The Critic - Edinburgh and London
Jo Brand is playing the part of the Critic in Edinburgh and London.
Since leaving her job as a psychiatric nurse in 1988, 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 the BBC monologue show The Brain Drain. Soon after, she had her hit Through the Cakehole (Channel X for Ch4) sketch show and stand-up series met with great acclaim, as was 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 Never Mind the Buzzcocks (TalkBack Prods for BBC), QI (TalkBack Prods for BBC1), Countdown (YTV for Ch4), 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), appeared on Star Spell, (a spin off from Hard Spell) during 2004 and appeared in a 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!) and reaching the final. She has proved herself an un-willing fashion victim on the BBC1 special What Not to Wear On The Red Carpet, learned 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 sport’s psychologist John Amaechi and drama teacher Jeremy Stockwell, in the eight-part series charting the search for Britain’s Best Young Speaker.
2009 saw her write and star in the utterly marvellous Getting On, in which she played along co-writers Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine, on BBC in the July of that year. The series, set on a mixed hospital ward, was partly inspired by her earlier career in nursing, and was commissioned for a second series to begin filming in 2010.
Jo went on to win a 2011 BAFTA for Best Female Comedy Performance in Getting On. The series received critical acclaim and the third series was broadcast in 2012. She was also seen as the Demon Dinner Lady in the Horrid Henry film and she has continued to develop sitcoms for Vera Productions and What Larks Productions.
A critically acclaimed writer, Jo has written the hit comedy history books A Load Of Old Balls and A Load Of Old Ball Crunchers (both published by Simon & Schuster), and the novels It’s Different For Girls, Sorting Out Billy and The More You Ignore Me (all for Headline Review). Her autobiography Look Back in Hunger was followed by a second one about live performance called I Can’t Stand Up For Sitting Down.
In 2013, Jo sat on the judging panel for ITV’s smash hit Splash and she later put her baking skills 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.
To top 2013 off Jo judged the second series of Splash and continued to appear on shows such as 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, during which she hosted panel shows including Have I Got News For You and appeared 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.
And just to show off, she was also nominated for Comedy Queen at the 2014 British Comedy Awards.
In 2015 Jo continued to tour and appear on a host of popular panel shows including Have I Got News For You, Countdown and QI. 2016 saw her In Conversation with John Bishop and also walking from one side of the North of England to another for Sport Relief and to curate The Museum of Curiosity on Radio 4. She also wrote with Morwenna Banks and Will Smith a six-part social work sitcom Damned for Channel 4, which went on to have a second series this year.
The script of her novel The More You Ignore Me was finally realised as a film in 2016, made by Genesius Productions, in which she also had a small part. The film had a cinematic release this year.