Jan Ravens

Jan Ravens

Date of birth: 14-05-1958
Now known as an impressionist, Jan Ravens was the first female president of Cambridge University's Footlights club, and directed their 1981 show which won the first ever Perrier Award. She then moved on to radio production, including Radio 4's Week Ending.

She came to public prominence after joining the cast of Jasper Carrott's TV show Carrott's Lib in 1983, before joining the cast of Spitting Image. Her impersonations were also a regular part of Alistair McGowan's Big Impressions, 2DTV and Dead Ringers.

As an actress, she spent a year with the RSC in 1994 and has appeared in Alexei Sayle's Stuff as well as a string of sitcoms including Simon Brett’s No Frills (1988), the Richard Wilson vehicle Duck Patrol (1998) and ITV's Seventies-set sitcom The Grimleys (1999).

In autumn 2006, Ravens appeared on Strictly Come Dancing, partnered with Anton du Beke, and in January 2008 she won an edition of Celebrity Mastermind.

Twice married, first to composer Steve Brown and then Universal music executive Max Hole, Ravens has three sons – including the young comedian Alfie Brown.

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Jan Ravens pulls her Edinburgh show for her own well-being

'I hoped for healing or catharsis - the opposite was the case'

Jan Ravens has pulled out of the Edinburgh Fringe – after finding that writing her show reopened old wounds.

The Dead Ringers impressionist had promised a ‘soul-baring new show’ about what it feels like to be a professional impostor with impostor syndrome’. However, she has today pulled out of her intended run at the Gilded Balloon.

In a statement, she said: ‘With much regret, I have decided to not move ahead with my Edinburgh show this year.

‘Doing a show which was a combination of memoir and impressions caused me to revisit the traumatic after-effects of a near-fatal illness in the family. 

‘I embarked on the project thinking it might have brought some healing or catharsis, and in fact, the opposite seemed to be the case. I have made the decision to not develop this particular show (or a new one from scratch) based on my own mental health and well-being.

‘I’m so sorry to anyone who has bought tickets. Hope to see you all before too long.’

She did not go into details of the illness in the family.

In 2015, her record industry executive husband Max Hole stepped down as head of  Universal Music Group International following a diagnosis of encephalitis – an inflammation of the brain – which affected his memory.  But in a Music Week interview two years later he was described as ‘sharp, focused and likely to be the smartest guy in any room that doesn’t contain Albert Einstein’.

Ravens only made her first solo appearance at the Fringe in 2017 – although she directed the Cambridge Footlights team of Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson and Tony Slattery in the show which won the first Perrier Award in 1981.

Although she appeared on stage with the rest of the Dead Ringers team just last month, her new show, Who Do I Think I Am? marked a move away from pure impressions and was described as ‘combining satire with Jan's own bittersweet backstory’.

As long ago as 2004 she spoke about being hit by depression, which she treated with Prozac, and has also used alternative medicine and more conventional psychotherapy to help with her well-being, saying: ‘Therapy helped, partly because you have somebody you can say anything to, and no judgment is being made. It gives you the time and space to explore stuff that you just don’t have time to touch on in your ordinary life — if you did, you’d spend all your time in tears.’

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Published: 3 Jun 2019

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Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2012


Edinburgh Fringe 2017

Jan Ravens: Difficult Woman

Edinburgh Fringe 2018

Rory Bremner and Jan Ravens

Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Dead Ringers Live


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