Page last updated at 07:42 GMT, Tuesday, 23 September 2008 08:42 UK

Talking Shop: Griff Rhys Jones

Griff Rhys Jones
In recent years, Jones has presented Bookworm and Restoration

Comic, actor and TV presenter Griff Rhys Jones has been on our screens for nearly 30 years, first appearing in classic sketch show Not The Nine O'Clock News.

He went on to form an enduring comic partnership with Mel Smith. They were last seen together in a 2005 reunion.

Jones has gone on to front a number of factual programmes, including Restoration and Mountain.

His latest documentary, Losing It, takes a look at anger, while he has recently taken over as host of It'll Be Alright on the Night.



Was making a documentary about anger quite a personal journey?

I offered to use myself as a guinea pig as I'm a middle-aged man and I lose my temper. Not all the time - I was called "Britain's angriest man" in a preview for the programme, but I very much doubt that!

I decided to use that as a basis to talk to other people about it, but a lot of people didn't want it - it's a sort of taboo. A lot of famous people refused point blank to talk about it.

I know there are people in television who've got themselves into such bad moods that they've torn down everything around them.

I worry about the effect losing control has on me and other people, but we do have the right to protest.

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Griff loses his temper with builders

What experience of anger have you had during your career?

I've spent a lot of time working with quite high octane teams of people, and sometimes people do get het up about what's working or not working - you want them to care about the end result!

The most annoying state of affairs is to find yourself in a situation where people around you don't care and just want to finish it and get home.

And is there anything specific that really winds you up?

I get steamed up about taking on too much, things that are beyond my control that means I can't fulfil my obligations to people. I get agitated and tetchy at myself but I don't get hugely depressed.

How do you juggle your multi-faceted career, including taking over as host of It'll Be Alright On The Night?

I've always had too many strings to my bow but have been moderately competent at what I do. If I write a book I write it competently and am asked to do another one. As long as it works, people say 'do some more'.

It's strange to find myself doing a Saturday night show on ITV when a week before I was doing a documentary about Thomas Hardy.

Is there one strand of your career that you particularly enjoy?

Griff Rhys Jones on It'll Be Alright on the Night
Jones has stepped into the shoes of Denis Norden on ITV's outtake show

It's taken a bit of time to become a presenter of documentaries, but I'm doing quite a lot of that and I really love doing it.

Has comedy and straight acting been put on the back burner for the time being?

I've been so busy over the past five years that it just hasn't happened, but that's just the way my life has gone. I don't go off and twiddle my thumbs but just pick up one of the other things that I do and carried on with that.

Are there any plans to get together with Mel Smith?

I might push myself to go and say hello! I see him on a regular basis every couple of months these days. He's directing films and I'm doing what I do, so we don't do things together very much. If someone really wanted us to do something, we would.

A DVD collector's edition of all our work is coming out soon, so it'll give everyone a chance to decide if it's best to see the back of us or "why don't we see more of those two?"

Losing It presented by Griff Rhys Jones begins on 23 September on BBC Two at 2100 BST. He talked to BBC News entertainment reporter Michael Osborn.


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