ONLY An Excuse? star Jonathan Watson has a career that’s moving along faster than Santa last week.

Not only is Johnny back this year with the Hogmanay special, revealing his talents as an impressionist to the world, the actor has learned his comedy series Two Doors Down will film again next year.

“There are also a couple of interesting developments coming up next year,” he says, cryptically, “but I don’t want to jinx anything by saying what.”

In recent times, Johnny has starred alongside Brian Cox in Bob Servant Presents, and in theatre spectaculars such as Yer Granny.

But the career momentum hasn’t always been so positive. A few years back it seemed to flatline. Television and film were seldom callers to the actor’s home in Bearsden.

However, the actor who lives in Bearsden was not one to take to the pub, or iron the curtains by way of displacement activity.

“I realised I had to make more of an effort,” he recalls.

“It looked as though I was taking a step back but yes, the variety wasn’t there so I decided I’d try and do more stage work.

And it paid off. After appearing in Iain Heggie’s play, The Last King of Scotland, the monologue, gave the former RSAMD student the chance to showcase his talents.

It had been time to go back to basics.

“I think that’s absolutely right,” he admits. “There was a time when I was involved in Offside, there was also Watson’s Wind-up and Only An Excuse.

“They were in all the background, and I was making a few bob, but I now needed the switch to theatre get the attention of the casting agents.”

Johnny’s theatre performance was noticed and he says, as a result he landed the supporting role in Bob Servant Presents, playing the rather dim but loyal Frank.

“When you get to appear alongside Brian Cox it does wonders for you,” he says in delighted voice.

Johnny is delighted to be back with Only An Excuse?, the show that allows the chance to laugh at the sporting and political world around us.

Johnny is particularly delighted to have harpooned the most lampooned man in the universe (and perhaps the most frightening) in Donald Trump.

Johnny reveals this isn’t his attempt at capturing the perfect look of the man with the whale-sized ego.

“I was asked to do some material for Short Stuff, the BBC’s Facebook page and I did Donald Trump’s Guide To Scottishness,” he reveals.

“It got over half a million hits and apparently some people in the States thought it was the real Donald, which says a lot more about them rather than the quality of the impersonation.”

Tonight’s show, he offers, contains “A couple of surprises.”

Perhaps Judy Murray isn’t so much of a surprise, given Andy Murray’s mother is a television omnipresent.

“The idea is that Judy, who launched a project to take tennis to the masses, meets up with Frank McAvennie, who is from ‘The Milton’. And we thought it would be a nice idea to see her try to coach him.”

Johnny’s Nicola Sturgeon makes and appearance as do Old Firm bosses Brendan Rogers and Mark Warburton, in press conference mode.

“And we do a Rangers fan and a Celtic fan. But it’s not just west of Scotland comedy. We try to get the balance right for the rest of the country.”

His favourite sketch this year features actor David Hayman, “who seems to be the go-to actor to cover a documentary in Scotland. We did our version of that.

“And I enjoyed doing the sketch about the new teuchter dating app, called Footer.”

Johnny rolls out the reasons why Only An Excuse is a hardy perennial.

“Only An Excuse runs at 27 minutes once a year and it has great viewing figures, from kids to grannies.

“What’s helped is how it has evolved over the years.”

He points out that 20 years ago it was ‘a satirical football programme featuring Jonathan Watson, Gordon Kennedy Alistair McGowan and Greg Hemphill.’

“It’s now completely different. We take in other aspects of life, politics, news stories, and we have a great cast in Ryan Fletcher, Sally Reid and Louise McCarthy.”

The actor is in a fantastic position given Two Doors Down is a major network success.

“We work on it long hours, and most of us are in every scene. And because of the style of the show we run very long scenes and we will do each one about thirty or forty times.”

He adds, grinning; “It gets to three in the afternoon and you become word blind. But I do enjoy the discipline of it.

“And it’s little slices of life that people can relate to, with characters that everyone knows. And although it’s a hard shift, it’s not working at the coalface.”

Johnny who has a 17 year-old son, Jack, with wife Celine, admits his character, Colin, has few redeeming qualities.

“He is quite unlikeable, but you can’t be totally dark because it is a comedy.

“Yet, the ladies who work in costume and make-up love him.”

The actor says he is enjoying work so much more these days.

“I don’t know if it’s because I’ve reached a certain age (he’s 59) but the good parts keep coming.

“Yet, I never take anything for granted. And jobs just don’t fall into your lap. You’ve got to go on the sniff.”

• Only An Excuse, BBC1 Scotland, tonight at 11pm.