Ruth Jones is fiercely proud of her ‘very special’ Welsh identity

By Craig Simpson, Press Association

Ruth Jones has revealed how much she treasures her background and “very special” Welsh identity.

The actress and star of hit series Gavin And Stacey has said growing up surrounded by the unknowingly “hilarious” people of South Wales primed her for future comedy characters.

Jones has said that throughout her career she has loved celebrating her identity, and sharing it on screen.

The actress, raised in Porthcawl, wrote and starred in the Bafta Award-winning Gavin And Stacey, bringing the culture and mannerisms of South Wales to a huge TV audience.

She has carried her identity into the Steve Coogan series Saxondale, and her current comedy series Stella which she co-wrote with husband David Peet.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, Jones said: “I was brought up in South Wales, and people are brilliant. You met such brilliant people who don’t know that they’re funny, who just don’t know that what they’re saying is hilarious.

Ruth Jones and Lauren Laverne in the studio (BBC)

“I just love celebrating that really. I’m a hugely proud Welsh person. I just love it, it’s something very special, being Welsh.”

Grounded in her Cardiff home and eschewing the limelight, Jones said that her roots provide a comfort in the world of celebrity.

When meeting stars such as Barack Obama or Tom Jones – with whom she performed alongside Rob Brydon for Comic Relief – the actress feels safe in her identity.

She said: “I think it’s a sort of comfort blanket to go into my original strong Welsh accent.”

The accent was heard by Obama when the pair met at a dinner in Downing Street in 2013, when the then-US president was impressed by her pronunciation of the word “brilliant”.

Desert Island Discs with Jones can be heard on BBC Sounds and BBC Radio 4, Sunday, 11.15am