Ruth Jones

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Ruth Jones

Ruth Jones Little Britain Gavin and Stacey.jpg
Jones in 2008
Ruth Alexandra Elisabeth Jones

(1966-09-22) 22 September 1966 (age 52)
OccupationActress, writer, novelist, producer
Years active1991–present
Spouse(s)David Peet

Ruth Alexandra Elisabeth Jones, MBE (born 22 September 1966) is a Welsh television actress, novelist and screenwriter. She co-starred in and co-wrote the award-winning British comedy Gavin & Stacey and has appeared in many television comedies and dramas, such as Jimmy McGovern’s The Street with Timothy Spall (2009), and starring as Hattie Jacques in Hattie for BBC Four.

She takes the lead role in the comedy drama series Stella for Sky 1 produced by Tidy Productions, the company she co-founded in 2008 with her husband David Peet, who is managing director.

Early life[edit]

Ruth Jones was born on 22 September 1966 in Bridgend, Glamorgan, Wales. Her father was a lawyer for British Steel Corporation, Port Talbot, and her mother was a doctor.[1] She has two older brothers and a younger sister.[2] Jones was brought up in Porthcawl where she attended Porthcawl Comprehensive School, the same school as Rob Brydon. At school she participated enthusiastically every year in musical theatre productions.[3] After graduating from the University of Warwick with a degree in Theatre Studies and Dramatic Arts, she trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff.[4]

In November 1989, Jones took her first professional role with Dominic Cooke's company Pan Optic playing the Countess Almaviva in Cooke's adaptation of The Marriage of Figaro which toured the UK for six months. After the tour finished she found it difficult to get acting work, temping as a clerical assistant in the Education Contracts dept of Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council. At this point she considered giving up acting and training as a solicitor. However, in 1990, comedian and pantomime producer Stan Stennett offered her an equity contract shifting scenery and playing a ninja turtle (Michaelangelo!) in Dick Whittington at the Porthcawl Pavilion, where she had performed in school musicals. Her first television job was a non broadcast sketch show for BBC Wales including Rob Brydon and Steve Speirs. Soon after she joined an improv group in Bath; the group also included Julia Davis, with whom Jones would later appear in Nighty Night and Gavin & Stacey.[4]


She first worked in TV and radio comedy for BBC Wales in 1991. Theatre roles with the RSC and The National Theatre were followed by her performance in the 1999 hit British film, East Is East.

After this Jones appeared on television as Kelly in four series of ITV's comedy Fat Friends, where she met future Gavin & Stacey co-writer James Corden. She also appeared in several BBC comedies, playing Myfanwy in Little Britain, Magz in Saxondale and Linda in Nighty Night.[5]

Jones achieved prominence in 2008 with the BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey, which she co-wrote with James Corden, and in which she took a lead role as Nessa Jenkins. The programme became a hit for BBC 3 and moved to BBC 1. Jones has said of it, "It wasn't as deliberate as us saying, 'Right, we're going to react against cynical comedy'. We just wrote what we wanted. And it just so happens that the show does generate a lot of warmth. People seem to like that, especially when things aren't terribly jolly. It's nice to have your cockles warmed."[1] The series won a number of awards, including two BAFTAs and four British Comedy Awards.[2] Jones and co-star Rob Brydon recorded "Islands in the Stream" (a song performed by their characters in the programme) as a single for Comic Relief in 2009; the song reached No. 1 in the chart.[6]

In 2008 Jones featured in the two BBC One television period costume dramas, Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Little Dorrit, as well as two episodes of The Street. In December 2009 Jones starred in A Child's Christmases In Wales. In 2010 she starred in the BBC Four comedy The Great Outdoors alongside Mark Heap, and in December presented the first of four chat shows on BBC Two, Ruth Jones' Christmas Cracker.[2] In January 2011 she starred as Carry On actor Hattie Jacques in the BBC Four drama Hattie, which tells the story of Jacques' affair with her young driver John Schofield while she was married to Dad's Army actor John Le Mesurier.[5]

In 2008, Jones co-founded Tidy Productions with producer David Peet. The company produced the series Jones presented on BBC Radio Wales in 2008-9, Ruth Jones' Sunday Brunch.[1][7] In 2010, the company had comedy and light entertainment production credits with BBC Two and BBC Three. It has made two 90-minute comedy dramas for S4C and light entertainment shows for BBC Wales and the topical radio series called What's the Story for Radio Wales, the predecessor to The Leek.

Tidy Productions also produced 58 episodes of the comedy drama Stella for Sky TV. The first series aired in 2012. It was Jones' first major comedy project since Gavin and Stacey; Jones created, executive produced and storylined the show with David Peet. Jones stars in the title role, and wrote several episodes as well as co- writing episodes with Rob Gittins, Rob Evans, David Peet and Steve Speirs. Jones has stated that she was worried about comparisons to Gavin and Stacey when setting a second programme in Wales and the company originally thought to set it in Bristol, but the decision was made to set it in the Rhondda Valley 'I know people from the Valleys and it is just a joyously colourful place and full of characters.'[8] A second series of Stella was filmed in summer 2012 and aired in early 2013.[9] A further four series plus two Christmas Specials completed the run with the final episode of Stella broadcast in October 2017.

In January 2018 Jones took the part of Mandy Haveez in the Radio Wales comedy series SPLOTT written by David Peet and made by Tidy Productions.

In March 2018 Jones worked with director Debbie Issit appearing in the forthcoming film Nativity 4.

In April 2018 Jones's first novel Never Greener was published. Based on a screenplay she’d written in 2004, Never Greener tells the story of a rekindled affair and the dangers of taking second chances. She signed a two-book deal with Transworld after a bidding war between ten publishing companies. The novel went into the Sunday Times bestseller list at no 7 after just three days of sales, before reaching the number one slot for two consecutive weeks.

In April 2020, Jone's second novel, Us Three, is due to be published, discovering the story of three friends whose futures become unpredictable, when there is an unexpected turn in events. [10]

In October 2018 Ruth Jones will be returning to the stage after a twelve-year absence in a new play The Nightingales by William Gaminara, produced by Jenny Topper and Bath Theatre Royal.

Recognition and awards[edit]

Jones was judged the Best Female Comedy Newcomer at the 2007 British Comedy Awards, and was also nominated for Best Television Comedy Actress.[11] She was also recipient of the Ultimate Funny Woman award at the annual Cosmopolitan Ultimate Women of the Year Awards in November 2009.[12] In July 2013 Jones received an honorary degree from the University of Warwick.[13]

Jones was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to entertainment.[14][15]

Jones was awarded the BAFTA Cymru Sian Phillips Special Recognition Award in 2009. In 2013 Stella won three BAFTA Cymru awards for best drama, best writer and best editing. Jones received a BAFTA nomination at the London awards for best actress for her role as Stella in 2013.[citation needed]



Year Title Character Production
2018 Nativity Rocks! Farmer Beatie Entertainment One
2002 Heartlands Mandy Miramax
1999 East Is East Peggy Film4
1998 The Theory of Flight Becky Fine Line Features
1996 Emma Bates’ Maid Miramax Films


Year Title Character Production Notes
2015–present One In Front and others Jo Series of adverts for Tesco
2015–present Very British Problems Herself Alaska TV Productions 3 episodes
2012–2017 Stella Stella Morris Sky 1 Tidy Production. 6 series and 2 Special
2011 Ruth Jones' Christmas Cracker Chatshow BBC Two Special
2011 Hattie Hattie Jacques BBC Four 1 episode
2011 Ruth Jones' Summer Holiday Chatshow BBC Two Special
2011 Ruth Jones' Easter Treat Chatshow BBC Two Special
2010 Ruth Jones' Christmas Cracker Chatshow BBC Two Special
2010 The Great Outdoors Christine BBC Four 3 episodes
2010 Marple Miss Blenkinsopp ITV The Secret of Chimneys
2010 Igam Ogam Birdie and Narrator Calon, Telegael 52 episodes
2009 Ruth Jones' Christmas Cracker Chatshow BBC Two Special
2009 A Child's Christmases in Wales Mum BBC Four TV film
2009 The Street BBC One Series 3, Episodes 5 and 6
2009 Ar Y Tracs Ingrid Crenski S4C
2008 Little Dorrit Flora Finching BBC One
2008 Tess of the D'Urbervilles Joan Durbeyfield BBC One
2008 Torchwood Nikki Bevan BBC Three episode "Adrift"
2008 Chaos at the Zoo Narrator Crackit Productions
2007–2010, 2019– Gavin & Stacey Vanessa Shanessa Jenkins BBC
2006–2007 Saxondale Magz BBC Two Series 1 and 2
2006 Mayo Cal Andrews BBC One
2005–2006 I'm With Stupid Jean BBC Three
2005 Born and Bred Ruby Moss BBC One Episode – The Element Of Surprise
2004–2005 Nighty Night Linda BBC
2004 The Baby Juice Express Gladys
2003 Midsomer Murders Rachael Rose ITV Episode – Bad Tidings
2003–2006 Little Britain Myfanwy BBC Three
2003 Roger Roger Angelica BBC One Episode "Freedom's Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose"
2003 EastEnders Jenny Morgan BBC One Dot's Story
2002 Heartlands Mandy
2001 Tales from Pleasure Beach Mandy BBC Two
2001 Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years Sharon Bott BBC
2000–2005 Fat Friends Kelly Chadwick ITV
2000 Human Remains Elaine BBC Episode "All Over My Glasses"
2000 A Likeness in Stone Joan Poole
1998 Picking Up The Pieces Marie
1998 As Time Goes By Gilly BBC One Episode "Pardon?"
1997 Drovers' Gold Mary

Guest appearances[edit]

Year Title Appearance Series
2015 The Apprentice: You're Fired! Herself Series 11, Episode 10
2014 Duck Quacks Don't Echo Herself Series 1, Episode 1
2012 Hit the Road Jack (TV series) Herself Series 1, Episode 1
2012 Edinburgh International Television Festival 2012 Herself
2012 The Matt Lucas Awards Herself Series 1, Episode 6
2012 Just a Minute Panelist Series 1, Episode 3
2012 Chris Moyles' Quiz Night Herself Series 5, Episode 7
2011 Alan Carr Chatty Man Herself Series 7, Episode 7
2010 The Big Fat Quiz of the Year Herself 2010
2010 Chris Moyles' Quiz Night Herself Series 3, Episode 4
2010 The Graham Norton Show Herself Series 7 Episode 6
2010 Would I Lie to You? Panelist Series 4, Episode 2
2010 A League of Their Own Panelist Series 1 Episode 2
2009 The Graham Norton Show Herself Series 5 Episode 2
2009 Chris Moyles' Quiz Night Herself Series 1, Episode 2
2009 Have I Got News for You Guest Presenter Series 37 Episode 7
2009 Comic Relief Nessa ‘’(Barry) Islands In The Stream’’ video


Year Title Episodes Notes
2012–2017 Stella 6 series
2007–2009-2019 Gavin & Stacey 3 series co-written with James Corden
2009 Ar Y Tracs TV movie
2006 The Chase 1 episode
2005 Fat Friends 1 episode Series 4 Episode 3 "Angels Delight"



Year Title Notes
2018 Never Greener A passionate love affair that highlights why second chances should not always be given, or taken [17]
2020 Us Three Three girls experience a turn of events, leaving their futures uncertain [10][18]



Personal life and charity work[edit]

In 2010, Jones took part in Channel 4's Comedy Gala, a benefit show held in aid of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, filmed live at the O2 Arena in London on 30 March.

In January 2019 Jones was the guest for BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs. Her favourite music track was "Smooth" by Santana featuring Rob Thomas. Her choice of Bible was a family Welsh Bible, her own book choice was Halliwell's Film Guide and her luxury item was the back catalogue of The Archers.[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Ruth Jones: 'Gavin & Stacey generated a lot of warmth. It's good to warm your cockles'". The Independent. London. 3 July 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Wilson, Sophie (13 December 2010). "Ruth Jones: I have been fortunate to play parts that have not just been, 'Oh, you need a fat person'". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  3. ^ a b "BBC Radio 4 - Desert Island Discs, Ruth Jones, actor and writer". BBC. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  4. ^ a b "What's occurring with Ruth Jones?". BBC South East Wales. 3 December 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Ruth Jones profile". BBC Wales Arts. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  6. ^ "Comic Relief single (Barry) Islands In The Stream tops charts". The Telegraph. London. 16 March 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  7. ^ "Sunday Brunch programme page". BBC Radio Wales. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  8. ^ Cadwalladr, Carole (1 January 2012). "The Observer : Ruth Jones: queen of comedy". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  9. ^ "Ruth Jones' comedy Stella to have second series". Wales Online. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  10. ^ a b "Us Three by Ruth Jones | Waterstones".
  11. ^ "The British Sitcom Guide – News". Retrieved 7 November 2007.
  12. ^ "Cosmo's Ultimate Women of the Year Awards 2009". Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  13. ^ "Warwick honorary degrees for stars of Gavin & Stacey & Hustle, RSC & Royal Court Artistic Directors, scientists, historians, philanthropist & a US government adviser". University of Warwick. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  14. ^ "No. 60728". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2013. p. 22.
  15. ^ "MBE 'proper tidy' for Ruth Jones". 30 December 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  16. ^ "Ruth Jones".
  17. ^ O'Grady, Carrie (13 April 2018). "Never Greener by Ruth Jones review – Gavin & Stacey co-creator's debut is a soggy squib" – via
  18. ^ "Us Three by Ruth Jones".

External links[edit]