Who Do You Think You Are: Ruth Jones just discovered her family’s link to founding the NHS

Posted by
Hollie Richardson
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites
Ruth Jones

Gavin & Stacey fans loved watching Ruth Jones retrace her family history in this week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? 

Oh, how we love Ruth Jones. The creator and star of Gavin & Stacey, who has also penned best-selling books Never Greener and Us Three, is a Welsh treasure. 

And the Bafta-winning writer and actor made our dreams come true last Christmas when she returned as the iconic Nessa in the Gavin & Stacey special

Speaking of Nessa, Jones slipped back into character at the start of the pandemic to remind people of the importance of social distancing. A bit of a hero, right?

So fans were obviously delighted when it was announced that Jones would star in this week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? And, unsurprisingly, it turns out that she comes from a long line of good eggs. 

You may also like

Gavin And Stacey: why it’s not okay to ignore Ruth Jones’ contribution to the show’s success

In last night’s episode of the BBC’s genealogy show, Jones traced back her ancestry and learned that her grandfather, Henry Richard Jones, was a prominent figure in the Medical Aid Societies of South Wales. 

Henry’s work in the sector led him to regularly contact the then Minister of Health and Tredegar MP, fellow Welshman Aneurin Bevan, about how beneficial a nationwide healthcare service would be. 

And, as we all know, Bevan went on to become the founder of the NHS.

You may also like

Adam Kay: “There’s only one thing I would do for the NHS if I were prime minister”

“The fact that my grandfather was so involved was quite an achievement really,” Jones said while reading Henry’s letters to Bevan.

“What I do feel excited about, in a slightly shallow way, is that my grandfather knew Aneurin Bevan,” she added. “Such an influential figure in our history. Good on you, grandfather. 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: Ruth Jones.
Who Do You Think You Are: Ruth Jones.

But Jones later became emotional after finding a letter Henry had sent to NHS officials that showed he couldn’t find employment within the system after it opened in 1948.

Fans on Twitter were quick to react to the emotional discoveries. 

“So Ruth Jones’ granddad was one of the people who started the concept of the NHS in South Wales! What an amazing story on Who Do You Think You Are?” shared on fan.

“Absolutely beautiful. Ruth Jones is full of soul,” asserted another viewer. “What an accomplishment her grandfather contributed to. That’s the first I heard of the South Wales Medical Association and they led the way of how NHS could work. Bravo. I’m with Ruth’s granda, they should have been compensated.”

And it wasn’t just Jones who fans were obsessed with…

“I am OBSESSED with wonderful historian Sue on Who Do You Think You Are? She’s amazing and Ruth Jones needs to write a character based on her if there’s another series of Gavin & Stacey,” said one journalist. 

“Love me a bit of #WDYTYA and this Ruth Jones episode is a great one,” added another Twitter user. “The local historian woman is an absolute gem.”

To learn more about Jones’ fascinating trail, and discover who Sue the historian is, you can catch up with Who Do You Think You Are? on BBC iPlayer.

Sign up for the latest news and must-read features from Stylist, so you don't miss out on the conversation.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Images: Getty, BBC


Share this article


Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…