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 a popular, humorous, 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, the paperback 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, on two consecutive years.
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.
Their most recent work includes:
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 Best ITV Comedy at the British Comedy Awards ’97. – 3 series starring Lynda Bellingham, Julia Sawalha and Jeff Rawle.
THE OTHER MAN – a 6 part romantic comedy for BBC Radio 4 began in March 2006.
STARRY, STARRY NIGHT – a stage play – was produced at The Mill at Sonning Theatre in May/June 2006.
BETTER OFF DEAD – a screenplay is just completed.
***PARADISE CAFÉ - a 13 part, teen comedy drama for the BBC, through Initial/Endemol, filmed in NZ and the Cook Islands ran for two series on BBC2 in 2010/ 2011.
Jan contributes to a number of BBC Radio 4 sketch shows and shares the writing credits with Pam Ayres on the series ‘Ayres on the Air’.
She is also a frequent guest and writer on Woman’s Hour.
Independently, Jan has written screenplays of her play STARRY, STARRY NIGHT and THE CHANGE (re-titled THE OTHER WOMAN) and adapted a screenplay for the DICK FRANCIS novel BANKER. She is also a popular public speaker and a comedy writing tutor. Information on her comedy writing courses can be accessed on www.comedycourse.biz
Jan is a member of the Writers’ Guild, Society of Authors, Women in Film & Television and a Patron of the National Academy of Writing.
The first series of NEXT OF KIN and all 5 series of SECOND THOUGHTS are available on DVD.