Smart, straight-talking Welsh comedian, actor, presenter and documentary maker.
Partnership with Mel Smith
From 1984, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones appeared in the comedy sketch series Alas Smith and Jones (the show’s title being a pun on the American TV series Alias Smith and Jones). After the first series, the pair appeared on the big screen in Mike Hodges’ sci-fi comedy movie Morons from Outer Space and then in 1989, the LWT production Wilt.
Smith and Jones were reunited in 2005 for a Comic Relief sketch, which led to a revival of their previous television series in The Smith and Jones Sketchbook, recorded that same year but aired over twelve months later. Their final TV appearance together was a Head To Head routine for the 2012 special The One Griff Rhys-Jones.
In 1981, Rhys Jones along with Mel Smith founded Talkback, a production company which produced many of the most popular British comedy series of the past two decades, including Smack the Pony, Da Ali G Show, I’m Alan Partridge (starring Steve Coogan) and Big Train.
His documentary series Mountain, for which he climbed fifteen British peaks during 2006, was broadcast on BBC One 29 July–26 August 2007.
Rhys Jones fronted Greatest Cities of the World, which saw him visiting a different city each week. The first series, featuring London, New York and Paris, aired on primetime ITV in October 2008. A second series featuring Rome, Sydney and Hong Kong, was broadcast in April and May 2010.
From April 10, 2015, he introduced a five-part documentary series for ITV, Slow Train Through Africa, taking in life on and off trains from Morocco to South Africa, by way of Algeria, Tunisia, Kenya and Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
Three Men in a Boat
Since 2006 Jones has starred in the BBC’s Three Men in a Boat series, alongside Dara Ó Briain and Rory McGrath. The series has included the trio rowing the River Thames, sailing from London to the Isle of Wight for a sail boat race, borrowing numerous vessels to make their way from Plymouth to the Isles of Scilly.
During 1999 and 2000, Griff Rhys Jones featured in TV adverts for the Vauxhall range of cars as a “boffin”.