Griff Rhys Jones Profile

Griff Rhys Jones isn't just a writer, wit and comedy legend, he's also a man blessed with good luck and a lot of famous friends.

Griff Rhys Jones

Cardiff-born funnyman Griff certainly knows where the funny bone's located, and we'd expect no less, seeing as he's the son of a doctor. That wasn't the only thing he got from his dad either – Mr Jones senior had a boat on Mersea Island and used to take nipper Griff sailing, which certainly came in handy later in his career when he found himself as one of three men on a televised boat.

Having been to school with fellow wit-in-waiting Douglas Adams, and even appearing in Macbeth alongside the sci-fi legend, Griff went to Cambridge where he quickly became a big cheese in Footlights, following a stint shepherding teenage Canadians aboard a P&O ferry for his gap year. He's since described it as being like St Trinian's at sea, seeing as how he was basically trying to mind 600 Canadian schoolgirls. Sounds like the only job Russell Brand would sack all this showbiz lark off for.

After Cambridge, Griff moved into a career in TV, already showing a talent, and eye, for satire with his work on shows like Week Ending. His ambitions lay behind the scenes rather than in front of the camera at first, though, landing a gig as a producer for Frankie Howerd after going to watch the show, penned by his mates Rory McGrath and Clive Anderson, only to discover the current producer had had his fill of being told not to titter. He later went on to produce for all-round comic genius Rowan Atkinson, on his landmark radio show The Atkinson People.

Griff's big telly break came when he became a regular on the groundbreaking Not The Nine O'Clock News, forging a partnership with fellow star Mel Smith. It might never have been though, according to modest Griff, had the show's producer John Lloyd not been dating his sister at the time – Mr Jones claims he got the gig not on raw talent but as a favour to keep his better half sweet. Smith and Jones went on to become a splendid double act, nattering and chewing the comedic fat to our delight and creating some of the most iconic sketches ever seen on British telly – not least the famous talking heads which became a staple of their show and a regularly-parodied comedy institution. The pair had plenty to laugh about too, having founded TalkBack Productions, which went onto become an uber success, netting them over £60 million when it was sold in 2003.

Griff's a master of all trades, having bagged awards for his thespian antics, as well presenting such revealing documentaries as Losing It (about his propensity for going a bit red-faced and shouty) or straight-up acting in shows like Casualty and Mine All Mine. He's also popped up on adverts, voiced cartoons, championed the nation's need for poetry and taken over from Dennis Norden for a re-boot of pre-You've Been Framed car-crash telly clipshow It'll Be Alright On The Night. Hell, he's even played Fagin in the stage musical Oliver!

The best examples of Griff's quirky humour, ready wit, love of the great outdoors and impressive black book though are his Three Men In A Boat shows, where he, Dara O'Briain and Rory McGrath giddily tit about on water and ponder the big questions in the most charmingly amusing way possible. But let's just hope no one makes Griff angry with those oars close to hand or Losing It might change from TV show title to tabloid headline...

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