Actress and impressionist best known for Spitting Image and Dead Ringers.
Whilst studying drama at Cambridge Jan Ravens became the first female president of the famous amateur dramatics club, Footlights, in 1979-80. After graduating she became a radio comedy producer, working on such shows as BBC Radio 4’s Elephants to Catch Eels.
Jan joined the cast of Jasper Carrott’s British satirical comedy Carrott’s Lib in 1983. She went on to make many memorable performances on shows such as Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Have I Got News for You, Alexei Sayle’s Stuff, QI, and Mock the Week. But it is for her impressions on the satirical puppet show Spitting Image and the BBC Radio 4 (later BBC Two) show Dead Ringers, alongside Jon Culshaw and Phil Cornwell, that Jan is best known.
Celebrities and personalities that Jan regularly imitates are Newsnight host Kirsty Wark, Charlotte Green of BBC Radio 4, Ellen MacArthur (who regularly bursts into tears), Nigella Lawson, who constantly speaks with double entendres, a racy Ann Widdecombe, Hyacinth Bucket, Queen Elizabeth, a chirpy Sandi Toksvig, a rather stern-faced Gillian McKeith, Sophie Raworth (with a bemused school-girl grin), a salacious Fiona Bruce, and a power-abusing Anne Robinson.
Jan Ravens also appeared on the popular BBC entertainment programme Strictly Come Dancing, in 2006, and was partnered with Anton du Beke, and, in the following year, starred in Ronni Ancona’s comedy sketch show, Ronni Ancona & Co..
Advertising & Voice Over Talent
Jan is an experienced voice artist and has done much voice over and advertising work; she was the Cadbury’s Caramel bunny for several years and the seductive voice of a can of apple Tango.
On the radio her voice has been soothing and friendly to advertise the Wrigley Company’s Lockets brand, sensual and mellow for Nescafe Gold Blend, and upbeat and friendly for Eurostar. Jan Ravens also impersonated a Japanese cyber babe in a radio ad for Halfords.