Page last updated at 18:58 GMT, Thursday, 30 October 2008

The ups and downs of Ross' career

Jonathan Ross
Ross started his career in television in 1981

The prank phonecall row reached a climax on Thursday with the resignation of Lesley Douglas, controller of Radio 2, and a 12 week-suspension without pay for Jonathan Ross.

Ross, 48, has more than 25 years of experience in showbusiness and is one of the highest paid presenters at the BBC.

But director general Mark Thompson said the star should take the disciplinary action as a "final warning".

Born in north London in November 1960, Ross spent his formative years in London's East End.

He followed his older brother Paul into TV, getting his first job in 1981 as a researcher on the Channel 4 chat show Loose Talk.

Soon afterwards he met another young researcher, Alan Marke, with whom he formed the Channel X production outfit.

In 1987 the company produced The Last Resort, which Ross stepped in to present at the last minute after a satisfactory host failed to materialise.

The programme - modelled on David Letterman's long-running chat show in the US - was a hit and ran for four series on Channel 4.

The same year Ross married Jane Goldman, an author and occasional TV presenter renowned for her bright red hair.

Improved fortunes

The couple have three children, Betty Kitten, Harvey Kirby and Honey Kinny.

Ross often speaks of his close friendships with various other high-profile stars, including comedian Ricky Gervais.

He once bought Gervais a kitten after his previous cat, Colin, died.

It was presented to him on an episode of Ross's talk show.

Other TV outings followed - The Incredibly Strange Film Show and Saturday Zoo among them - and in 1991 he hosted the British Comedy Awards, a post he has filled ever since.

Jonathan Ross and Ricky Gervais
Ross and Gervais are great friends

However, the mid-90s were a lean time for the presenter, despite a two-year deal with ITV.

His fortunes improved near the end of the decade when he fulfilled a life-long ambition to host the BBC's long-running Film programme, taking over from Barry Norman.

He also joined Virgin Radio to host a flagship show that saw him team up with producer Andy Davies for the first time.

Since then he has been hard to miss, with TV shows including They Think It's All Over, It's Only TV... But I Like It and Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, making him one of TV's most successful and ubiquitous presenters.

The star has also made a number of cameo appearances in films, playing himself.

Swearing rap

He appeared in the Spice Girls' film Spiceworld (1997) and voiced the character of Doris in the UK version of Shrek 2 (2004) ).

He is one of the few broadcasters to have made a virtue of a speech impediment - an inability to pronounce his Rs that has seen him affectionately nicknamed "Wossy".

His radio career has also flourished.

His Saturday morning show on BBC Radio 2 was named radio programme of the year at the 2001 Television and Radio Industries Club Awards.

Jonathan Ross family
Ross is still happily married to Jane Goldman after 21 years

However, Ross's success has not been without controversy.

In 2000 he was criticised by the Broadcasting Standards Commission for on-air comments about stroke patients, Romanian orphans and asylum seekers.

Three years later he was rapped again for swearing during Comic Relief Red Nose Night.

In 2005, Ross anchored the BBC television coverage of the Live 8 concerts.

Later that year he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to broadcasting.

He celebrated the news by playing God Save the Queen by The Sex Pistols on his Radio 2 show.

'Obscene' comment

In 2006, Ross was criticised for asking David Cameron personal sexual questions relating to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when he appeared as a guest on his popular BBC One Friday night chat show.

He was defended by the BBC publicly, but repeat showings of the interview have since been banned.

Jonathan Ross
The presenter was awarded an OBE in 2005

The following year, Ross appeared at the British Comedy Awards, where he joked his salary meant he was "worth 1,000 BBC journalists".

The comment was made at a particularly delicate time as the BBC had just announced it was to make more than 2,000 members of staff redundant.

The National Union of Journalists condemned Ross, calling the comment "obscene".

A joke made about Heather Mills caused yet more controversy for the star earlier this year.

Soon after Mills and Sir Paul McCartney announced their divorce, Ross called her a "liar" in a monologue on his show.

He added that he "wouldn't be surprised if we found out she's actually got two legs".

Despite the controversy Ross remains one of the most recognised figures in media, as renowned for his flamboyant dress sense as his outspoken remarks.

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