Ashley Taylor Dawson

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Ashley Taylor Dawson
Ashley Taylor Dawson.jpg
Philip Ashley Taylor Dawson

(1982-01-11) 11 January 1982 (age 37)
OccupationActor, singer
Years active1999–present
Partner(s)Karen McKay (2004–present)
Parent(s)Diana Taylor Dawson

Philip Ashley Taylor Dawson (born 11 January 1982), known as Ashley Taylor Dawson, is an English actor and singer. He is best known for his role as Darren Osborne in the British Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks, in which he is one of the longest serving cast members, and for being a member of pop band allSTARS*.

Early life[edit]

Born in Manchester, Dawson grew up in Wilmslow. He attended Ashdene Primary School and Altrincham Grammar School for Boys and joined local drama group Scamps at a young age.[1] He is the brother of singer and guitarist Catherine Taylor-Dawson.[2]


Dawson has played the role of Darren Osborne in Hollyoaks since 1999. Actor Adam Booth originally played the part before leaving in 1997. The character rejoined Hollyoaks in 1999 when Dawson secured the part. Dawson joined Hollyoaks when he was 17 years old after getting his big break with the National Youth Theatre. Since then he has appeared in Hollyoaks spinoffs such as Hollyoaks Later and Tom's Life. He went on to secure the part of Darren following an audition, but soon after left in 2000 to join ALLSTARS*.[3] Dawson re-joined the show in August 2003 after AllSTARS* split up. On playing the part Dawson said "I love playing the bad lad. He's my alter ego".[3]

Dawson was a member of the UK pop band allSTARS*. His college best friend, Sam Bloom, called him up for an audition and invited him over. Byrne Blood Productions (Steps, A1), the management company at that time, was surprised to find that the actor could also dance and sing. Dawson eventually made it in, getting accepted and rising to fame. Dawson and Bloom also shared a flat together. Other than performing, he also appeared in allSTARS*' accompanying CITV television show, STARStreet*. Dawson was featured in other shows as well. He performed with the band on 80s Mania in 2001, and was next seen on episodes of Top of the Pops. He later made an appearance in Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Stars in Their Eyes and RI:SE. While with the group they managed to score four Top 20 singles in their two-year career.

Dawson appeared along with Darren Day in a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Palace Theatre, Manchester, UK. As a teenager, he appeared in a number of amateur productions in his home town, including Wilmslow Guild Players' production of Jack and the Beanstalk[4] in 1996, for which he was nominated for The Barry Phillips Award for the Most Promising Youngster (Male) in the Cheshire Theatre Guild Awards.

In September 2013, Dawson was announced as a contestant on the eleventh series of Strictly Come Dancing partnered with Ola Jordan. They were voted out in the quarter-finals, on 8 December.

In 2014, Dawson released "Playboy Bunny" on Applique Music, produced by Artful and Lempo, reached #1 on JunoDownload and #54 on ITunes, supported on Capital FM and BBC Radio One.


Year Title Role Notes
1999–2001, 2003- Hollyoaks Darren Osborne Series Regular, 1000+ episodes
2001 80s Mania Performer (as allSTARS*)
2001-02 Starstreet Ashley
2006–present The British Soap Awards Audience Member With Hollyoaks Cast
2009 The Wright Stuff Pannellist Guest
2009 Hollyoaks Later Darren Osborne Series Regular
2013 Strictly Come Dancing Contestant Finalist
2013 Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two Contestant/Guest Finalist
2014 Northern Soul Paul
2014 Tom's Life Darren Osborne Series Regular
2016 Hollyoaks: Bite Sized Recap Himself Host
2017 The No Hopers TBC Pre-Production

Personal life[edit]

In January 2011, Dawson announced that he and long-term partner Karen McKay were expecting their first child.[5] Their son, Buddy Mac Taylor Dawson, was born on 23 March 2011. The couple were engaged in September 2011.[6] Their second son, Mason Mac Taylor Dawson, was born on 1 October 2013.

Dawson is fond of sports and plays football, tennis, and basketball. He supports Manchester United FC and considered a career as a professional footballer. He currently plays occasional charity football matches with the Hollyoaks All-Stars. He also owns a night club in Wilmslow.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2005 Inside Soap Awards Sexiest Male[7] Hollyoaks
2005 Inside Soap Awards Best Villain[7] Hollyoaks
2007 Inside Soap Awards Funniest Performance[8] Hollyoaks
2009 British Soap Awards Best actor[9] Hollyoaks
2009 Inside Soap Awards Funniest performance[10] Hollyoaks Nominated
2010 Inside Soap Awards Best Actor[11] Hollyoaks Nominated
2010 Inside Soap Awards Funniest Performance[11] Hollyoaks
2010 Inside Soap Awards Sexiest Male[11] Hollyoaks
2011 The British Soap Awards Sexiest Male[12] Hollyoaks Nominated
2014 The British Soap Awards Sexiest Male[12] Hollyoaks Shortlisted


  1. ^ McKeever, Katrina (27 July 2005). "Heart-throb pays surprise visit to his old school". Manchester Evening News. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Cream of the well groomed crop". Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Hollyoaks hunk is a top totty, and he's local". Liverpool Echo. Trinity Mirror. 24 March 2004. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Wilmslow Guild Players: Jack and the Beanstalk". Archived from the original on 15 June 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  5. ^ "More Hollyoaks chat from Ashley Taylor Dawson". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi. 20 January 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  6. ^ LittleJohn, Georgina (29 September 2011). "So THAT'S why you won Sexiest Male? Hollyoaks's Danny Mac shows off his six pack as he and the cast party in the park". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  7. ^ a b Barrett, Caroline (8 May 2005). "Soap Baubles; Corrie beauty Nikki sparkles in pounds 100k gems". The People. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  8. ^ Green, Kris (3 July 2009). "Inside soap awards 2007 nominations revealed". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
  9. ^ "British Soap Awards 2009: Nominations revealed!". What's on TV. IPC Media. 5 May 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Inside Soap Awards 2009: Nominees page 97". Sky tv. Sky. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  11. ^ a b c "Hollyoaks 2010 nominees". E4. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
  12. ^ a b Kilkelly, Daniel (7 March 2011). "British Soap Awards 2011 voting opens". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi. Retrieved 18 August 2011.

External links[edit]