Ashford reprises the role which
won him legions of fans around the world
is a classically trained stage actor, which is what makes Matthew's
turn as the sometimes bumbling, always entertaining Jack Deveraux
in Days so refreshing. He likes to "colour outside the
"Acting is supposed to be fun," he explains. "That's
what I so enjoy about the theatre, for instance. Acting on stage
is about taking chances. Maybe what you do works, maybe it doesn't.
"Ultimately, it's like watching kids at play. Nothing stops
them. When it's really cooking on stage, it's like being a kid again.
After a while, I found that [same feeling] with Jack."
Indeed, the character, along with his on-again, off-again love Jennifer
played by Melissa Reeves became so popular that when
left the role in 1993 after six years, Days fans picketed
the LA studios of NBC, the US network which produces the show.
"I think that Jenn and Jack so appealed to the show's audience
that the viewers couldn't understand one without the other,"
speculates Matthew, who returned to the role on US screens in February,
initially for a handful of episodes.
But why did they capture the hearts of audiences around the world?
"Oddities aside, they are two people you might know,"
he suggests. "They are crazy about each other, but they can't
"Jenn and Jack are so different, yet they have this connection.
They have a different way of doing things and it seems they're working
against each other. But for some reason, something pulls them together."
Matthew, who is married to actress/dancer Christina Saffran, believes
Days fans view the couple as soul mates.
"In daytime, the idea of a soul mate is a constant thread,"
he muses. "Why do Jack and Jenn keep coming back together,
when they're obviously like cat and dog?
"People see them as they view themselves in their own life.
They might think the person they're with isn't their ideal, yet
there they are. That's what's fun."
It seemed obvious that once Melissa Reeves signed on to reprise
her role as Jennifer Horton earlier this year, Matthew couldn't
be far behind.
"I'd been on-and-off in conversation with the powers that be,
and the time was right," he says. "Frankly, it just looks
like the stars were all aligned in the right place."
However, as much as Matthew felt Days is his acting, he wanted
his alter ego to have a reason for returning to Salem.
It's important to go where there's a story, and from what the producers
tell me the story is fair bubbling over," he teases.
It will be a at least three years before Australian fans get to
see the other half of the Salem supercouple, Jennifer and
when we do, she will be without Jack. Why? Well, something has torn
them apart, but not even Matthew can say exactly what that is yet.
"I don't know why, but Jack's in trouble with Jenn," he
reveals. "She's really angry with him. They're not seeing eye
to eye on something, but it will be a surprise to viewers
and to me just what that is."
At the time of going to press, no contract had been signed by Matthew
to make his return to Salem a permanent move.
"The producers and I have talked about the future, but they're
waiting to see how the story develops," he says. "But
based no fan response, I think it could be a long-term role."
Matthew is sure the writers have some surprises up their sleeves
"I have no idea what will happen," he admits. "I'm
just coming in ready to have a good time. Let's see what we can
"But how many times has Stefano DiMera come back from the dead?
Why not resurrect Jack like that? He can come back from the outer
limits of Africa and shake off some dust."
For Jack and Jenn's legion of fans, let's hope he can also win his
Soaps, 04/01 Australia