Ruth Jones: 'Rambling can be my new hobby'
Gavin & Stacey star Ruth Jones plays a rambler in BBC4's new sitcom The Great Outdoors. Here she tells us why she loves it... Tell us about Christine, your character in The Great Outdoors... "Christine causes a few ripples when she arrives and it's clear there's going to be conflict between her and Bob [played by Green Wing's Mark Heap]. In some ways, Christine and Bob are very similar; it's more likenesses repelling than opposites attracting." Like it or not, Bob needs Christine in the ramblers' club, doesn't he? "Yes. Christine comes along at a time when the group is under threat of closing down because they haven't got enough members, so it's important to Bob that Christine remains in order for the club to keep going. It's a case of will this rambling club survive or not? How does Christine get along with the rest of the group? "Christine's very much the outsider - she does try and befriend people in the group but has limited success because she has no real social skills. Something happened to her in Barnstaple, where she's from, and she sees hobbies and making friends as a kind of military operation." Ah yes. Christine has been exiled from Barnstaple for a 'rambling crime'. What's she done? "It might be something to do with a certain part of the body... that's all I can say!" Christine's a fan of satellite navigation, isn't she? "She always comes very well-equipped – far more so than any other member of the group and I think she'd love nothing more than to find herself in an emergency situation!" Are there any similarities between Christine and Nessa, your character in Gavin & Stacey? "Christine's more vulnerable than Nessa, but there's a self-assurance and sternness that they share. Although I can't really see Nessa putting on a pair of hiking boots and trudging up the Brecon Beacons!" What do you think real-life ramblers will think of the show? "I think the show's got great affection for ramblers and there's plenty of scope for stories. There's always potential for new members to join the group and it's about what baggage they bring with them." Are you fond of the great outdoors yourself? "I went camping every year as a child and I tried to do the Girl Guide thing, but I wasn't a very good outdoor person. But doing this job has made me want to walk more so maybe rambling can be my new hobby!" *The Great Outdoors starts on BBC4 on Tuesday July 27.
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Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.