Since leaving her job as a psychiatric nurse in 1987, Jo Brand has built a large following across the UK, male and female alike appearing initially on the Saturday Live television show.
In 1993 she became a resident panellist, along with Tony Hawks, on BBC monologue show The Brain Drain. Soon after, she had her hit “Through the Cakehole” (Channel X for Ch4) series met with great acclaim, as did her series “All the Way to Worcester” (Vera Prods for Ch4). Jo’s diverse appeal is marked by appearances on such eclectic programmes as “Question Time” (BBC) to “Nevermind the Buzzcocks” (TalkBack Prods for BBC), “QI” (TalkBack Prods for BBC1) and “Countdown” (YTV for Ch4) to “They Think It’s All Over” (TalkBack Prods for BBC) and The Graham Norton Show (BBC). She presented “Jo Brand’s Commercial Breakdown” (Celador for BBC1), “Jo Brand’s Hot Potatoes” (Assembly Film & TV) and “Jo Brand’s Rudest Home Videos” (ITV1). She has guest hosted “Have I Got News For You” (Hat Trick). She also appeared on Star Spell, a spin off from Hard Spell, during 2004, and in a bloomin’ fantastic cameo in Absolutely Fabulous.
In 2007, Jo narrated Laughter & Tears: The Les Dawson Story, a documentary tribute to Les Dawson. The programme was broadcast on BBC Radio 2 in October 2007.
Jo took part in the first celebrity version of Comic Relief does Fame Academy, and then in 2007, she appeared as a celebrity contestant on Comic Relief Does The Apprentice, again to raise money for Comic Relief. In 2009 she participated in Let’s Dance for Comic Relief, another Comic Relief fundraiser, dancing as Britney Spears (‘tis true), reaching the final. She has proved herself an un-willing fashion victim on the BBC1 special “What Not To Wear On The Red Carpet”, learnt the organ for BBC’s “Play it Again”, which she then played to a sell out crowd at the Royal Albert Hall, and she has also taken part in a charity celebrity carol singing choir!
She appeared as a judge in the BBC2 series The Speaker in April 2009. She offered her advice, along with John Amaechi and Jeremy Stockwell, in the eight-part series charting the search for “Britain’s Best Young Speaker’‘. This year saw her write and star in the utterly marvellous, Getting On, in which she starred along co-writers Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine, on BBC in July 2009. The series, set on a hospital’s geriatric ward, was partly inspired by her earlier career in nursing, and has been commissioned for a second series to begin filming in 2010.
Jo went on to win a 2011 BAFTA for Best Female Comedy Performance for ‘‘Getting On”. The series has received critical acclaim and has recently had the third series broadcast in 2012. She was also seen as the Demon Dinner Lady in the Horrid Henry film and she continues to develop sitcoms for Vera Productions and What Larks Productions.
In 2013, Jo started the year by sitting on the judging panel for ITV’s smash hit ‘Splash’ and she later put her cooking to the test on ‘The Great Comic Relief Bake Off’.
A critically acclaimed writer, Jo has written the hits ‘A Load Of Old Balls’ and ‘A Load Of Old Ball Crunchers’ (both Simon & Schuster), ‘It’s Different For Girls’, ‘Sorting Out Billy’ and ‘The More You Ignore Me’ (all for Headline Review). Her autobiography ‘Look Back In Hunger’ is now available from all good stockists.
Jo has hit the ground running in 2014 by judging the second series of ‘Splash’ and she continues to appear on shows including ‘QI’, ‘Countdown’, ‘Would I Lie To You’, ’8 Out of 10 Cats’, ‘The Matt Lucas Awards’
To top it off Jo is a popular host and cabaret artist for corporate events.
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Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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