Gethin Clifford Jones (born 12 February 1978) is a Welsh television presenter best known for co-presenting the long-running BBC children's show Blue Peter.
An active rugby union player when at the Manchester Metropolitan University and for a time after graduation, Jones began his television career on Welsh channel S4C as a presenter of children's programmes such as Popty, Mas Draw and the flagship children's entertainment show Uned 5 (Unit 5, 20022005). In 2005, he became the 31st presenter of Blue Peter, the world's longest-running children's television series. On 8 April 2008 he announced he would be leaving the programme at the end of the season in June 2008.
Jones has also hosted major live telecasts of events like Mardi Gras in Cardiff and New Year Live (2007) and since 2008 has co-hosted E24, which is shown on BBC News, the BBC's 24-hour news channel. He has made guest appearances in various programmes, including The Mighty Boosh (2004) and Doctor Who (2006). In 2007 Jones was a contestant in Series 5 of Strictly Come Dancing, achieving third place.
Early life and education
Gethin Jones was born on 12 February 1978 in Cardiff, Wales, to Goronwy Jones, headteacher of Baden Powell Primary School, and his Polish wife Sylvia, a violin teacher. He has an older sister named Mereid and a nephew, Alby. With Welsh as his first language, he attended Ysgol Gynradd Coed-y-Gof and Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf (Llandaff Welsh Comprehensive School) in Llandaff North, Cardiff, for his primary and secondary school education respectively. Jones had Grade 8 violin and Grade 6 piano qualifications, and was in school musicals and the school orchestra. He took Biology, Geography and Economics at A-Levels.
Jones had dual interests throughout school his mother wanted him to develop his musical talents, while he enjoyed rugby union. While studying Economics and Geography at the Manchester Metropolitan University where he gained a 2:2, he was captain of the university's rugby first team and played in the Lancashire under-21 team. At the age of 21 in his final year, he was offered trials by Sale RFC. However, after his father turned down a request for financial assistance and he experienced difficulties trying to play whilst supporting himself as a gym trainer, he found that his on-field capabilities suffered. He eventually set aside his plans for a professional rugby career and returned to Wales.
Prior to his television career, Jones worked as a bank clerk, a telephone hotline officer, and a research assistant, and spent three months as a builder laying house foundations. His first TV appearance was as a contestant on Blind Date in 1997, but it was only later that he joined Welsh channel S4C as a presenter of children's programmes such as Popty (the Welsh equivalent of Top of the Pops), Mas Draw, and the flagship children's entertainment show Uned 5 (Unit 5, September 2002 2005). In 2004, as part of a challenge on the show, he learned how to fly a plane and gained his pilot's licence.
In 2003 he was voted Bachelor of the Year by the readers of Company magazine.
 As presenter
On 26 April 2005, Jones became the 31st presenter (and second Welshman after Tim Vincent) on the world's longest-running children's television series, Blue Peter. He auditioned on the same day as co-presenter Zöe Salmon. He has since presented the show with her and with Konnie Huq, Matt Baker, Liz Barker and Andy Akinwolere. As a presenter he took on the action/adventure role formerly held by John Noakes; highlights included flying with the Red Arrows and in a World War II Supermarine Spitfire, completing submarine escape training with the Royal Navy, surviving the Bolivian jungle, being attacked by an alligator in Louisiana, learning to race like a jockey, and fighting as a samurai warrior in Japan.
In 2006, he became the first civilian to finish the Royal Marine Commando 30-mile (48 km) Yomp he finished in a time of 8 hrs 20 mins. He also played the violin at the Proms with the BBC Philharmonic.
Beginning on Jones's 30th birthday on 12 February 2008, he and his Blue Peter co-presenters climbed the four highest peaks in the United Kingdom, starting with Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland, followed by Snowdon in North Wales. The following day, having travelled overnight by coach to the Lake District, they climbed Scafell Pike. They were then to be transported to Scotland by helicopter to climb Ben Nevis but were unable to do so because of problems with the helicopter which forced them to land in Oban. They succeeded in climbing the mountain the next day. This challenge was in aid of Sport Relief 2008.
Jones announced on 8 April 2008 on Blue Peter that after three and half years on the show he would be leaving it at the end of the series in June. His spokeswoman said he had always planned to leave when he turned 30. Jones said, "I've had a career on Blue Peter that you wouldn't even dream about and for that I feel privileged and fortunate. ... I've loved it, lived it ... and now I feel the time is right to leave it."
Jones has been a presenter for a number of major live telecasts, including Mardi Gras in Cardiff in front of 40,000 people, Y Briodas Fawr (The Big Wedding), and Jones, Jones, Jones (2006) at Cardiff's Millennium Centre where the world record was broken for the biggest gathering of people with the same surname. He co-presented the 2007 New Year's Eve programme New Year Live on BBC One with Myleene Klass and Nick Knowles, which drew 9.2 million viewers. On 16 February 2008, Jones began presenting a new 15-minute entertainment show entitled E24 on BBC News with James Dagwell. From 15 July 2008, for a period of two months, he will present a three hour Saturday morning show on BBC radio station Five Live focusing on sport and entertainment.
Between 4 May and 11 May 2008, Jones was the narrator and presenter of the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2008. The biennial music competition was held at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff, and broadcast on BBC Two and BBC Four.
Other television work
Jones appeared as one of the Mutants in an episode in Series 1 of the The Mighty Boosh (2004), and as a Cyberman in a 2006 episode of Doctor Who. He guest-starred as himself in The Sarah Jane Adventures pilot "Invasion of the Bane" (2007).
In 2007 Jones participated in Series 5 of Strictly Come Dancing, partnering Camilla Dallerup. He came third after being voted out in a "dance-off" in the semi-final. He also appeared in the programme's Christmas Special, finishing second behind Darren Gough after each couple received a perfect score.
Jones had been in a relationship prior to joining Blue Peter, but it ended when he moved from Wales to London to take up the job. In December 2007 Jones became romantically involved with Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins. According to him, they first met in 2005 when she appeared on Blue Peter and he was struck by how good she was with kids: "You kind of think people like that are all going to be false, but she really wasn't at all, and I like that. She really is lovely, a typical Neath girl." Newspapers reported that they got together after Jenkins sang "Time To Say Goodbye" with Italian opera singer Andrea Boccelli on an episode of Strictly Come Dancing broadcast on 21 October 2007. Jenkins' spokesman has said: "They're old friends and they've been on several dates. But people shouldn't consider buying hats just yet."
Jones is a keen footballer (he supports Everton Football Club), tennis player and golfer. He is short-sighted and wears contact lenses or glasses.