No one could ever accuse Jason Oliver of failing to go that extra mile to further his career.
He’s been from Wales to Blackpool, to Spain and back, grafting his backside off the last 20-odd years, working on various music, acting and writing projects.
He’s been in a boyband, worked as a solo artist - almost representing Britain at the Eurovision Song Contest – starred in films and written TV scripts.
He’s done very well for himself (owning several houses in Spain and locally), but admits mainstream fame and stardom has always just about eluded him. That might not be the case for much longer though.
Almost two decades after his career in showbusiness started, the 42-year-old is on the brink of something big.
He has been signed by the same management team that work with Paul Young and the TOWIE cast (plans are afoot for a big music release) and is in talks with one of the major TV channels about commissioning a sitcom he’s penned.
“I have 18 shows completely written – three series, six shows in each – and we’re at the discussion stage with a TV company, which is really exciting,” he said.
“It’s sort of autobiographical. The first series is set in the valleys in Wales in the 80s, the next series is in Blackpool and the third series is present day.
“I’m delighted there is interest in it because although I love singing - and I want to carry on doing it - my ultimate goal is to be a writer, whether that’s for TV or films or books.”
It would take half this newspaper to tell you everything Jason has done in the last 20 years so here’s the brief version. He left Wales aged 18 for Blackpool because he wanted to get into entertainment. “I arrived on the train with not much money in my pockets and slept in a shelter on the prom the first night,” he said.
Settling in a rented room in South Shore, he joined a boyband - Prophecy (aimed at the gay market, they toured Europe and played regular gigs in Blackpool at the Alabama Showboat, The Viking and The Flamingo) - before embarking on a solo career.
Twelve years ago he headed to the Costa Del Sol after being offered six nights a week singing work. While out there he penned his sitcom and, clearly not one to take things easy, also had a hit with a remix of a Josh Groban track called You Raise Me Up. “It got to number two in the Euro Dance Charts, which was pretty good,” he added. “I’ve released six other songs to date as well.”
Oh, and with his acting hat on he’s also had a part on Channel 5 soap Family Affairs, came within a whisker of landing a major role in Coronation Street, and starred in a film made by the producers of East is East.
After a decade in Spain, Jason decided it was time to come home (“there is only so much sun and sangria you can take,” he joked) and returned to Blackpool this week.
“Blackpool feels like home to me and now I’ve got this TV series written and Media City is down the road in Salford … it’s the right place to be for me,” he said.
“I’ve achieved loads in the last 20 years, fulfilled a lot of my dreams, and hopefully there are a now few more that will come true.”
With a work ethic like Jason’s, you’d be a brave man to bet against it happening for him.