Janet "Jan" Ravens
14 May 1958
№ of episodes
1 regular show
Janet "Jan" Ravens is an English actress and impressionist, famous for her voices on Spitting Image and Dead Ringers.
She grew up in Hoylake, then in Cheshire, on the west side of the Wirral with her father a local government clerk and her mother a nurse. She attended the West Kirby Grammar School for Girls. She was educated at Homerton College, Cambridge where she studied Drama and was the first female President of Cambridge University Footlights Club in 1979-80.
After Cambridge she became a radio comedy producer. She joined the cast of Jasper Carrott's comedy Carrott's Lib in 1983, and made her name very popular with the BBC. In 1986, she played the heavily pregnant Vanessa Plowright in the Tourists episode of Farrington of the F.O. (broadcast 13 March). In 1994, she spent a year with the RSC. She has done much voice-over work, being the Cadbury's Caramel bunny for several years, and as the seductive voice of a can of apple Tango. She has also appeared on Just A Minute on Radio 4, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Alexei Sayle's Stuff and Dictionary Corner on Channel 4's Countdown (one of the shows that Dead Ringers parodied). She was producer of the Radio 4 comedy Elephants to Catch Eels.
People who regularly come under her highly-perceptive imitative powers are Newsnight host Kirsty Wark, Charlotte Green of BBC Radio 4 (with many double entendres), Ellen MacArthur (who regularly bursts into tears), Nigella Lawson (with double entendres), Ann Widdecombe (narrating fanciful racy storylines in her novels), Hyacinth Bucket, Queen Elizabeth, chirpy Sandi Toksvig, stern-faced Gillian McKeith, Sophie Raworth (with a bemused school-girl grin) and Fiona Bruce (with barely-concealed filthy invitations) of BBC News, Anne Robinson of The Weakest Link, Lesley Garrett (often referring to her generous cleavage), and the Geordie-accented wife of David Archer, Ruth, from Radio 4 soap, The Archers.
List of appearancesEdit
Jan appeared in a series 3 episode of David Renwick's hit series "One Foot in the Grave" (entitled "Monday Morning will be Fine") as Pat Aylesbury (one of Meldrew's neighbours who he turns to after being burgled).
From 1996 till 2001 Jan played Janet Grimley, the mother in The Grimleys, a nostalgic sitcom set in 70's Dudley.
In autumn 2006, Jan Ravens appeared on the popular BBC entertainment programme Strictly Come Dancing partnered with Anton du Beke. Her popularity waned with viewers as she was voted off the series. When the elimination results were read and she discovered it was her, she began to cry uncontrollably and turned to the judges, shouting in an undignified, petulant manner: "I hope you're happy!". She has since been criticised for her "bad loser" reaction.
In spring 2007, she appeared on the BBC programme The Truth About Food, exploring different foods and how they affect behaviour. She is an ambassador for the charity Action Aid. Also in 2007, she appeared in Ronni Ancona's comedy sketch show, Ronni Ancona & Co.
Jan won the edition of Celebrity Mastermind on 1 January 2008. She also appeared as Effy's art teacher in E4 drama Skins.
She married the composer Steve Brown, before divorcing him in 1993 and later marrying the vice-president of Universal Music Group, (Christopher) Max Hole, in July 1999 in Richmond upon Thames. She lives in Barnes. She has given birth to three sons (two born in April 1987 and January 1991 to her first husband, and one born in June 1998 to her second husband).
- Jan Ravens at the Internet Movie Database
- Dead Ringers
- Strictly Come Dancing.
- Amanda Howard Associates
- Times December 2008
- Guardian October 2008
- Independent October 2008
- Guardian March 2007
- Times November 2004
- Telegraph December 2002
- Audio clip describing her work on Dead Ringers
- Nigella explains how to brush your teeth correctly
- Delia teaches us how to boil water
- Dame Ellen McArthur complains about Sail8