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Friday Night with Jonathan Ross

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Friday Night with Jonathan Ross
GenreChat show
Written byJonathan Ross
Shaun Pye
Fraser Steele
Jim Pullin
Jez Stevenson
Directed byMick Thomas (2002–2010)
John L. Spencer (2004)

(Other(s) unknown)
Presented byJonathan Ross
Starring4 Poofs and a Piano
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series18
No. of episodes275 (list of episodes)
Executive producersAddison Cresswell
Deborah Cox
Katie Taylor
Jonathan Ross
Mirella Breda
Suzanne Gilfillan
Karl Warner
Mark Linsey
ProducersSeamus Murphy-Mitchell
Suzi Aplin[1]
Production locationBBC Television Centre
Running time65 mins
Production companyHotsauce TV
Original release
NetworkBBC One
Release2 November 2001 (2001-11-02) –
16 July 2010 (2010-07-16)

Friday Night with Jonathan Ross[2] is a British chat show presented by Jonathan Ross and broadcast on BBC One between 2001 and 2010. The programme featured Ross' take on current topics of conversation, guest interviews (usually three per show) and live music from both a guest music group and the house band. First broadcast on 2 November 2001, the show began its final series in January 2010 and ended on 16 July 2010.[3]


From 2009 until the end, the programme was broadcast in high definition on BBC HD. Studio TC4 in the BBC Television Centre in London, where the show was made, was upgraded to HD, making it the third television studio in Television Centre to be upgraded to HD (the others being Studios TC1 and TC8).

The show was pulled by the BBC on 29 October 2008 when Ross and Russell Brand were both suspended from their TV and radio shows in the events after The Russell Brand Show prank telephone calls row.[4] The show returned on 23 January 2009, attracting 5.1 million viewers.[5] The final 275th episode was broadcast on 16 July 2010.

On 12 June 2009, the show began airing in the United States on BBC America at 8pm EST. In 2010, it also started airing on the UKTV channel in Australia, just weeks after the episodes were first aired in the UK.

In June 2010, it was announced that Ross would be moving to ITV to host a new Saturday night chat show, The Jonathan Ross Show, which started airing in September 2011.[6]

The most frequent guests were Ricky Gervais and Jack Dee (eight episodes each), Eddie Izzard (seven episodes), Jeremy Clarkson and Jimmy Carr (six episodes). Johnny Vegas, David Attenborough, Stephen Fry, Damon Albarn and Simon Pegg all appeared in five episodes and Robbie Williams appeared in four episodes.


The show was usually recorded in Studio TC4 at the BBC Television Centre in London. The house band, 4 Poofs and a Piano, provided musical backing. The show used to be recorded on a Thursday, but after his return from the Russell Brand incident, it was recorded on a Tuesday, leading to the show having much less topical humour. (Ross' Saturday morning Radio 2 show was also subjected to being recorded on a Friday after previously being live on Saturday).

The house band consisted of Stephen de Martin, Ian Parkin, David Roper and David Wickenden. Each episode, they would wear identical T-shirts featuring the face of a guest at the centre. Every time a guest enters the studio, the band will perform a segment of a song, usually involving a reference to that particular guest. At the beginning of each show Jonathan Ross, would segue from his monologue with a homosexual innuendo about the group.

There have been a number of recurring themes on Friday Night. For instance, Ross often jokes about the age of veteran TV presenter Bruce Forsyth. This culminated in Forsyth appearing in the opening segment of the show broadcast on 30 November 2007, to supposedly take over as the show's presenter. Ross then appeared and called Tess Daly (Forsyth's co-host on Strictly Come Dancing) to supervise Forsyth safely out, again alluding to his age.[7] Ross has also often made jokes about Heather Mills, the ex-wife of Paul McCartney. During a GMTV interview in October 2007, Mills complained about comments made by Ross.[8] At the beginning of the show, between guests and during interviews Ross often recounted incidents involving his wife, children and pets. He also referred to items in the news and demonstrated amusing products. His guests were seen at the start of the show sitting in the green room and Ross preceded the introduction of each by asking the audience "Shall I get my first/next guest out?". While interviewing a guest he usually chatted with the other guests in the green room.

At the end of the show, there was a musical performance from a performer or a group. There were rare occasions where the performer(s) are interviewed as well as then going on to play their song or sometimes songs, notably all three original members of proto-punk legends The Stooges (Iggy Pop, Ron Asheton and Scott Asheton) were interviewed together on the show in June 2007 before performing "I Wanna Be Your Dog". American rock band The Killers performed on the show in May 2009. Lead vocalist Brandon Flowers previously had an interview with Ross before playing four songs with the band, the most that had ever been performed on the show with an interview until Robbie Williams performed 6 songs on 6 November 2009 after being interviewed.[9]


Jonathan Ross at the BAFTA Awards in 2009

Ross speaks with a rhotacism, causing him to pronounce the consonant 'r' like a 'w', which has led to the British tabloid newspapers dubbing him "Wossy". He is also known for his flamboyant dress sense and regularly wins awards for being the best and worst-dressed celebrity (when he appeared on the series Room 101, his own dress sense was one of the things he wished to banish). While appearing on They Think It's All Over, his dress sense was frequently mocked by the other panellists.

Ross was even blamed for a textile workers' strike in 1988. David Cope, a sales director for a dyeing operation, made the claim: "Ever since that trendy Jonathan Ross started wearing his big, baggy suits on television, he set a fashion that has been extremely lucrative for the British cotton industry and now the textile workers want a share of those profits."[10]

Ross is also well known for his distinctive long hairstyle. Ross is known for owning exotic pets and is a big fan of David Bowie, Star Trek, Doctor Who, anime and comic books. Ross has even co-owned a comic shop in London with Paul Gambaccini. He was also the visual inspiration for the main character in the comic book Saviour.


There were 274 episodes that were recorded and have been shown, with the 18th series ending on 16 July 2010.

As well as various Christmas specials, there have also been a number of special editions with an episode devoted to a single guest. Friday Night with Ross and Bowie being the first, aired 5 July 2002, and featuring one of Ross's heroes, David Bowie. Followed by Friday Night with Ross and Madonna, aired 2 May 2003, and Friday Night with Ross and Parkinson aired on 14 March 2008, with fellow chat show host Michael Parkinson. Another, Friday Night with Streisand and Ross aired on 2 October 2009, with a world exclusive interview from actress Barbra Streisand. It was also the first time that she had performed on British television.[11]


The show was suspended on 29 October 2008 by the BBC when Ross and Brand were both suspended from their TV and radio shows, in the events after The Russell Brand Show prank telephone calls row.[12] Ross was later given an additional 12-week suspension, and released a statement, reading:

"I am deeply sorry and greatly regret the upset and distress that my juvenile and thoughtless remarks on the Russell Brand show have caused. I have not issued a statement previously because it was my intention and desire to offer an apology to all those offended on my Friday night programme. However, it was a stupid error of judgement on my part, and I offer a full apology." - Jonathan Ross' apology, taken from BBC News.[13]

The comedy stand-up show Live at the Apollo was shown in the 22:35 Friday night slot during Ross's absence. A new series of the popular comedy stand-up show was quickly commissioned to fill the slot, which featured films for four weeks after the suspension. Friday Night with Jonathan Ross returned on 23 January 2009. The show's return was watched by 5.1 million viewers, and received 25 complaints (protesting the show's return), and 3 messages of support for Ross.[5]


BAFTA TV Awards[edit]

  • 2004 Best Entertainment Performance
  • 2006 Best Entertainment Performance
  • 2007 Best Entertainment Performance

British Comedy Awards[edit]

  • 2003 Best Comedy Entertainment Programme

Royal Television Society Awards[edit]

  • 2003 Best Entertainment Performance
  • 2004 Best Entertainment Performance


  1. ^ "One Programmes - Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Series 16, Episode 25". BBC. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  2. ^ Known as The Jonathan Ross Show in places where it is not broadcast on a Friday night
  3. ^ "This week's guests: 9-15 January 2010" (Press release). BBC Press Office. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  4. ^ "Broadcasting - News - BBC suspends Russell Brand, Jonathan Ross". Digital Spy. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2009.
  5. ^ a b "Entertainment | Ross TV return is watched by 5.1m". BBC News. BBC. 24 January 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2009.
  6. ^ "ITV confirms Jonathan Ross chatshow deal". Mark Sweney. The Guardian. 28 April 2020. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  7. ^ "Bruce and Tess hijack Friday Night With Jonathan Ross". BBC Press Office. 30 November 2007. Retrieved 1 January 2008.
  8. ^ Cockcroft, Lucy (31 October 2007). "Heather Mills McCartney breaks down on GMTV". The Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 2 November 2007. Retrieved 1 January 2008.
  9. ^ Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Hot Sauce production for BBC. First Broadcast 7 November 2009.
  10. ^ "Jonathan Ross the interviewer of choice". The Times. London. 13 January 2005. Retrieved 28 October 2006.
  11. ^ "Jonathan Ross secures sensational world exclusive interview with Barbra Streisand". BBC Press Office. BBC. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  12. ^ BBC prank calls row goes to Trust bbc.co.uk
  13. ^ "Brand and Ross: Apologies in full". BBC News. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2010.

External links[edit]