Since leaving her job as a psychiatric nurse in 1987, Jo Brand has built a large following across the UK, male and female alike appearing initially on the Saturday Live television show.
In 1993 she became a resident panellist, along with Tony Hawks, on BBC monologue show The Brain Drain. Soon after, she had her hit “Through the Cakehole” (Channel X for Ch4) series met with great acclaim, as did her series “All the Way to Worcester” (Vera Prods for Ch4). Jo’s diverse appeal is marked by appearances on such eclectic programmes as “Question Time” (BBC) to “Nevermind the Buzzcocks” (TalkBack Prods for BBC), “QI” (TalkBack Prods for BBC1) and “Countdown” (YTV for Ch4) to “They Think It’s All Over” (TalkBack Prods for BBC) and The Graham Norton Show (BBC). She presented “Jo Brand’s Commercial Breakdown” (Celador for BBC1), “Jo Brand’s Hot Potatoes” (Assembly Film & TV) and “Jo Brand’s Rudest Home Videos” (ITV1). She has guest hosted “Have I Got News For You” (Hat Trick). She also appeared on Star Spell, a spin off from Hard Spell, during 2004, and in a bloomin’ fantastic cameo in Absolutely Fabulous.
In 2007, Jo narrated Laughter & Tears: The Les Dawson Story, a documentary tribute to Les Dawson. The programme was broadcast on BBC Radio 2 in October 2007.
Jo took part in the first celebrity version of Comic Relief does Fame Academy, and then in 2007, she appeared as a celebrity contestant on Comic Relief Does The Apprentice, again to raise money for Comic Relief. In 2009 she participated in Let’s Dance for Comic Relief, another Comic Relief fundraiser, dancing as Britney Spears (‘tis true), reaching the final. She has proved herself an un-willing fashion victim on the BBC1 special “What Not To Wear On The Red Carpet”, learnt the organ for BBC’s “Play it Again”, which she then played to a sell-out crowd at the Royal Albert Hall, and she has also taken part in a charity celebrity carol singing choir!
She appeared as a judge in the BBC2 series The Speaker in April 2009. She offered her advice, along with John Amaechi and Jeremy Stockwell, in the eight-part series charting the search for “Britain’s Best Young Speaker’‘.
This year saw her write and star in the utterly marvellous, Getting On, in which she starred along co-writers Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine, on BBC in July 2009. The series, set on a hospital’s geriatric ward, was partly inspired by her earlier career in nursing, and has been commissioned for a second series to begin filming in 2010.
Jo went on to win a 2011 BAFTA for Best Female Comedy Performance for ‘‘Getting On”. The series has received critical acclaim and has recently had the third series broadcast in 2012. She was also seen as the Demon Dinner Lady in the Horrid Henry film and she continues to develop sitcoms for Vera Productions and What Larks Productions.
A critically acclaimed writer, Jo has written the hits ‘A Load Of Old Balls’ and ‘A Load Of Old Ball Crunchers’ (both Simon & Schuster), ‘It’s Different For Girls’, ‘Sorting Out Billy’ and ‘The More You Ignore Me’ (all for Headline Review). Her autobiography ‘Look Back In Hunger’ is now available from all good stockists.
In 2013, Jo started the year by sitting on the judging panel for ITV’s smash hit ‘Splash’ and she later put her cooking to the test on ‘The Great Comic Relief Bake Off’. Jo was such a success on this show that she was named as the host of the hugely popular ‘The Great British Bake Off – An Extra Slice’ this year.
To top it off Jo judged the second series of ‘Splash’ and continues to appear on shows including ‘QI’, ‘Countdown’, ‘Would I Lie To You’, ’8 Out of 10 Cats’, and ‘The Matt Lucas Awards.’ Jo is also a popular host and cabaret artist for corporate events.
2014 was another packed year for Jo, with her hosting panel shows including ‘Have I Got News For You’ and appearing on other shows such as ‘Would I Lie To You’, ‘QI’, ‘Cats Does Countdown’, and ‘8 Out of 10 Cats’. She has also competed in ‘Tipping Point’ and ‘Million Pound Drop’. Jo presented another series of ‘The Great British Bake Off – An Extra Slice’ and finally capped the year showing off her vocal talents in ‘Gareth Malone’s All Star Choir’ for Children in Need.