Waterloo Road's Jason Done is the new patron of Cheshire Dogs' Home
PUBLISHED: 11:44 05 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:30 20 February 2013
Soap star Jason Done from Didsbury is relishing his new role as a patron of Cheshire Dogs' Home in Grappenhall
Ive been in it since the beginning, says Jason Done of his role as English teacher Tom Clarkson in the hit TV drama Waterloo Road. Im the Ken Barlow of the series.
Not you understand that he thinks theres anything wrong with that, of course. After all, being a permanent fixture in a prime-time telly programme is a luxury for most actors in this time of budget constraints and endless reruns.
However, check Jason out on YouTube and MySpace and you suddenly find out hes popular for some entirely different roles such as Mordred in a glossy film version of Merlin starring Sir John Gielgud, Isabella Rossellini and Helena Bonham Carter and is referred to as hot and talented.
Sadly for those fantasy fans, Jason is committed to year-long shooting schedules on Waterloo Road, with only time in 2009 to slot in a performance in the Royal Exchanges Macbeth all of which means that he has been able to put down some roots in his native North-West.
He swapped London for Manchester and now lives in Didsbury with his wife Anoushka who he married last September. They share their home with a dog, Rigsby, which is the reason why hes doing this interview. Hes recently become patron of Cheshire Dogs home in Grappenhall. And he didnt really want a pet pooch in the first place.
Anoushka keeps reminding me that she picked him not me, he says with some amusement.
At the time I was living in a flat in Manchester city centre and I wasnt sure it was fair to have a dog but Anoushka went on the website and said Im going to surprise you and there was a picture of this dog, which was great. We thought wed go and have a look. I know it would have made a lovely story to be able to say that dog was Rigsby and we all lived happily ever after but it wasnt. It was another dog. In fact, on the way in we saw Rigsby and gave him a stroke, even though it tells you not to stroke the dogs but I never thought anything about him. However we found out the dog we originally went to see had already been fostered.
I was still reluctant at first but the fostering scheme they have at the dogs home means you can try one out to see if hes right for you. And Rigsby is adorable. Not in the way he is now. They dont find their personality fully unless theyre in a family environment. But weve never looked back really. Theres nobody on the planet who will greet you when you get home with as much enthusiasm as he will. I really dont deserve so much adulation.
Didsbury, with its leafy parks and avenues is the perfect place to walk the dog too, agrees Jason who was brought up in Walkden Salford, with an older brother.
You could fit my family into the corner of a pub, he explains, which is surprising because his warmth and openness leads you to believe that he comes from one of those massive loving families.
Hes a bit evasive. Says he doesnt really know how big his family is. Dysfunctional he adds.
But now hes got Anoushka, whose pressing him for another dog Miss Jones another character from the 70s comedy classic Rising Damp perhaps?
We met in the early hours of the morning in a bar. OK it was the Press Club, he hesitantly reveals. I was with Jason Merrells (who played Jack Rimmer in Waterloo Road) and she was with her flatmate. They both came over because the flatmate wanted to meet Jason but we just started talking and got on so well together, hardly the most romantic story in the world but that was four years ago just before Christmas time because wed just finished filming the first series. And here we are now: married and living in Didsbury.
Although he loved living in London, which he considers has a fantastic energy he is quite relieved that being an actor doesnt necessarily mean being based in the capital.
About 15 or 16 years ago if you were serious you went to London to pursue your aspirations but what has now happened is that a lot of productions are being made in Manchester so while it is fantastic living in London, I enjoy being back here in the north west. The people, the city...theyre all appealing in a different way.
I like restaurants like San Carlo and Piccolino because I love Italian food and love it that new places are always opening. But Im not a clubber.'
'Ive never been a cool kid. My dressing room is like a 15-year-old kids place because it is full of pictures of Belle Vue Speedway, in fact all the pictures Anoushka wont have in the house! I used to have pictures of their captain on my wall when I was a kid and now hes a bit of a mate. Thats another good reason for staying in Manchester.
If you want to find out more about fostering or adopting a dog visit www.dogshome.net