You ask the questions: (Such as: Griff Rhys Jones, how do you think you will handle being Prince Edward's father-in-law?)

Click to follow
Griff Rhys Jones was born in Cardiff in 1953 and spent his childhood in Essex. He studied English and history at Cambridge University. He started work at the BBC as a radio producer before moving into television to work on Not the Nine O'Clock News. In 1998 he produced his 11th series of Smith and Jones. He has recently finished producing the Griff Rhys Jones Show for BBC Radio2 and is currently hosting his spoof discussion show, Do Go On, for Radio 4.

If you could choose to act any character in a film or play, who would it be?

Elisabeth Tinner, Edinburgh

I should like to play evil villains. Recently I was asked to play a 6ft vampire hunter. Unfortunately, the director took one look at me and said: "You are wrong for the part." I was very disappointed.

Years ago I saw you in an excellent Play for Today (I can't remember the title, but it was constantly raining). Have you considered taking on any other serious roles?

Angela West, Skegness, Lincs

That was A View by Harry Clarke, about a decade ago, and it was my first serious role. I played an alcoholic who murders his children. That was about as serious as I'm ever going to get. I also decided I would never play a part where the rain cost more than me.

How would you describe your relationship with Mel Smith? What about him do you love and what do you hate?

Edward McKay, Weston Hills, Lincs

Mel has the loyalty of a water buffalo and the intelligence of a bee and he looks like a hippo, so you have to adore him. Nothing else is allowed.

How will you handle being Prince Edward's father-in-law?

David Hasell, Thames Ditton

I think it's a very great thing for the prince to marry into the Rhys Jones family. Actually Sophie and I are not related, we just both come from the same sort of middle-class family who wanted to jolly up our status with a Welsh name.

Did you tell jokes when you were at school? Are you a naturally funny person or do you have to work very hard at it?

Norman Wilson, Tarnock, Somerset

I enjoy being in the company of people who are in a mood to be amused - and I think that was true at school - rather than working hard. I like being in gangs.

Would you have been as talented and funny if you were tall and thin?

Sean Linehan, Highgate, London

I am tall and thin, I just look short and fat.

How did you vote at the last election? If there was an election tomorrow, how would you vote?

Diana Murray, Harrogate, N Yorks

I went into a polling booth and put an X on the spot and, unless they change the system, I'll do the same at the next election.

Why did you choose to go to Cambridge University?

Ruth Lake, Harpenden, Herts

Because I could. Because it's less noisy than Oxford, and light blue suits me.

Are you still in touch with Rowan Atkinson and Pamela Stevenson?

Ann Driver, Bridport, Dorset

Rowan I see at charity gigs, as we are always put in the same dressing room for some reason. The last one we did we shared with Vinnie Jones, who called me Taff. Strangely enough, he plays for Wales... Pamela is now a therapist in California, and I haven't got so bad that I've had to make an appointment to see her. Yet.

How many times do you think about sex on average per day?

Carol Lindsay, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire

I've never really counted. I'd also have to say there's no such thing as an average day. When I'm working in the sex shop, I think about sex all the time. Most of the time I don't think about it enough.

Do you believe in God? How did you celebrate Easter?

Raymond Milnes, Hartpury, Gloucs

I don't believe in God. I spent Easter like everyone else, eating chocolate and worrying about the war.

Do you have any pets?

Dennis Lewis, Maidenhead, Bucks

I have 11 ducks and one labrador puppy. My job is to keep the one set of pets away from the other.

What is your most painful after-dinner speaking experience?

Janey Bridgman, Norwich

The first time I did it, it was at the Colchester Society for the Preservation of Law and Order. I had written a rather tame speech and the person who spoke before me delivered 15 minutes of the bluest material I have heard. And the society rocked. I was left tearing up my speech. They hanged me - which is probably what they'd come together to do in the 18th century, and were simply continuing the tradition.

Which comedian do you admire most and why?

Karen Burgess, Cambridge

I think Paul Merton is the funniest person on television; Rory McGrath is the funniest to be with. Walter Matthau I can only worship.

How do you feel about criticism that your latest Smith and Jones series is boring and unoriginal?

Rupert Moore, Steyning, W Sussex

I wish Mel would stop saying that.

How do you think your life would have been different if you looked like Mel Smith?

Tom Blumer, Kensington, London

We'd have been a most peculiar double act.

Can you describe your first ever romance? When did you first have your heart broken?

Maria Diakow, London

I joined the ballroom dancing society at school in order to meet girls. Jimpson (that was my friend) and I got off with identical twins. Whenever the door opened, I could never tell whether my heart was supposed to be beating or whether I was supposed to be making pleasantries. My heart was broken as a result of that coming to an end - but there were plenty more girls at the ballroom dancing class.

Do you think that your fame has made you more popular with the ladies? When was the last time that you were propositioned?

Megan Alvarez, Cirencester

I don't think so, my worst reviews always come from lady reviewers. The last time I had a proposal was when I was in Not the Nine O'Clock News. I got a letter saying: "I don't just want to be friends with you, I want to have sex as well." Which was the opposite of what I had intended.

Have you ever been arrested?

Darren Batterbury, Liverpool

No - although I know it reduces my credibility.

Where did you get your accent? Did you ever have a Welsh accent?

David Murdoch, Helensburgh, Dumbartonshire

It's Welsh in origin. The consonants come from Midhurst and the vowels from Harlow. We moved around a lot, and I grew up confused.

Are the face-to-face characters in Smith and Jones based on people you have actually met?

Patrick Dean, Saffron Walden, Essex

Yes, taxi drivers, who are now the only people I meet, alas.

Do you see Smith and Jones as the natural successor to Morecambe and Wise? If not, who?

Mary Roper, Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire

Not particularly. Nobody will ever fill Morecambe and Wise's shoes. We tried to be more Two Ronnies.

Did you ever get teased about your chin when you were at school?

Robert Webbe, Willesden, London

Well, I took it on the ear.

Is it true you write over 80 per cent of the Smith and Jones scripts?

Trudy Foster, Birmingham

Unfortunately I do write most of it. The best of it is written by Paul Powell, Mike Haskins, and Burton and O'Farrell.

Next Week

Ian Botham, followed by Kenneth Clarke

SEND questions for the cricketing legend Ian Botham and leading Tory Europhile Kenneth Clarke, to: You Ask the Questions, Features, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL (fax 0171-293 2182, or e-mail yourquestions@ independent.co.uk), by 12 noon on Friday 9 April

Comments