THERE is an added familiarity to meeting Terence Donovan. He's looking
a little older than the Donovan we remember from Homicide and Cop Shop but
there is a suggestion that his broad smile and that square jaw have been seen
much more recently on the small screen.
Then with a shock you realise the Donovan guys, Terence and his son Jason,
are much more alike than is apparent in their photographs.
Check out Donovan senior when he makes his debut on Home And Away on
Channel 7 this week to see what I mean.
There is irony perhaps in the fact that the father joined one TV soap
opera, Home And Away, not so long after the son quit another, Neighbours, to go
on to bigger and better things.
Talking to Terence it is obvious that he is immensely proud of Jason's
achievements. The two were together in Melbourne for Christmas and they have
been separated again because of long-distance work engagements. But this time it
was Terence jumping on a jet plane . . . not to London or New York but to Perth
where he opens soon in the title role in a new production of Barnum.
While living in Sydney late last year to record episodes of Home And Away,
Donovan senior was also spending all his spare time trying to learn how to
juggle for his role.
In Home And Away, Donovan plays Al Simpson, the ne'er-do-well step-father
of Bobby, played by Nicolle Dickson. "I'm afraid I'm not a very nice person,"he
said, describing his character. "The best I've been able to do with Al is give
him a sense of humour."
Donovan is one of a string of new faces turning up in new year editions of
some of Australia's best-loved TV soaps.
Earlier this month, Neighbours, on Channel 10, introduced two new
characters, twins played by former Wombat stars Gayle and Gillian Blakeney.
And, coming soon to E Street, also on Channel 10 is Bunny Brooke, who
starred in Australian TV's first soapies success, Number 96.
Meanwhile, cabaret performer Maria Venuti makes her acting debut in A
Country Practice on Channel 7 tomorrow night . . . playing a cabaret performer.
But in real life, Maria is best known as a singer. In A Country Practice
she shares the stage with a snake called Harry.
Maria plays a snake-charmer, rather aptly named Liz Scales, whose charms
capture Cookie, played by Syd Heylen.