Page last updated at 15:11 GMT, Sunday, 5 October 2008 16:11 UK

Ruth Jones finds her radio feet


Ruth Jones tells BBC Wales Today about her new Radio Wales programme

Ruth Jones, writer and star of hit BBC comedy Gavin and Stacey, has begun a new chapter with her own show for Radio Wales (1000 - 1200 BST, Sundays). The actor, who plays Nessa, tells how she hopes to persuade the entire cast to appear on her radio show, and how there may be an American version of Gavin and Stacey.

Have you ever done any sort of presenting or radio before? If so, how did it go?

We've done a few try-outs for me to get used to faders and things, and they've got better and better. I'm a bit out of my comfort zone really, I'm used to doing voiceovers and I'm used to acting in radio plays - but actually presenting on radio is a whole different ball game! Years ago when I was at uni I did a late night pre-recorded show for university radio called Pyjamarama but I used to just play my parents' Max Boyce albums, which took up most of the show. Apart from that I did some vox pop style packages for Rave, a night-time Radio Wales show back in the early 90s!

Gavin and Stacey
Mathew Horne and Joanna Page take the lead roles as Gavin and Stacey

What should listeners expect?

Never expect anything in life, that's what I say! I think the show will keep evolving - it's already evolved from the first pilot I did. I'm trying to find my radio feet really. One thing I'm discovering is that you can't "script" a radio show as such, it just ends up sounding, well, scripted! I'm hoping to try out some new characters on the show so I'll effectively be talking to myself as another person at times, and there'll be guests of course. Joanna Page [who plays Stacey] and Charlotte Church are on the first show and I'm really looking forward to that. Music-wise, don't expect anything trendy - I do like my Van Morrison and Billy Joel and Tom Petty but there will also be some recent stuff like Jason Mraz and Yael Naim. Doing this show is, to be honest, one of the biggest challenges I've ever faced! But I really think I'm going to enjoy myself, despite the nerves

Gavin and Stacey is filming at the same time as you'll be broadcasting - will they be coming on?

"Well, Nessa from Gavin and Stacey may be popping in now and again, though she does work a shift down the arcade on a Sunday morning so it depends on her availability. And I'm hoping to force the entire cast of Gavin and Stacey to come on at some point!"

Are there any presenters in radio that you look up to and who might influence your style? Roy Noble possibly?

Roy Noble is a Radio Wales legend! I went on his show the other day, he's so relaxed talking to the listeners. As for my style, I don't know what that is yet - hopefully it will be relaxed and friendly. There are so many great radio presenters around. I love Jonathan Ross and I had a really good chat with Chris Evans the other day about my show. He was really encouraging - he's so passionate about radio, it really comes over - and he does it for the love of it. He cares about the listener and I admire that.

You have a wealth of experience as both a dramatic and a comedy actress - which do you prefer? And which takes more out of you?

I've been fortunate enough to have enjoyed all the parts I've played whether they were in a comedy or a drama. And I like to think I'm committed to whatever part I'm playing - I wouldn't say anything takes it out of me, I just am lucky to have a job I love doing.

What have you learnt about yourself playing any of the characters you've acted as?

Blimey, how much time have you got? I don't really understand those sort of questions to be honest, erm... I do sort of throw myself into whatever part I'm playing, and I have been known to walk around the house sometimes, mumbling things in character! I know that I've learnt that I love variety in the roles I play. That's very important to me.

Did you always want to be an actress? Did anyone encourage and nurture your developing talents as you grew up?

Charlotte Church
Charlotte Church was among the guests on Ruth's first show
I always enjoyed acting from quite an early age - I went to Porthcawl Little Theatre - my grama took me there when I was about six or seven, and it was run by Mrs Cogbill. The first part I played was a courtier in the pantomime. And then in school we had a thriving drama department run by Roger Burnell, our drama teacher, who always directed us in a musical every year. They were great fun. Then at uni I was in lots of drama society plays, but I still didn't think I'd be good enough to do it professionally. Dominic Cooke, who is the artistic director of the Royal Court, really encouraged me to apply for drama school after uni - which I did. And then he gave me my first job as the Countess Almaviva in Beaumarchais' Marriage of Figaro.

Who or what has been most influential in your career?

So many people have helped me with career things - I've been lucky enough to have had great agents, and lots of good friends who work in the media who have given advice over the years - [Gavin and Stacey co-writer] James [Corden] is a really good friend and adviser when it comes to career dilemmas. But I suppose the person who's helped me the most is my husband David! I'm really enjoying working with him.

Have you had much time to reflect on the huge success of Gavin and Stacey? Have you had any interesting offers on the back of its success?

There's been some interest in an American version from ABC but nothing's definite yet. That'd be cool wouldn't it? James and I are over the moon with the success of Gavin and Stacey but sometimes it's impossible to take it all in!

Ruth Jones
Ruth Jones and James Corden won a Bafta for Gavin and Stacey

Does Nessa get any fan mail - if so what sort of things does she get sent? Her catchphrase is also everywhere - has the joke worn thin for you yet - we can imagine you get an awful lot of people coming up to you on the street saying 'What's occurrin'?'

It's a real compliment that people love Nessa and "What's occurrin'?" so much - I am thrilled. I get it shouted out at me sometimes when I'm not expecting it like in the middle of Sainsbury's but it just makes me laugh! And a friend told me there's a big building going up near the magic roundabout in Cardiff with a massive sign saying "What's occurrin'?" on it - how brilliant is that! So far no fan mail for Nessa, no...

Will the Christmas special really be the end of Gavin and Stacey? Do you and James have plans to work together again on different projects?

James and I will work together again one day - we'd love to do a film - a romantic comedy probably. At the moment, no plans for a third series, but never say never, who knows...

Will Olympic swimmer David Davies or any celebrities be getting cameo roles or parts as extras in the Christmas special?

No cameo roles in the Christmas special, and to be honest, the director doesn't like putting celebrities into things I'm afraid.

What do you think of the fame aspect of your job? Would you like to do a Ricky Gervais and go to Hollywood?

"Basically if there was a job I wanted to do and it happened to be in America then yes, of course I would go to Hollywood but it's not a dream of mine or anything."

Ruth Jones' Sunday Brunch begins at 1000 BST on Sunday, 5 October, on BBC Radio Wales.

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