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Jo Brand Interview – Bath Spa University
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Students interview comedy legend Jo Brand

Thursday, 1 February, 2024

Last week, Bath Spa University students packed their bags and headed for London after receiving the unique opportunity to interview comedy legend Jo Brand at her private club in the city.

Jo Brand is a standup comedian, TV regular, and Bafta-winning writer. Her work on QI and Have I Got News for You has granted her national recognition as one of the UK’s best comics.   

From hosting Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice, writing and starring in the BBC’s Getting On and appearing as The Sergeant of Police in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance at London’s Gielgud Theatre, to writing a collection of best-selling books and, perhaps most impressively, going head-to-head with the infamous Alan Sugar for Comic Relief, you would be hard pressed to find a television viewer unfamiliar with her work.   

Before she became a household name, Jo Brand worked as a psychiatric nurse, making her an ideal spokesperson for third-year BA Comedy student Sam Saffron’s dissertation – a documentary tackling mental health in the comedy industry.    

Using his personal experience as a starting point, Sam put his best foot forward and reached out to Jo in the hope she would be willing to share her thoughts and recollections on mental health in the industry.   

Sam was ecstatic to hear that he had secured the interview and set to work planning the trip. He connected with multi-award-winning producer, director, and Senior Lecturer in BA Film, Television and Digital Production at Bath Spa University, Simon Mansfield, who put together a team of students to travel to London with Sam and film the interview.  

Discussing the opportunity, Simon said:   

“Working with a professionally trained film crew took a lot of pressure off Sam. The wonderful Film and TV students are perfectly equipped to handle this sort of situation. We work hard on television production modules to give students stimulating industry reflective challenges, so when exciting opportunities such as this come along, they’re ready to do a good job."   

During the interview, Sam asked Jo some supplementary questions for the new Bath Spa University series, Exposure. Launching next semester, the television magazine show will showcase work, personal stories and performances from across the University. Simon described the series as “a mixture of the BBC's One Show and Later with Jools Holland.”  

Hoping to capture the imagination of students and staff across the University, the first edition of Exposure will feature Sam’s interview with Jo Brand about the important role music plays in her life.   

Simon said:   

“I did a little research and discovered that Jo is a keen musician and has even played an organ recital at the Royal Albert Hall. She also talks eloquently about the therapeutic nature of music and how it has helped her personally during challenging times in her life. It's the perfect story for Exposure, and students and Staff at Bath Spa can look forward to seeing the interview in the first episode of the show.” 

The first episode of Exposure will be broadcast on Bath Spa’s student film site Iris in semester two. 

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