Robert Brydon Jones, MBE (born 3 May 1965), known professionally as Rob Brydon, is a Welsh actor, comedian, radio and television presenter, singer, and impressionist. He played Dr Paul Hamilton in the Australian/British comedy series Supernova, Bryn West in the sitcom Gavin & Stacey and Keith Barret in the BBC comedy series Marion and Geoff and its spin-off The Keith Barret Show.
He has appeared in a number of shows for the BBC with Steve Coogan, including The Trip series in 2010, released as a feature film later that year; and The Trip to Italy in 2014 and The Trip to Spain in 2017, also edited and released as feature films.
Since 2009, Brydon has presented the BBC One comedy panel show Would I Lie to You? He played himself in Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive, a satirical series about a fictional panel show, which ran on BBC Three from 2006 until 2007. Between 2010 and 2012, Brydon presented his own BBC Two late-night chat show called The Rob Brydon Show. Since April 2014, Brydon has hosted the Saturday-night game show The Guess List for BBC One.
Jones was born on 3 May 1965 in Baglan, Glamorgan, Wales. His mother, Joy Jones (née Brydon), was a school teacher, and his father, Howard Jones, was a car dealer. He grew up in Baglan, with his younger brother Peter (born 1973).
Brydon was educated at two independent schools: St. John's School in Porthcawl, which Eddie Izzard also attended, and Dumbarton House School in Swansea until the age of 14. This was followed by Porthcawl Comprehensive School, where he met Ruth Jones (with whom he later worked in Gavin & Stacey) and became a member of the school's youth theatre group. While at Dumbarton, he once stole the lunch money of fellow pupil Catherine Zeta-Jones (which he admitted while participating in a series 4 episode of Would I Lie To You?).
Brydon has said that his primary childhood influences in comedy were Barry Humphries, Frankie Howerd and Woody Allen. He has also said that he used to memorise entire sketches by Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Peter Sellers.
Brydon attended the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Cardiff. He left after a year, to join Radio Wales at the age of 20. His early broadcasts included work as a disc jockey on BBC Radio Wales, when his Saturday morning shows included contributions from stand-up comedian Pete Park-Walker. Between 1992 and 1994, on Radio Wales (where he stayed for six years) he was the main presenter of Rave, one of BBC Radio 5's youth magazine and music programmes, with Alan Thompson. He developed his Marion and Geoff story from this.
In 1994 and 1995 Brydon appeared in numerous episodes of the original Radio Wales version of the cult comedy Satellite City with Boyd Clack. Although he has stayed with radio as a comedy performer on BBC Radio Five Live's The Treatment, Brydon also does occasional stints as a stand-in presenter on BBC Radio 2. He has stood in for Ken Bruce, one of the people whom he impersonates. On 1 April 2011 he appeared in Bruce's place on his show as an April Fools' Day joke.
Between September and October 2011, Brydon starred alongside Sir Kenneth Branagh in Francis Veber's play The Painkiller at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. He reprised his role with Branagh, in March and April 2016, at the Garrick Theatre in London's West End. Whilst not calling himself an impressionist Brydon can do impressions of: Sir Alec Guinness, James Dean, Michael J. Fox, Richard Burton, Sir Tom Jones, Sir Michael Caine, Mick Jagger and Ronnie Corbett.
Brydon was first known nationally as a voice artist. He provided several voices for the Discworld computer games and continuity announcements for BBC 1. He is also known for voice-over work in television advertising, including for Renault, Tango, The Times, Tesco, Abbey National, Sainsbury's, McDonald's, Pot Noodle, Domino's Pizza, Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, The Observer and Fairy Liquid. He voiced the main character, Lewton, in the Discworld computer game Discworld Noir, and provided voices in animated films such as The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo's Child and Room on the Broom.
For a brief period in the early 1990s Brydon was a presenter for the Home Shopping Network. He began to find small roles in several successful films and television series. In 2000 he made his mark in television comedy, with two series which he co-wrote and performed for the BBC: Human Remains, co-written by Julia Davis; and the commercially successful Marion and Geoff.
Since these series Brydon has developed a career path as a character actor, in both comedic and serious roles. He portrayed controversial theatre critic Kenneth Tynan in the BBC Four film Kenneth Tynan: In Praise of Hardcore (2005), opposite Julian Sands as Laurence Olivier.
His character Bryn West in Gavin & Stacey, written by Ruth Jones and James Corden, allowed him to return to his South Wales roots. In this role Brydon performed the 2009 Comic Relief charity single, "(Barry) Islands in the Stream", with Ruth Jones (both actors appearing as their characters from Gavin & Stacey) and singer Tom Jones. It reached No.1 in the UK singles chart on 15 March 2009.
In 2010 Brydon starred alongside Steve Coogan in Michael Winterbottom's partially improvised BBC Two sitcom series The Trip, in which both actors played fictionalized versions of their public personas (Brydon, optimistic and always eager to do an impression; and Coogan, misanthropic and bitter that he's not the major international star he believes he should be).
Brydon's book Small Man in a Book (the title a play on his "small-man-in-a-box" impression) was published in November 2011.
In 2006 Brydon first appeared on the BBC Radio 4 comedy panel game I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. His singing voice earned the unprecedented accolade from the erstwhile host, Humphrey Lyttelton, of being "not bad". When the team went on a tour of non-broadcast stage shows, Brydon filled in as chairman when Lyttelton was in hospital to repair an aortic aneurysm. Lyttelton died in hospital after surgery.
In February 2009, it was announced that Brydon would be one of three people to replace Lyttelton as chairman of the 51st series of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue (the others being Stephen Fry and Jack Dee). Brydon also appeared as guest panellist in the first two episodes of series 52, chaired by Jack Dee. He returned as a guest panellist in the last two episodes of series 54 in January 2011.
Additionally, he took over in 2009 from Angus Deayton as host of Would I Lie To You?. Brydon has presented an episode of Have I Got News for You and has appeared on BBC Radio 4's panel game Just a Minute.
Brydon narrated a two-part programme on BBC Radio 4, The Pain of Laughter: The Last Days of Kenneth Williams. It explored the latter part of Williams's life, featuring many of the performer's friends and contemporaries. In other radio work Brydon sat in for Ken Bruce on BBC Radio 2 for one day only on 25 August 2008. In addition to this, on 1 April 2011, Brydon impersonated Bruce for the entire two-hour and thirty minutes show. Bruce came on the air at the end of the show to reveal the prank.
Brydon has appeared on the TV comedy quiz QI. In his first appearance (Series A, episode 5), his talent for mimicry was displayed with impressions of Sir Alec Guinness, James Dean, and Michael J. Fox. In the 2008 Christmas special, he provided impressions of Richard Burton and Sir Tom Jones.
In 2009/10 Brydon had his first stand-up tour in the UK as Rob Brydon (rather than as a differently named character). The resulting DVD of the 2009/10 show, Rob Brydon: Live, was released on 23 November 2009. Brydon appeared as a host on episode two of series five of the BBC series of Live at the Apollo.
In 2010 Brydon took part in Channel 4's Comedy Gala, a benefit show in aid of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, filmed live at the O2 Arena in London on 30 March. He was one of six compères for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert held outside Buckingham Palace on 4 June 2012.
From his first marriage Brydon has two daughters, Katie, born August 1994 and Amy, born July 1998, and a son Harry, born October 1996.
After being divorced, on 6 October 2006 Brydon married Claire Holland, a former producer on The South Bank Show, at Windsor church. They live in Strawberry Hill in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. They have two sons, Tom, born in April 2008, and George, born in June 2011. A keen golfer, Brydon is also a Swansea City fan and is an ambassador to their 1912 foundation.
Brydon and Ben Miller have both regularly been mistaken for each other by members of the public. As a reference to that mix-up, they dressed in similar outfits and shared a narcissistic kiss in the QI episode "The Future", first broadcast on 20 February 2009.
Honours and awards
Brydon was made an honorary fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where he previously studied.[when?] Brydon was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to comedy and broadcasting and for charitable services.
In August 2014, Brydon was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.
TelevisionYear Title Role Channel 1993 The Legends of Treasure Island Long John Silver (Series 2) CITV on ITV 1996 Cold Lazarus Karl Channel 4/BBC One 2000 Human Remains Peter Moorcross, Gordon Budge, Stephen, Tony, Barne Willers, Les BBC Two 2000–2003 Marion and Geoff Keith Barret 2001 The Way We Live Now Mr Alf BBC One 2002 I'm Alan Partridge Baptist fan ("Alan Wide Shut") BBC Two Black Books B Nugent Channel 4 Murder in Mind Barry Coates BBC One Robbie the Reindeer: Legend of the Lost Tribe Prison Guard (voice) 2003; 2008 Top Gear Himself 2003–2013 QI Himself BBC Four/BBC One/BBC Two 2004 Director's Commentary Peter de Lane ITV 2004–2015 The Big Fat Quiz of the Year Himself – panellist Channel 4 2004–2005 The Keith Barret Show Keith Barret BBC Two 2005 Supernova Dr Paul Hamilton Little Britain Roman de Vere (series 3) BBC One Jack Dee Live at the Apollo Keith Barret 2006 Have I Got News for You Guest Presenter 100 Greatest Funny Moments Narrator Channel 4 2006–2007 Annually Retentive Himself BBC Three 2007 Dawn French's Boys Who Do Comedy Himself BBC One 2007–2010 Gavin & Stacey Bryn West BBC Three/BBC One 2007 Heroes and Villains: Napoleon Stanislav Fréron BBC One 2007 Oliver Twist Mr Fang 2009 Horne & Corden Narrator to Olympic sketches BBC Three Live at the Apollo Compere/stand-up BBC One 2009–present Would I Lie to You? Presenter, since Series 3 2009 The Gruffalo Snake (voice) 2010–2012 The Rob Brydon Show Himself (Host) BBC Two 2010 Ronnie Corbett's Supper Club Himself (Guest) Good Food 2010–2017 The Trip Himself BBC Two/Sky Atlantic 2011 A Quiet Word With ... Himself (Guest) ABC Michael McIntyre's Christmas Comedy Roadshow Father Christmas/himself BBC One The Gruffalo's Child Snake (voice) 2012 Room on the Broom Cat (voice) 2013 Gangsta Granny Mr. Parker 2014 This is Jinsy Rex Camalbeeter (series 2) Sky Atlantic The Guess List Himself BBC One 2015 The Brink Martin HBO Stick Man Various (voice) BBC One 2016 Revolting Rhymes King, Rolf, the Banker Pig and the Short Siste (voice) 2017 Not Going Out George (Series 8, Episode 3) The Highway Rat Narrator and Horse (voices) Television film 2017 The Nightly Show Himself (guest) ITV 2018 Trust Richard Nixon FX
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