Page last updated at 14:54 GMT, Wednesday, 7 July 2010 15:54 UK

Profile: Jonathan Ross

By Liam Allen
BBC News entertainment reporter

Jonathan Ross
Ross's chat show has attracted the biggest names in show business

Presenter Jonathan Ross, the BBC's former star player, is joining ITV to present a chat show, beginning late next year.

It comes just nine days before his last show on the BBC, where his guests will include David Beckham and Jackie Chan.

The 49-year-old announced his departure from the corporation in January, marking the end of a 13-year stint.

Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, his flagship BBC One chat show, attracted the biggest names in show business, not to mention bumper audiences and numerous TV awards after it first appeared in November 2001.

Other successes at the corporation included his Radio 2 Saturday morning show, which began in 1999 - the same year he took over from Barry Norman as presenter of BBC One's long-running Film programme.

But the latter part of his time at the BBC was mired in controversy following a series of obscene phone messages left for the actor Andrew Sachs by Ross and Russell Brand on the latter's Radio 2 programme.

Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand
Ross was suspended by the BBC while Brand resigned

In the show, which was broadcast on 18 October 2008, Brand and Ross left lewd comments about Sachs's granddaughter Georgina Baillie on the former Fawlty Towers actor's answering machine.

Ross did not follow in the footsteps of Brand, who tendered his resignation, and the corporation did not bow to calls for his sacking, instead suspending him for three months.

Normal service was more or less resumed when his TV chat show and radio shows returned in January 2009.

He came under scrutiny again after implying that boys who were fans of US pop star Hannah Montana were gay and should be put up for adoption.

Ross denied there was any homophobic intent but in May, the BBC announced his live radio show would be pre-recorded "to ensure the programme is watertight".

TV researcher

Ross was born in north London in November 1960 and spent his formative years in London's East End.

Jonathan Ross and Jane Goldman
Ross's wife, Jane Goldman, is an author and screenwriter

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.

A speech impediment - an inability to pronounce his Rs - saw fans affectionately nickname the presenter "Wossy".

In 1998, Ross married Jane Goldman, an author and occasional TV presenter renowned for her brightly-dyed red hair and they now have three children: Betty, Harvey and Honey.

Lifelong ambition

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 every year since - except in 2008 following the Radio 2 phone calls row.

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

Jonathan Ross
Jonathan Ross was made an OBE in 2005 for services to broadcasting

His fortunes improved near the end of the decade when he teamed up with Chris Evans to host a show on the new-look Virgin Radio.

He achieved a lifelong ambition a year later when he began hosting the BBC's Film programme.

Since then, he has been a BBC staple, presenting awards ceremonies, appearing on Comic Relief and featuring as a guest on programmes including They Think It's All Over and The Big Fat Quiz of the Year.

The "Sachsgate" row was not the first time Ross had been told off for his controversial comments.

He has previously found himself in hot water for comments about stroke patients, Romanian orphans and asylum seekers and in 2003 he was rapped for swearing during Comic Relief's Red Nose Night.

Despite occasionally courting controversy, Ross was made an OBE in 2005 for services to broadcasting.

He joins ITV soon after the high-profile defection of One Show hosts Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley.



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