Since leaving her job as a psychiatric nurse in 1987, Jo Brand has built a large following across the UK 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 just 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 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, 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. Getting On series two was commissioned and broadcast this year and Jo received a BAFTA nomination for Best Female Comedy Performance for Getting On.
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 her autobiography, “The More You Ignore Me”. She continues to be a regular contributor on QI and Have I Got News For You.
Speaking about her role at the Patients Association, Jo said:
I am very pleased to be able to support The Patient’s Association. Not only was I a huge admirer of Claire Rayner who I think did an incomparable job, but as an ex nurse I am aware that the support of organisations such as The Patient’s Association is invaluable to people who are experiencing difficult and stressful times whilst going through treatment.
(Photo courtesy of Trish Grant)