Griff Rhys Jones
Last updated: 20 November 2008
Comedian, writer, broadcaster and actor Griff Rhys Jones rose to national prominence in the television show Not The Nine O'Clock News.
A doctor's son, Rhys Jones was born in November 1953. He went from Cardiff in the 1950s to Brentwood School in Essex, beginning a journey to being one of the UK's foremost comedians of the 1980s.
At Brentwood, he was a member of the so-called 'Clique' known for their antics. Among his co-conspirators was future author Douglas Adams, and the pair went to Cambridge University, Jones becoming a member of the famed Footlights troupe, of which he became president.
After university, he formed relationships which form the basis of the 'new wave' of British comedy which overtook the established, old-fashioned powerbase of comics on TV and radio. At first he partnered Clive Anderson, then produced Rowan Atkinson's Atkinson's People for the BBC.
Jones became involved in 1979 with the hit sketch show Not The Nine O'Clock News, he said, not for any talent but because the show's producer John Lloyd was dating his sister at the time. The second series saw Jones become a regular alongside Atkinson, Mel Smith and Pamela Stephenson.
When Not The Nine O'Clock News finished, Smith and Jones formed a professional and business partnership to guard against a downturn in their fortunes. They formed a management and production company, Talkback Producations, in 1981. Talkback would come to produce many huge comedy hits in the two decades after.
Smith and Jones worked together in the double-act programme Alas Smith And Jones, becoming one of the best-known comedy acts of the 1980s, from its inception in 1982 to its end in 1988. The pair dropped the prefix Alas, to produce the programme Smith And Jones until 1995.
In 2000, Smith and Jones cashed in their directorship of Talkback, selling the company to Pearson for a reputed £62 million.
Jones became known as a presenter, firstly of Comic Relief, and latterly of programmes including Bookworm, Restoration, Restoration Village, Mountain and Treasure House. His other television work includes two BBC documentaries re-creating Jerome K Jerome's classic novel Three Men In A Boat, for which he teamed up with fellow comedians Dara Ó Briain and Rory McGrath.
He has acted in series including Casualty, Marple and Mine All Mine. He has also written or co-written a number of books, including an autobiography, Semi-Detached, which was published by Penguin in 2006.
Rhys Jones returned to his mother's roots in the Welsh village of Ferndale for an episode of the BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?, which was first broadcast in September 2007.