Comedian, writer and TV actor Rosie Jones wants to be the role model she never had.

Rosie, who graduated from the University of Huddersfield with a first-class honours BA in English Language and Creative Writing in 2011, returned to the university to receive an honorary doctorate.

Bridlington-born Rosie, a stand-up comedian who recently starred in BBC drama Casualty, couldn’t help joking around and loves the fact she can now call herself ‘Dr Jones.’

Rosie, a gay woman with cerebral palsy, has become one of the must-see acts on the UK comedy circuit in the decade since she graduated from the University of Huddersfield.

She has also starred on shows including The Last Leg, Live at the Apollo, The Jonathan Ross Show, Trip Hazard and The Last Leg in Tokyo.

She has also written for the hit Netflix series Sex Education and published her first book, The Amazing Edie Eckhart, in 2021.

On her return to the university Rosie said: “It feels really emotional and I’ve already seen a lot of familiar faces from my time here, so I’m very happy to be home. Huddersfield prepared me so well and I made friends for life.

“It’s a massive honour, because I hold Huddersfield very close to my heart. It’s just amazing that you remember me!

“But secretly, I’m not allowed to say this, but I’m most excited about changing all my deliveries to Dr Rosie. The power!

“I’m actually already a nightmare, even to my friends. I’m warning them and saying ‘just so you know, you’re going to have to call me Dr Jones.’”

When she received her honorary doctorate, Rosie had this advice for her student audience: “Never forget to have fun, go out and have a kebab!”

However, later she was in a more reflective mood when she recalled her time at the university.

“I think Huddersfield was the first place that I thought: ‘Right, I can be a writer and I’m going to bloody do this.’

“I studied creative writing and I had my first short story published when I was a student here and that just gave me the taste for it.

“I mean, I’m so lucky to be able to perform comedy and then do serious acting roles, but if I’m honest writing scripts and books are the things that give me the most joy and I really found the writer in me when I was here at university.”

Rosie Jones celebrates watched by University of Huddersfield Vice-Chancellor Prof Bob Cryan

Rosie urged young people to follow their dreams and told how she took a job as a TV researcher when, deep down, she wanted to be a writer and comedian.

“For years I pushed that down,” she said. “It was like a pipedream until most of my friends said: ‘Rosie, you are being stupid. You should give it a go.’ So I did and I’ve never looked back.

“I feel you should follow your dream – within reason. Follow your passion even if, in the beginning, it’s just a hobby alongside your career. Hopefully, one day, your dream will become your career.”

Rosie, recently named an LGBT+ “trailblazer”, added: “Growing up being a gay, disabled woman, I would read a book or turn on the TV and never see myself staring back. I don’t feel like I ever had a role model.

“So, when I started to get a platform, I was aware that I wanted to be as vocal as I could about my disability and my sexuality and just be that person that other people can look at and think ‘if she can do it, I can do it.’

“I’m very aware that when I go out there and I say: ‘Here’s my experience’, you may have a different one, but if you want to listen to me, learn from me and be inspired by me, good, but at the end of the day I’m just Rosie.”

The other recipients of honorary doctorates were:

Bo Yang – Chinese film maker
Paul Grimwood CBE – Business leader, former Chairman and CEO of Nestlé USA
Angela Nakafeero – Advisor to the University’s None In Three Centre, which tackles gender-based violence
Andrew Scheps – Grammy-winning music engineer and mixer
Ian Warhurst – Automotive industry leader
John Warhurst – Oscar-winning film sound editor
Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE – Influential leader in engineering and named as one of the 50 most inspiring women in tech.