Jan has always written comedy, ever since her excruciating Ode to a Dog for the Tiffin school magazine. Her early career, as a journalist, began on music magazines and continued through features, humorous columns and star interviews for major newspapers and magazines. She is still newspaper writer, speaker and broadcaster, contributing travel, features and comment articles to many national newspapers and magazines – most weeks, writing for the Daily Express and Daily Telegraph. Her grand opus, MEN – A COLLECTOR’S GUIDE was published by Thorson’s.
The award-winning husband and wife team of Jan Etherington & Gavin Petrie decided to turn from journalism to scriptwriting when they won the Radio Times Comedy award in 1987 and six months later, launched their first situation comedy SECOND THOUGHTS on BBC Radio 4.
The turbulent early years of living together, with Jan’s son and daughter from her first marriage, was the inspiration for the series, which was established on radio (four series, 31 episodes) before transferring to LWT (5 series, 49 episodes) with original cast: James Bolam, Lynda Bellingham, Julia Sawalha.
The series won the Silver Medal at the New York Festivals, two years running.
NEXT OF KIN, their first BBC TV series (1995-97) starring Penelope Keith and William Gaunt as reluctant grandparents ran to three successful series and is still extremely popular world-wide.
THE CHANGE – a six-part series, starring Lynda Bellingham, Chris Ellison and Sylvia Syms – began on BBC Radio 4 in November 2001 and ran for 3 series.
DUCK PATROL (LWT) which, in 1998 attracted the highest ITV sitcom audience since 1995, is about the River Police and filmed entirely on the Thames (starring Richard Wilson)
FAITH IN THE FUTURE for LWT – Won a British Comedy Award in 1997 for Best ITV Comedy – 3 series stars Lynda Bellingham/ Julia Sawalha/ Jeff Rawle.