Gavin and Stacey star Ruth Jones has discovered she unknowingly named her beloved character Nessa after her own ancestors thanks to Who Do You Think You Are?
The proudly Welsh actress is the latest celebrity to delve into her family history for the BBC show, looking into her great-grandfathers, whom she knew little about.
But after speaking to her mother and historians of Wales, Ruth gets emotional on the discovery of a photo containing nine people – the children of her great-great-grandfather on her mother’s side.
They were called The Jenkins family – just like her loudmouth and proud Welsh character, Nessa Shanessa Jenkins.
Until the show, Ruth had no idea that she had unwittingly named the character she played in part due to her own family – and was delighted with the news.
‘It dawned on me today that without realising it, I took on the surname of Jenkins in Gavin and Stacey,’ she stated, baffled. ‘I’m a Jenkins too!
‘I can just imagine she [Nessa] would have got on very well with Evan my great great great grandfather, and David my great great grandfather.’
‘Not sure she’d got on with Nelly, though,’ Ruth then laughed, speaking of one of the nine siblings.
Slipping into the iconic Nessa voice as she added: ‘That Nelly, she’s very difficult. I’m not gonna lie.’
The journey into her family history is particularly emotional for Ruth, as in other moments she’s left in tears after discovering that two of those nine children would go on to die young.
Ruth’s family were mariners by trade for generations, but she discovers that her grandfather has a particular connection to the formation of the NHS.
Henry Richard Jones was a leading figure in the Medical Aid Societies of South Wales, and put pressure on Aneurin Bevan, Minister of Health, into the formation of the National Health Service.
Bevan has since become known as the ‘father of the NHS’, but Henry’s commitment to healthcare for all is still remembered to this day.
‘Good on you, grandfather,’ Ruth declared. ‘You gave back to life and you helped a lot of people. And that’s pretty good going, I think’
Who Do You Think You Are? airs Mondays at 9pm on BBC One.
Credit: Original article published here.