Jan Ravens

Jan Ravens
Born Janet Ravens
(1958-05-14) 14 May 1958
Bebington, Wirral, England, United Kingdom
Occupation Actress
Years active 1983–present
Spouse(s) Steve Brown (div. 1993)
Max Hole (1999-present)

Janet "Jan" Ravens (born 14 May 1958) is an English actress and impressionist, best known for her voices on Spitting Image and Dead Ringers.

Early life

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, where Radio 4 presenter Sheila McClennon (You and Yours) was two years below her. She was educated at Homerton College, Cambridge where she studied Education Studies and Drama[1] and was the first female President of Cambridge University Footlights Club[2] 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. 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?, Have I Got News for You, Alexei Sayle's Stuff[3] and in Dictionary Corner on Channel 4's Countdown (one of the shows parodied on Dead Ringers). She was producer of the Radio 4 comedy Elephants to Catch Eels.


People she regularly imitates 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), Patricia Routledge's Hyacinth Bucket, Queen Elizabeth II, 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.

Other television

Ravens appeared in a series 3 episode (entitled "Monday Morning will be Fine") of David Renwick's series One Foot in the Grave as Pat Aylesbury (one of Meldrew's neighbours who he turns to after being burgled).

From 1996 till 2001 She played Janet Grimley, the mother in The Grimleys, a nostalgic sitcom set in '70s Dudley.

In autumn 2006, Jan Ravens appeared on the popular BBC entertainment programme Strictly Come Dancing partnered with Anton du Beke. She reached the 5th week of the competition, when she was knocked out.

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.

She won the edition of Celebrity Mastermind on 1 January 2008, making her the first woman to win the programme. She also appeared as Effy's art teacher in E4 drama Skins.

In February 2010, she was a panellist on QI, and in 2012 appeared as Susan in the sitcom Hebburn.

Personal life

She married Steve Brown (the couple divorced in 1993) and later the vice-president of Universal Music Group, Max Hole, in July 1999 in Richmond upon Thames. She lives in Barnes. She has three sons - Alfie, Lenny and Louis. Two by her first husband, born in April 1987 and January 1991 and one by her second, born in June 1998.

She is an ambassador for the charity ActionAid and has visited Kenya with the organisation, and raised money for them on Celebrity Mastermind.[4]


External links

News items

Audio clips

Video clips

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