Kerry Armstrong in the new ABC drama series MDA was difficult.

But the newly focused 34-year-old, who battled substance abuse problems, finally agreed to relocate here for up to a year with partner Angela Malloch and children Jemma and Zac.

"I wasn't sure about coming back to Australia—it's a big move because I have two children and I had only read one scene of MDA," said Donovan.

"I had to be pushed onto the plane but it was the right decision… It's good to be working with an ABC production, you know it's a case of people wanting to watch something rather than being force fed it."

Donovan plays lawyer Richard Savage in the medico legal drama which focuses on the defence of doctors against compensation claims.

He said acting opposite AFI award-winning Armstrong, who plays Dr Ella Davis, was one of the major attractions to accepting the role.

"Acting opposite Kerry is like playing tennis against Lleyton Hewitt—it's always a good match," he said.

Armstrong also agreed to remain here to star in MDA (Medical Defence Australia), which also features Shane Bourne and Aaron Pedersen.

She had planned to return to the US after enjoying major success with SeaChange and then Lantana and a frustrating experience shooting the pilot for the new Lisa McCune vehicle Marshall Law: "I did feel like it was time to stay in Australia for my three boys," she said.

"But also because there is a great deal to be done as far as women's roles in this country go."

The much-anticipated new ABC drama will have only two weeks to win viewer loyalty when it debuts on July 23, before it is pitted against Seven's Marshall Law.

MDA also faces stiff competition from Nine's revamped Stingers.

By Kathy McCabe
July 07, 2002
The Daily Telegraph