16 November 2016

Family matters

Author: Ruth Jones

Perhaps best known for playing the part of Nessa in the hugely successful BBC television series, “Gavin and Stacey”, which she co-wrote with the actor, James Corden, Ruth also stars in Sky 1’s long-running comedy drama, “Stella”, which she writes and produces with her husband, David Peet.

Here Ruth explains what a family Christmas means to her and why she is determined to support our Carol Concert, even though she has a particularly tough deadline to meet this December.

My family are so important to me because they provide a constant in my life; they’re my security blanket. I have two older brothers and a younger sister and our parents still live in the house in Porthcawl, in South Wales, where we all grew up. These days I live in Cardiff with my husband, David and I have three grown up stepchildren, Fiona who is 32, Louise who is 30 and Alex who is 28. I also have lots of nieces and nephews and so, when we all get together, we’re quite a crowd.

My family are the people I know best in the world and they can always make me laugh. I don’t get to spend as much time with them as I used to (although technology such as ‘Whatsapp’ helps us to stay in touch, thank goodness) but when I do see them, I feel like they recharge my batteries.

I love the fact that my family and I are far from picture book perfect – and that’s especially true at Christmas. Last year my sister and I tried to cook Christmas lunch for 22 at my parents’ house. It was hilariously chaotic! My Dad, who’s 88, likes to eat early so he’d finished his pudding by the time my sister sat down to eat her turkey. It didn’t exactly fit in with those photos you see in the glossy life-style magazines but it was a brilliant day. I actually quite enjoy a bit of chaos and hysteria. I think it’s good to celebrate imperfection – it’s a measure of trust. (We still have some of last year’s turkey in the freezer: curry anyone?)

Christmas this year is going to be even busier than usual because I’m in the process of writing my first novel and I have to deliver the initial draft to my editor by the end of December. It’s called “Never Greener” and it’s a relationship story about what might have been. Writing prose fiction is a different process from script writing and I’m really enjoying this new experience. What I love most is being able to get inside my characters’ heads – a luxury not afforded so much in script writing.

I’m already in Christmas mode though, thanks to filming this year’s “Stella” Christmas Special, up in the Rhondda Valley. We have to film a few months in advance and it’s quite strange filming Christmas with the autumn sun shining outside! It was the same with the Tesco Christmas ads – we filmed some of those during the August heatwave! I’m a new-comer to Hope and Homes for Children but I really wanted to show my support by reading at the Carol Concert this year because I’m a big believer in backing smaller charities. Organisations like Hope and Homes for Children are the unsung heroes of the charity world. They don’t have the PR resources to run big campaigns but their supporters know that they’re really hands-on and that the money that’s donated goes directly to the cause.

I am so blessed in my life, not least because I have a loving family to support me. It’s heart breaking to think of the millions of children around the world who are growing up in institutions, without the love and security of a family. That’s why I wanted to do my tiny bit to help.