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7 things you probably didn’t know about Griff Rhys Jones

Great New Zealand Adventure star Griff Rhys Jones is a man of many talents. Here we discover 7 things you probably didn’t know about him.

He has kissed all the Spice Girls

As part of the 1999 Comic Relief Red Nose Day appeal Griff kissed all the Spice Girls one by one. ‘It was the best kiss of my life,’ he quips. Not surprisingly, he hasn’t kissed Michael Portillo.

He’s welsh by birth

The name probably gives it away but the accent doesn’t. Although Griff was raised in Essex, he was born in 1953 in Cardiff to Welsh parents.

‘I didn’t have a lot to do with Wales for years,’ he said, ‘then I started roaming around Wales for the BBC. I got to know Wales quite well and ended up buying a farm in Pembrokeshire.’

He is the president of The Victorian Society

The Victorian Society fights to protect Victorian and Edwardian heritage from demolition or careless alteration. Griff is passionate about Victorian buildings like St Pancras Station and in his role, he regularly fronts campaigns for the society.

He worked on a ship

Before he went to university, Griff worked for a company who organised school trips. He regularly sailed on P&O ship Uganda (above) and one trip he helped look after 600 Canadian schoolgirls. Griff refers to the experience as being ‘like St Trinians at sea’.  

He made millions with Mel Smith

As well as being one of our favourite TV hosts and an all-round comic genius, Griff is also a very successful businessman. Alongside fellow comic Mel Smith, he founded Talkback. The company produced big British comedy shows including I’m Alan Partridge, Smack the Pony and They Think It’s All over. The pair eventually sold the company for £62 million.

He’s a keen gardener

Rhys and his wife Jo spilt their time between their house in London and home in the village of Holbrook in Suffolk. When they’re in the country, they’re both keen gardeners.

He is a teetotaller

In his early years Rhys was a heavy drinker but these days he is a teetotaller. ‘I don’t really got to parties,’ he says. ‘By about 11 o’clock, everybody goes to another planet and you’re not there with them, so I tend to avoid parties.’

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