Nov. 17th, 1960
Leytonstone, London, England, UK
6' 1 1/2"
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Comedian, talk show host, game show host, film critic, radio DJ and awards show compere, Jonathan Ross is the most successful British broadcaster of his generation. After attending university and gaining a History degree, he worked as a researcher on Channel Four in the 1980s, becoming a presenter for the first time on the channel's series "The Last Resort with Jonathan Ross" (1987). Ross made an immediate impression, largely because he didn't base his presentational style on conventional, comforting and polite British broadcasters such as Frank Bough, Michael Parkinson (II), Russell Harty and Alan Whicker; his inspiration was the more fast-witted and irreverent style of American talk show hosts, in particular David Letterman.
Although "The Last Resort with Jonathan Ross" (1987) had a short life, it established Jonathan as a major draw for Channel Four and introduced viewers to Ross' trademark irreverent humour and his distinctive speech impediment, which has been the source of plenty of jokes over the years, including a few by Ross himself.
The 1990s were a period of growing success for Jonathan. In 1999 he was chosen by the BBC to replace Barry Norman (II) as the host of "Film '72" (1972), their long-running film series on BBC One. The same year he left Virgin Radio to start his popular Radio 2 show, broadcast on Saturdays. In 2001 he landed his own chat show on BBC One, "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross" (2001).
Further evidence of Jonathan's status came in 2005, when he was chosen by the BBC to host the corporation's coverage of the Live 8 (2005) (TV) rock concerts. Two years later, he was the obvious choice to host the similar Live Earth (2007) (TV) for the BBC.
He has been the winner of numerous awards, with Sony judges praising him for his "speed of thought, natural wit, and ability to transform even the most mundane of thoughts into entertaining broadcasting". BBC Director-General Mark Thompson (XXVII) has called him an "outstanding talent", and BBC One Controller Peter Fincham called him a "uniquely talented broadcaster at the very top of his game". He was awarded the OBE for services to broadcasting in 2005.
Ross has not been without his critics. Some have accused him of being the spearhead for a general decline in British television standards since the 1980s, epitomised by his regular use of foul language and blatant sexual references during his late night talk show. He has been at the centre of a number of controversies due to his irreverent style, prompting cautions from The Broadcasting Standards Commission and the BBC's board of governors. Ofcom, the communications regulator, called him "deliberately provocative". John Beyer, director of TV watchdog Mediawatch, has called his language "disgraceful and unacceptable". In 2006, Andrew Neil (I) likened Ross' style to football hooliganism.
Once the bad boy of Channel Four, Jonathan Ross hasn't moderated his style much at all, but he is now the BBC's most valued broadcaster, with a reputed salary of £6 million a year.
- Considers 'David Baddiel' (qv) one of his closest friends.
- His top ten films of all time are: _Duck Soup (1933)_ (qv), _Sunset Blvd. (1950)_ (qv), _Ikiru (1952)_ (qv), _Le salaire de la peur (1953)_ (qv) (aka The Wages of Fear), _8½ (1963)_ (qv), _Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)_ (qv), _The Producers (1968)_ (qv), _Blade Runner (1982)_ (qv), _Tonari no Totoro (1988)_ (qv) (aka My Neighbour Totoro) and _Fa yeung nin wa (2000)_ (qv) (aka In The Mood for Love) [Source: "Sight and Sound"].
- Following his involvement in controversies in 2008 such as his interview with 'Gwyneth Paltrow' (qv) on _"Friday Night with Jonathan Ross" (2001)_ (qv), which contained sexually explicit content which the BBC Trust called "gratuitous and unnecessarily offensive", and his suspension following his performance on the 'Russell Brand' (qv) radio show, the BBC decided in 2009 that Ross will no longer broadcast live on BBC radio in an attempt to make sure that he does not breach editorial guidelines again.
- Maintains a lot of control over the playlist of his BBC Radio 2 show, playing many of his favorite artists. He is a fan of 'Roxy Music' (qv), 'David Bowie (I)' (qv), 'Scott Walker (II)' (qv), 'John Barry (I)' (qv), 'Steven Patrick Morrissey' (qv), 'The Cure' (qv), 'The Feeling' (qv), 'Arctic Monkeys' (qv), 'Neil Hannon' (qv), 'Edwyn Collins' (qv), 'Elvis Presley' (qv), 'Queen (I)' (qv), 'Elvis Costello' (qv), 'Frank Sinatra' (qv), 'Paul Weller (I)' (qv) and punk rock in general.
- Named the showbiz dad most fathers identified with in a poll of fathers for UK retailer Early Learning Centre (2004).
- On 'Russell Brand' (qv)'s Radio 2 show on 18 October 2008, he and Brand left obscene messages on the answerphone of 'Andrew Sachs (II)' (qv), concerning the fact that Brand had slept with Sachs's grand-daughter 'Georgina Baillie' (qv). This programme was later broadcast, provoking widespread complaint from the public and politicians such as Prime Minister 'Gordon Brown (VI)' (qv) and Conservative leader 'David Cameron (IX)' (qv). Brand later resigned from the BBC and Ross was suspended without pay for three months. The controller of Radio 2, Lesley Douglas, also resigned, as did the head of compliance David Barber. The BBC Trust called it a "deplorable intrusion with no editorial justification" and Ofcom fined the BBC £150,000, calling it "gratuitously offensive, humiliating and demeaning".
- Presents his own show on BBC Radio 2 (Saturdays). The show's producer and co-host is 'Andy Davies (I)' (qv).
- His favorite musical artist is 'David Bowie (I)' (qv) and he plays a 'David Bowie (I)' (qv) song on every edition of his BBC Radio 2 show.