MBE (born 29 December 1970) is a Welsh singer best known for his television work with BBC and ITV.Jones came to fame as a treble, known for his cover of "Walking in the Air", originally sung by Peter Auty for the film adaptation of Raymond Briggs's book, The Snowman
. The song peaked at No. 5 in the singles chart in 1985. In recent times, Jones has presented various television programmes for both BBC and ITV.He has been one of the main presenters of Songs of Praise
since 2004, as well as one of the presenters of Escape to the Country
since 2010 and Cash in the Attic
between 2010 and 2013.In September 2012, Jones joined ITV Breakfast to present Daybreak
, alongside Lorraine Kelly and Kate Garraway, having replaced former hosts Christine Bleakley and Adrian Chiles on the show. Jones will leave Daybreak
in 2014 to host a new show for ITV called Weekend
, broadcast every Saturday and Sunday morning.He has presented various programmes on the BBC Radio network, mainly for Radio 2 and participated in the second series of Strictly Come Dancing
in 2004, where he was partnered with professional dancer Lilia Kopylova, he was voted off in the seventh week, narrowly missing out from claiming third place.
Early singing career
Jones was born in St. David's Hospital in Bangor, Wales, the only child of Nest Rowlands, a teacher, and Derek John Jones, a draughtsman for a shipbuilder. He was raised in the small Welsh-speaking community of Llandegfan, in Anglesey and attended Ysgol David Hughes. Jones joined the choir of Bangor Cathedral at age nine and was lead soloist within two years, although he never made Head Chorister. The remarkable quality of his treble voice was appreciated by a member of the congregation, Hefina Orwig Evans, who wrote a letter to local record company Sain, and he was duly signed. In 1982 he won the Cerdd Dant solo competitions for competitors under 12 at the Urdd Eisteddfod.Aled Jones became famous for the cover version of "Walking in the Air", the song from Channel 4's 1982 animated film The Snowman
, based on the book by Raymond Briggs. The record reached No. 5 in the UK charts in 1985. (However, the version used in the film was not performed by Jones, but by Peter Auty, a St. Paul's Cathedral choirboy.)In June 1985, Jones was the subject of the Emmy award winning BBC Omnibus documentary The Treble
. Jones also, with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, was behind the Santa Claus The Movie
, original motion picture soundtrack, Every Christmas Eve
of 1985. Also in 1985, Jones was called by Mike Oldfield to sing in Oldfield's single Pictures in the Dark, a three-voice song along with Anita Hegerland and Barry Palmer, and which became quite popular.His recording career was temporarily halted when his voice broke at 16. By this time he had recorded 16 albums, sold more than six million albums, and sung for Pope John Paul II, the Queen, and the Prince and Princess of Wales in a private recital, as well as presenting numerous children's television programmes. He sang at the wedding of celebrities Bob Geldof and Paula Yates in 1986. He also had the distinction of being the first artist to have two classical albums listed simultaneously in the popular music charts. He also worked with Leonard Bernstein (Chichester Psalms
). In 1986 he sang the oratorio Athalia
with Emma Kirkby. His first biography, "Walking on Air", was published in 1986.
In September 1990, he made his acting debut at the Royal Theatre (Northampton) in Shaun McKenna's adaptation of Richard Llewellyn's How Green Was My Valley
playing the teenage Huw Morgan.Jones went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music and the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, before beginning his adult recording career, with a largely religious/inspirational repertoire. In 1995 he took the leading role in the long-running production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
on a Blackpool pier.In 2005 he launched his autobiography, written in collaboration with Darren Henley.Following the launch of his first baritone album, Aled
(on the Universal Music label) in Australia in May 2003 when he went there on a promotional visit, he has since successfully toured in concert there four times: December 2003, August 2006, October 2008 and August to September 2010, performing in eight cities.Jones has released two singles with Terry Wogan in aid of the Children in Need Appeal.From 3 July until 30 August 2008 Jones played the lead role of Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. He returned to the stage, playing Bob Wallace in White Christmas
at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth and at The Lowry, Salford Quays, from November 2009 until 9 January 2010, and again from 11–26 November 2011 at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, from 1–17 December at the Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin, and at the Empire Theatre, Liverpool (22 December 2011 - 7 January 2012)Following the publication of Aled's Forty Favourite Hymns
in 2009, a further book, Favourite Christmas Carols
, was published on 28 October 2010; Jones took the book on his UK tour in November and December 2010. On 29 November, his CD Aled's Christmas Gift
, was issued to accompany the book.On 11 October 2010, it was announced that Jones would be taking over as stand-in presenter of the early morning breakfast slot on BBC Radio 2 following the departure of Sarah Kennedy, a role which he occasionally covered in the years leading up to Kennedy's departure. Jones covered this slot for six weeks until the week of his UK tour.Jones is currently mentoring choirgirl Isabel Suckling, the youngest classical recording artist signed by Decca Records and first choirgirl to sign a record contract with a major music label to date. Her debut album, greatly endorsed by Jones, who described it as "breathtaking", was released on 29 November 2010.
He was a presenter on Classic FM as well as on Welsh radio (BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru) and television (S4C). In 2006 he joined the BBC, taking over from Don Maclean on Good Morning Sunday
on BBC Radio 2 and The Choir
on BBC Radio 3. He is also a presenter of Friday Night is Music Night
, and has also been a regular stand-in presenter for Sarah Kennedy and Ken Bruce on Radio 2. Jones also presents other programmes for BBC Radio, such as Choir of the Year
and Young Chorister of the Year
. On 4 February 2013 it was announced that Aled would be returning to Classic FM to present a new show from 9:00-12:00 on Sundays, starting on 3 March of the same year.
Jones's appearance as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing
in 2004 brought him to the attention of a wider audience, leading to further tours and albums. It also led to increasing demands on him as a broadcaster.Jones is one of the main presenters of the BBC One television series Songs of Praise
, including the annual "Big Sing" and the recent 50th Anniversary edition from Alexandra Palace. Since 2011, Jones has presented editions of Escape to the Country
and Cash in the Attic
, also for the BBC. In October 2011, he also appeared as a guest presenter on The One Show
.On 4 May 2012, it was announced that Jones would become the new presenter of the ITV Breakfast programme Daybreak
alongside Lorraine Kelly and Kate Garraway, replacing Adrian Chiles. On 3 March 2014, it was announced that Daybreak
was to be axed to make way for a new breakfast programme called Good Morning Britain
, however Aled would not leave the channel for good as he will front his own chat show called Weekend
, which will be broadcast every Saturday and Sunday morning.Since 2012, Aled has annually presented the Christmas Carols on ITV
programme, which airs late on Christmas Eve.
Jones's daughter, Emilia, is an actress, best known for her role as Alice in the Channel 4 series "Utopia" and the BBC One sci-fi series Doctor Who
. She also featured in the episode 'The Rings Of Akhaten'.
Awards and Honours
Jones was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to music and broadcasting and for charitable services. He collected his award on 17 October 2013.On February 14th 2014, Aled Jones was nominated as a Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.