Jonathan Ross

Jonathan Ross

Infobox Actor
name = Jonathan Ross

caption = Jonathan Ross in 2007
birthname = Jonathan Stephen Ross
birthdate = birth date and age|1960|11|17|df=yes
birthplace = Camden, UKcite web | url =,JONROS | title = Jonathan Ross | accessdate = 2008-07-20]
occupation = Television/Radio presenter , Film critic
yearsactive =
spouse = Jane Goldman (1988 - present)
baftaawards = BAFTA TV Award - Best Entertainment Performance
2004 "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross"
2006 "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross"
2007 "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross"

Jonathan Stephen Ross OBEcite news|url=|title=OBE for broadcaster Jonathan Ross|publisher=BBC|date=2005-06-10] (born 17 November 1960 in London, England) is a triple BAFTA-winning British film critic and presenter of radio and television.

Personal life

Ross is the son of British actress and radio presenter Martha Ross, grew up in Leytonstone and was educated at Norlington School for Boys at the same time as his elder brother Paul. He is the brother of English journalist, television editor, and media personality Paul Ross, TV Producer/Actor Miles Ross and TV Producer Simon Ross. He also attended Southampton College of Art and studied Modern European History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London; he was made a Fellow of that college in 2006. [cite web | url = | title = UCL Fellowships conferred | date = 22 June 2006 | accessdate = 2008-07-03] He later married author/journalist/broadcaster Jane Goldman, ten years his junior, in 1988, when Goldman was just 18. They have since had three children: Betty Kitten (named after Bettie Page), Harvey Kirby (named after Jack Kirby, a comic book creator whom Ross especially admires) and Honey Kinny. The family lives in Hampstead.Has used his speech impediment [Rhotacism] to great comic effect

Ross is known for owning exotic pets. He is a big fan of David Bowie, British punk rock, "Star Trek", "Doctor Who" 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". Ross is also greatly interested in Japan, presenting a BBC TV series on many different aspects of Japanese culture, Japanorama, now in its third series.

He is a close friend of comedian Ricky Gervais and bought him a kitten after Gervais's previous cat, Colin, had died. The cat's name is Ollie and was presented to him on an episode of Ross's talk show "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross". ["Friday Night with Jonathan Ross", November 26, 2004] He was one of the special celebrity guests in the final episode of Gervais's second season of "Extras", in which Gervais's character, Andy Millman, and Ross were shown to be the best of friends after a fictional appearance on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. [cite video|title = Extras - Series 2|medium = DVD|publisher = Universal Pictures Video|year = 2006]

Broadcast career

Ross began his career as a researcher on the Channel 4 show "Loose Talk". After leaving this, he worked on various other shows before beginning another research job on "Soul Train", which became "Solid Soul". On that programme, he met fellow researcher Alan Marke, and the two devised what would prove to be a breakthrough hit for Ross in 1987, "The Last Resort with Jonathan Ross".

The pair based their concept on the successful American show "Late Night with David Letterman", and formed a new production company called Channel X, to produce a pilot. Ross was not originally slated as the show's host, but with little time to find one Jonathan Ross stepped in and made his television debut on the show in January 1987. [Jonathan Ross biography at the BBC's website. Visited January 6 2006.]

While the series was initially a co-production with Colin Calendar, ownership transferred to Marke and Ross, meaning that the latter retained a great deal of control as well as being presenter 'Baggy fashion is blamed for trouble at t'mill', Roland Rudd, "The Times", 2 June 1988.] . The show proved popular for both Ross and for Channel 4, making him one of the major personalities on the channel.

A year later, his documentary series "The Incredibly Strange Film Show" introduced many to the works of cult film-makers like Sam Raimi and Jackie Chan.

In 1989, he co-presented the biennial BBC charity telethon "Comic Relief", the same year he launched "One Hour with Jonathan Ross" a short lived chat show on Channel 4, most notable for the game show segment "Knock down ginger" which introduced comedians such as Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer, Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson to television.

In 1991, he presented the annual "British Comedy Awards" on ITV. He has presented the event each year since, and still does to this day. In 1992 he presented an interview with Madonna about her "Erotica" album and "Sex Book" promotion.

In 1993, he was the narrator for FIA Formula 1 1993 Season Review video.

Ross has appeared in numerous television entertainment programmes on several channels throughout the 1990s and 2000s. He was a regular panellist on the sports quiz "They Think It's All Over", and hosted the panel game "It's Only TV...But I Like It". Other projects include the BBC joke-quiz "Gagtag", the Channel 4 variety show "Saturday Zoo", new-acts showcase "The Big Big Talent Show", and the ITV programme "Fantastic Facts".

In 1995 he left Channel X, despite its profitable nature. He was quoted in a 1998 article as stating:

He took over presenting of the Film... programme in 1999, the BBC's long-running cinema review series, after Barry Norman left the show. Ross himself has made a number of cameo appearances in films, playing himself in the Spice Girls' film "Spiceworld" (1997) and voicing the character of Doris in the UK version of "Shrek 2" (2004) ). He also played himself in "Only Fools And Horses", presenting "Goldrush", a fictional television quiz on which the main character, Del-boy, was a contestant. In 2001 he voiced characters in two episodes of the animated comedy series "Rex the Runt". In the 30 October episode of "Film 2006", Ross also claimed that he had appeared as an extra in the 1981 movie 'The Rise and Fall of Idi Amin', as an Israeli soldier raiding Entebbe airport.

He began presenting a Saturday morning show on BBC Radio 2 in 1999, and he continues to do so. He has also presented radio shows for BBC Radio 1 and Virgin Radio (having previously worked on Richard Branson's earlier venture, "Radio Radio"), as well as the now-defunct commercial radio network service "The Superstation", where his producer was Chris Evans.

On 2 November 2001, Ross began presenting his chat show "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross". The show continues to be one of the most popular shows on the BBC.

In 2005, Ross anchored the BBC television coverage of the Live 8 concerts. Later that year he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to broadcasting. He celebrated the news by playing "God Save the Queen" by The Sex Pistols (which was banned by the BBC when released in 1977) on his BBC Radio 2 Saturday morning show. On June 21, 2006 Ross was made a Fellow of University College London, his alma mater.

In early 2006, Ross announced that after eight years he was quitting his regular panellist seat on the sport/comedy quiz show "They Think It's All Over", stating:

However, after Ross's departure, only two more episodes of the show were made before it was cancelled.

In January 2006 he presented "Jonathan Ross' Asian Invasion", broadcast on BBC Four. The three-part documentary followed Ross as he explored the film industry in Japan, Hong Kong and Korea, interviewing directors and showcasing clips. His interest in Asian culture and his self confessed love for anime and video games led him to making three series of BBC Three show "Japanorama", as well as producing another series for the same channel called "Adam and Joe Go Tokyo", starring Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish. He produced the latter programme through his own production company Hot Sauce.

Ross was the subject of controversy in June 2006 when Conservative party leader David Cameron appeared on the show. Ross began a line of questioning relating to ex-Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher culminating in the question: "Did you or did you not have a wank thinking of Margaret Thatcher?" Ross was defended by the BBC publicly but repeat showings of the interview have been banned. ['BBC to ban repeats of Ross versus Cameron' "The Times", July 01, 2006,,2-2251285,00.html]

On 25 June 2006, he performed at the Children's Party At The Palace for Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday and later in August 2006 Ross was enlisted to ask the first question since the transition from beta for the Yahoo Answers in UK and Ireland. The answer can be seen [ here] . On 16 March 2007, Ross hosted Comic Relief 2007 alongside Fearne Cotton and Lenny Henry. On 7 July 2007 Ross presented at the Live Earth concert.

Starting on 10 September 2007 he presented the BBC Four series "Comics Britannia", about the history of the British comic. This forms the core of a Comics Britannia season, which also includes another documentary by Ross called "In Search of Steve Ditko". [ [ BBC profile for "Comics Britannia"] ]

On 3 August 2008, on BBC1, he hosted Jonathan Ross Salutes Dad's Army.

BBC contract

In April 2006, Ross, along with other BBC personalities, had details of his fees leaked to the tabloid press. ['Radio 2 stars' salaries leaked', Julia Day, "The Guardian", Tuesday April 18, 2006,,1756028,00.html ] It was claimed at the time by a then unidentified BBC mole, that Ross earned £530,000 (equivalent to £10,000 per show) per year for hosting his Radio 2 show. ['BBC unmasks mole who leaked salary details of its biggest stars', Owen Gibson, "The Guardian", Wednesday May 17, 2006,,1776263,00.html ] This was a controversial revelation. For some, the BBC was abusing its dominant position over commercial rivals in paying popular personalities such high fees, and for others debasing its public service remit. While refusing to comment specifically on the leak in line with the BBC policy on the matter, Ross did hint during his radio show that the figure was exaggerated; in addition to this, any pay highlighted as being 'his' would actually be split between himself and his producer/co-presenter on the show, Andy Davies.

The following June, a bidding war was sparked between BBC and ITV for his services. Although ITV were unsuccessful in poaching Ross, it is believed that their bid was higher than the BBC during negotiations. Had the ITV move come off, it would have meant that the network would have poached two of chat's biggest names from the BBC with Michael Parkinson and Jonathan Ross. Ross became the highest paid television personality in Britain, when a new BBC contract secured his services until 2010, for a reported £18 million (£4.5 million/year). ['Ross to stay at the BBC', Ben Dowell, "The Guardian", Friday June 9, 2006,,1794076,00.html]

On 5 December 2007, Ross joked at the "British Comedy Awards" that his salary meant that he was "worth 1,000 BBC journalists". His quip came shortly after the BBC had announced plans for more than 2,000 jobs cuts, and was condemned as "obscene" by the general secretary of the National Union of Journalists. ['Jonathan Ross: I'm worth 1,000 BBC journalists', Colin Crummy, "Press Gazette", 6 December 2007]

In May 2008, Ross won the Sony Gold Award "Music Radio Personality of the Year". [cite web | url = | title = GOLD AWARD WINNER! | accessdate = 2008-05-15]


In 2006, Ross was criticised when he made a joke against Heather Mills, soon after she and Sir Paul McCartney announced they were to divorce. He branded Mills, who is known for having only one leg, a "fucking liar" and that he "wouldn't be surprised if we found out she's actually got two legs". [cite news|url=|title=Jonathan Ross blasts Heather Mills McCartney|publisher=SoFeminine|date=2006-10-31]

In June 2008, Ross was criticised by TV and radio presenter Gloria Hunniford for allegedly talking "too much about sex". In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Hunniford stated "I do get a bit annoyed with some of the new chat shows. Take Jonathan Ross. I like his show but he uses his guests as a tool for his own humour, whereas Parky would try to learn about them ... If you have a major Hollywood star as a guest, you want to hear about them rather than just talking about sex all the time." [cite news|url=|title=Gloria Hunniford: Jonathan Ross talks too much about sex|publisher=Daily Telegraph|date=2008-07-01]

Further reading

*"Jonathan Ross: The Biography", Neil Simpson, John Blake Publishing Ltd (31 Jul 2007), ISBN 184454432X


External links

*imdb name|id=0743552|name=Jonathan Ross
* [ "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross" at]
* [ Jonathan Ross on BBC Radio 2]
* [ Interactive video talk by Jonathan Ross on Ealing studios for the British Film Institute]

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