Everyone has one main writing heroine: a person who made them see how beautiful and powerful writing could be, and inspired them to use their own talent for words. For me, it has to be Ruth Jones.
Ruth Jones is the creative force behind some of the nation’s best loved programs- Gavin and Stacey and Stella to name but two. She even co-wrote episodes of Fat Friends! This was where I first saw her, playing the bubbly Kelly, who attended the slimming group with her mum. She played the character with such confidence and energy that the viewer was drawn into her story, which was revealed throughout the four series of the show.
She is perhaps known best to many as Nessa from Gavin and Stacey, the straight-talking best friend of Stacey who has an unlikely partnership with Gavin’s best friend Smithy. She also wrote the show with James Corden who plays Smithy. The simple, heart-warming story of a woman from Barry falling in love with a man from Billericay captured the nation’s hearts and left everyone on tenterhooks to find out what would happen to the much-loved characters. Ruth’s talents as both a writer and an actress shone through as she played Nessa with a comical grittiness that contrasted brilliantly to Smithy’s laid-back Essex boy nature. On paper, they were so wrong for each other but this was why they worked so well. Ruth and James created believable characters and a story that got under your skin right from the beginning. It took one view of Ruth and Rob Brydon singing Islands in the Stream on YouTube for me to buy the first series on DVD! I have been a fan ever since.
Along with her husband David Peet, Ruth created Tidy Productions, an independent production company committed to making quality dramas. They have done many pieces for both TV and radio. Their most successful venture has undoubtedly been Stella, a comedy/drama set in the Welsh valleys about a single mother and her dysfunctional family. Each character has their own story and they are woven together effortlessly, making for a highly watchable drama. The writing is refreshingly honest, the story simple and engaging. Ruth’s ability to draw viewers into her world is amazing. She encourages you to care about the characters and follow their stories through to the end. Her flair for creating dramatic series finales is well-known. I came back from a holiday to Paris and, instead of going to bed, I stayed up until stupid o’clock to see what happened to Stella, Emma, Sunil and the rest of Stella’s loveable family and friends.
Ruth’s phenomenal writing ability has definitely inspired me in my own writing endeavours. I aspire to be even a quarter as good as her at creating realistic characters that draw you into stories, making you invest emotionally in their journeys. Stella returns for a much-awaited second series in January and I would encourage anyone to watch it, even just to see how quality the writing is. Trust me you won’t regret it- I guarantee you’ll become obsessed within minutes!