Michael Joseph Pennington
5 September 1970
(m. 2002; div. 2008)
|Medium||Stand-up, television, film|
Michael Joseph Pennington (born 5 September 1970), better known as Johnny Vegas, is an English comedian, actor, writer and director. He is known for his portly figure, angry comedic rants, surreal humour, Lancashire accent, and husky voice.
His television roles have included Al in the ITV Digital and PG Tips adverts, drug dealer Moz in the BBC dark comedy Ideal, Geoff Maltby aka "The Oracle" in the ITV sitcom Benidorm, and Eric Agnew in the BBC sitcom Still Open All Hours. Besides acting and stand-up appearances, he is a frequent panelist on shows such as QI and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.
Vegas was born Michael Joseph Pennington on 5 September 1970 in the Thatto Heath area of St Helens, Lancashire, the youngest of four children of Lawrence and Patricia (née Jones) Pennington. He and his elder siblings Robert, Mark, and Catharine were brought up as Roman Catholics. At the age of 11, he attended St Joseph's College in Upholland, a Catholic boarding-school seminary, to train for the priesthood, but came back homesick after four terms.
After studying art and ceramics at Middlesex University for three years and gaining a third class degree, Vegas returned to Thatto Heath and took various short-term jobs including working in an Argos warehouse, selling boiler insurance door-to-door, packing bottles of Cif in a factory, and bartending at the Brown Edge pub.
Television and radio
In 1996, Vegas made his television debut as a contestant on Win, Lose or Draw in the UK under his real name of Michael, but made references to the fact he wanted to be a comedian and that his stage name was "Johnny Vegas". He featured on The Big Breakfast during the programme's final months before it ended in March 2002.
His appearance was briefly shown during Channel 4's 100 Greatest Stand-Ups and BBC Three's Almost Famous 2. Vegas gained a wider audience as a regular member of Shooting Stars. His character was a pitiable sort always nursing a pint of Guinness. In 2001 he appeared on the Weakest Link, in a comedians special and beat Barry Cryer to win the jackpot of £10,200.
In 2002, Vegas starred in the BBC Radio 4 sitcom Night Class, which he co-wrote with Tony Burgess and Tony Pitts, with Dirk Maggs as director. Vegas played a former Butlin's redcoat teaching evening classes in pottery. It was a runner-up for best comedy at the Sony Radio Academy Awards.
In August 2014, Vegas took part in ITV's two-part documentary series Secrets from the Clink. In May 2013, Vegas played the role of Lord Ratspeaker in a BBC radio adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, adapted by Dirk Maggs.
Since 26 December 2013, Vegas has played Wet Eric Agnew in the revived BBC sitcom Still Open All Hours. Vegas has guest presented numerous episodes of Sunday Brunch for Channel 4.
In August 2016, Vegas starred in a one-off comedy pilot called Home From Home, playing the lead role of Neil Hackett. Filmed at Skiddaw View Holiday Park, the episode aired on BBC Two on 30 August 2016. In December 2016 it was announced that Home From Home had been commissioned for a full series to air on BBC One in 2018.
Beginning in September 2019 Vegas has starred as the voice of the title character in the surreal children's animated series The Rubbish World of Dave Spud.
He is a regular panellist on the quiz show QI, having starred in 12 episodes as of 2019.
Johnny has appeared as a guest panellist and team captain on Channel 4's 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, appearing in 11 episodes. On 9 September 2017 he gained critical acclaim for his long poem about a drunk patron during last calls before bars closing.
In 2003, Vegas played Jackie Symes in the film The Virgin of Liverpool, Alf Prince in the film Cheeky and Trevor in the film Blackball. In 2004, he played Dave in the film Sex Lives of the Potato Men and voiced Uncle Stewart in the film Terkel in Trouble. In 2013, Vegas was the voice of Abu the hamster in the British film The Harry Hill Movie.
Vegas appeared in Joe Orton's The Erpingham Camp at the 2000 Edinburgh Festival. In 2001, Vegas starred as Al in adverts for ITV Digital with a puppet named Monkey (voiced by Ben Miller). In 2007, he reprised the role in adverts for PG Tips tea.
Having achieved fame in entertainment, Vegas received plaudits for his ceramic work. Ceramic Review praised him, leading to a role in Pot Shots (collaborating with Roger Law), a film made for an international gathering of potters. This led to his work being acquired for a collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum and a commission from Old Spice to design a bottle for their aftershave.
In August 2002, Vegas married Catherine "Kitty" Donnelly and sold pictures of the wedding to Viz magazine for a pound. The marriage ended in the run-up to Christmas 2006, after which they divorced.
In April 2011, Vegas married Irish television presenter and producer Maia Dunphy in Seville. In January 2015, the couple announced that they were expecting their first child together. On 14 May 2018 Maia Dunphy confirmed that she and Johnny had separated in late 2017. The couple reconciled in November 2018, but were separated as of April 2020.
|2003||The Virgin of Liverpool||Jackie Symes|
|2004||Sex Lives of the Potato Men||Dave|
|Reuben Don't Take Your Love to Town||Café owner||Short|
|Terkel in Trouble||Uncle Stewart (voice)||English version|
|2005||Blake's Junction 7||Blake||Short|
|2013||Blood and Nuts||Gordon Bennett|
|The Harry Hill Movie||Abu (voice)|
|2016||Grimsby||Milky Pimms||U.S. title: The Brothers Grimsby|
|The Drowning of Arthur Braxton||Arthur Braxton Sr.|
|2018||Early Man||Asbo (voice)|
|Eaten by Lions||Ray|
|2019||Tales from the Lodge||Russell|
|Paul Dood's Deadly Lunchbreak||Rexsan|
|1996||Win, Lose or Draw||Himself||Contestant (1 episode)||ITV|
|2001||Attention Scum!||24-hour news man||6 episodes||BBC Two|
|The Weakest Link||Himself||Comedians special|
|2000–2013||Never Mind the Buzzcocks||Guest / Team captain / Host (5 episodes)|
|2001–2003||Happiness||Charlie Doyle||12 episodes|
|2002||Shooting Stars||Himself||Regular panellist (19 episodes)||BBC Choice|
|Black Books||Fran's landlord||Episode: "Fever"||Channel 4|
|Staying Up||Frank O'Hanlon||TV film||BBC Choice|
|Tipping the Velvet||Gully Sutherland||TV mini-series (1 episode)||BBC Two|
|2003||Ed Stone Is Dead||Waiter||Episode: "All You Can Eat"||BBC Choice|
|Top Gear||Himself||Guest (series 3, episode 8)||BBC Two|
|2005||Dead Man Weds||Lewis Donat||6 episodes||ITV|
|18 Stone of Idiot||Himself||Host (6 episodes)||Channel 4|
|Bleak House||Krook||TV mini-series (6 episodes)||BBC One|
|ShakespeaRe-Told||Nick Bottom||TV mini-series (episode: "A Midsummer Night's Dream")|
|2005–2011||Ideal||Moz / Roger||Regular role (54 episodes)||BBC Three|
|2005–2019||8 Out of 10 Cats||Himself||Regular panellist (13 episodes)||Channel 4|
|2007–2009, 2015–2017||Benidorm||Geoff Maltby aka "The Oracle"||Regular role (34 episodes)||ITV|
|2007–2019||QI||Himself||Regular panellist (12 episodes)||BBC Four / BBC Two / BBC One|
|2008||Alan Carr's Celebrity Ding Dong||Contestant / Team leader (1 episode)||Channel 4|
|Massive||Tony||6 episodes||BBC Three|
|2009–2018||The Graham Norton Show||Himself||Guest (3 episodes)||BBC One|
|2010||Checkov Comedy Shorts||Tolkachov||Episode: "A Reluctant Tragic Hero"||Sky Arts 2|
|Dave's One Night Stand||Himself||Headline act (1 episode)||Dave|
|2011||Show Me the Funny||Guest judge||ITV|
|The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff||The Artful Codger||Episode: "Christmas Special"||BBC Two|
|Little Crackers||Kevin||Episode: "Johnny Vegas's Little Cracker: I Was a Teenage Santa!"||Sky One|
|2011–2020||Celebrity Juice||Himself||Regular panellist (30 episodes)||ITV2|
|2012||The Matt Lucas Awards||Guest (1 episode)||BBC One|
|Rude Tube||Computer||2 episodes: "Utter Fails" & "Animal Anarchy"||Channel 4 / E4|
|The Cow That Almost Missed Christmas||Brian (voice)||TV film||CBeebies|
|Mr Stink||Dad (Mr. Croombe)||BBC One|
|2012–2014||A League of Their Own||Himself||Guest panellist (2 episodes)||Sky One|
|2012–2015||Moone Boy||Crunchie Haystacks||6 episodes|
|2013||Common Ground||Rupert||Episode: "Rupert"||Sky Atlantic|
|It's Kevin||Billy Pike||1 episode||BBC Two|
|Moving On||Drive-through burger server / Taxi controller (voices)||Uncredited (2 episodes: "That's Amore" & "Back by Six")||BBC One|
|The Jonathan Ross Show||Himself||Guest (1 episode)||ITV|
|2013–2014||Have I Got News for You||Guest (2 episodes)||BBC One|
|2013–2018||Sunday Brunch||Guest / Presenter (7 episodes)||Channel 4|
|2013–2019||Still Open All Hours||Wet Eric Agnew||Regular role (40 episodes)||BBC One|
|2014||Warren United||Fat Baz (voice)||6 episodes||ITV4|
|All Star Mr & Mrs||Himself||Contestant (with wife Maia Dunphy; 1 episode)||ITV|
|Secrets from the Clink||Participant|
|Crackanory||Host / Presenter (1 episode: "Self Storage & the Obituary Writer")||Dave|
|Psychobitches||Salome||TV mini-series (1 episode)||Sky Arts|
|2014–2015||Celebrity Fifteen to One||Himself||Guest (2 episodes)||Channel 4|
|2014–2016||Duck Quacks Don't Echo||Panellist (3 episodes)||Sky One|
|2015||Travel Guides||Narrator (4 episodes)||ITV|
|House of Fools||Bradford butcher||Episode: "The Botox Affair"||BBC Two|
|Brilliantman!||Mrs. Wardale||TV short||Sky Arts|
|The Jonathan Ross Show||Himself||Guest (1 episode)||ITV|
|2015–2016||Drunk History||Vicar Andrew / Baby Jesus||2 episodes||Comedy Central|
|Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled||Himself||Guest (2 episodes)||Dave|
|2015–2019||Through the Keyhole||Celebrity panellist (3 episodes)||ITV|
|8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown||Contestant / Team captain (12 episodes)||Channel 4|
|The Last Leg||Guest (12 episodes)|
|2016||The Comedy Strip Presents... Red Top||Johnny||TV film||Gold|
|Neil Galman's Likely Stories||Daniel||TV mini-series (episode: "Closing Time")||Sky Arts|
|Lip Sync Battle UK||Himself||Contestant (episode: "Jonny Vegas vs. Vic Reeves")||Channel 5|
|Drive||Contestant; finished in fourth place||ITV|
|Travel Man||Guest (episode: "48 Hours in Dubai")||Channel 4|
|Celebrity Storage Hunters||Main buyer (episode: "Banbury")||Dave|
|Tipping Point: Lucky Stars||Contestant (1 episode)||ITV|
|Alan Carr's 12 Stars of Christmas||Guest||Channel 4|
|2016–2017||The Funny Thing About...||Presenter (6 episodes)||Channel 5|
|2016–2018||Home from Home||Neil Hackett||Regular role (7 episodes)||BBC Two (pilot) / BBC One (series)|
|2017||The 2,000,000 Calorie Buffet||Himself||Narrator, TV film documentary||Channel 4|
|The Great Pottery Throw Down||1 episode||BBC Two|
|Red Dwarf||Crit Cop||Episode: "Timewave"||Dave|
|Murder on the Blackpool Express||Terry||TV film||Gold|
|2018||Death on the Tyne|
|The Queen and I||Spiggy||Sky One|
|2019||Celebrity Catchphrase||Himself||Contestant (1 episode)||ITV|
|All Round to Mrs. Brown's||Guest (1 episode)||BBC One|
|Good Omens||Ron Ormorod||TV mini-series (episode: "The Doomsday Option")||Amazon Prime Video|
|Dial M for Middlesbrough||Terry||TV film||Gold|
|The Rubbish World of Dave Spud||Dave Spud||Voice role (26 episodes)||CITV|
|2020||Meet the Richardsons||Himself||3 episodes||Dave|
|Celebrity Gogglebox||Channel 4|
|2021||Johnny Vegas: Carry on Glamping||Host / Presenter||TV mini-series||Channel 4|
|James Martin’s Saturday Morning||Himself / Guest||1 episode||ITV|
|Murder, They Hope||Terry Bremmer||TV mini-series||Gold|
|Sunday Brunch||Himself / Guest||1 episode; 9 May 2021||Channel 4|
|Martin & Roman's Weekend Best!||Himself / Guest||1 episode; 16 May 2021||ITV|
|2008||The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists||Easton|
|2010||Chequebook & Pen||Les Dawson|
|2012||Diary of a Nobody||Charles Pooter|
- 1971-, Vegas, Johnny (2014). Becoming Johnny Vegas. London. ISBN 9780007382712. OCLC 872700225.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- "Johnny Vegas turns out for Saints". BBC News. 3 February 2005.
- Heaton, Paul. "@paulheatonsolo". Archived from the original on 1 October 2018. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- Shennan, Paddy (30 November 2009). "Johnny Vegas: I lost myself in 'Johnny Vegas'". Liverpool Echo.
- Aitkenhead, Decca (13 March 2006). "Here's Johnny ..." The Guardian.
- Sturges, Fiona (2 July 2011). "Johnny Vegas: 'I never liked being the centre of attention'". The Independent.
- "Go Faster Stripe". Gofasterstripe.com.
- "Guest presenters - A Load Of Bow Locks, The Big Breakfast fansite". Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- James Strevens (24 August 2001), Weakest Link - Comedians Special, retrieved 30 March 2017
- Lezard, Nicholas (1 September 2002). "Radio: Comedy turns on the potter's wheel; Night Class Radio 4". The Independent (London, England). Archived from the original on 11 April 2013.
- Thompson, Ben (2004). Sunshine on Putty: The Golden Age of British Comedy. HarperCollins. p. 383. ISBN 9780007181322.
- "Arts Diary: Night Class for Vegas". Daily Post (Liverpool, UK). 12 August 2002. Archived from the original on 10 June 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- "Just a Minute wins Sony Award". funny.co.uk. 9 May 2003. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- "Johnny Vegas sitcom 'Ideal' to be made into film". Digital Spy. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- "Johnny Vegas blasts BBC Three exec Zai Bennett over 'Ideal' axe". Digital Spy. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- "Sheridan Smith, Johnny Vegas join David Walliams's Mr Stink". Digital Spy. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- "World Cup celebrated on ITV with new animated football comedy". Digital Spy. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- "Secrets from The Clink". ITV Press Centre. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- "Johnny Vegas to return for Still Open All Hours". Nottingham Post. Archived from the original on 2 July 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- Ben Lee (14 January 2016). "Louis Walsh, Professor Green and Angus Deayton to go head to head on the track in ITV's new racing show Drive". Digital Spy. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- "BBC Home from Home location - Skiddaw View Holiday Park". www.skiddawview.co.uk.
- "BBC orders full series of Home From Home". Comedy.co.uk. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
- "BBC orders Home From Home to series : News 2016 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". www.chortle.co.uk.
- "Everyone Is Genuinely Surprised By Johnny Vegas' Very Good Poem! | 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown" – via www.youtube.com.
- "Harry Hill Movie premiere guests: From Sheridan Smith to a giant hamster". Digital Spy. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- Guide, British Comedy. "Early Man cast and crew credits". British Comedy Guide.
- "Johnny Vegas biography". BBC website. Archived from the original on 28 April 2005.
- Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast Episode 71 - Johnny Vegas. Leicester Square Theatre: British Comedy Guide.
- "Becoming Johnny Vegas - Paperback / The Official Johnny Vegas Website". Johnnyvegas.co.uk. 22 May 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
- "Details on new film Eaten by Lions". Scoop Nest. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
- Clennell, Andrew (28 September 2002). "Comic sells pictures to Viz for £1". The Guardian.
- "Hard-living Johnny Vegas divorces wife over HER drunken behaviour". www.standard.co.uk. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
- "Comedian Johnny Vegas marries girlfriend Maia Dunphy in Spain". Ghana MMA. Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
- "Johnny Vegas and wife expecting first baby". Sthelensreporter.co.uk. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- "'No story and no-one else involved...' - Maia Dunphy reveals separation from comedian Johnny Vegas". Independent.ie.
- Egan, Barry (26 November 2018). "Happy Christmas! Johnny and Maia together again". Irish Independent. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
- Gallagher, Katie (6 April 2020). "Maia Dunphy opens up on splitting from comedian Johnny Vegas for second time". DublinLive.
- "Alpha's Nicky Gumbel speaks on BBC's The One Show". YouTube. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- "The double life of Johnny Vegas". The Guardian. 21 April 2002.
- "Johnny Vegas 'miffed' Celebrity Gogglebox said he was in Liverpool and not St Helens (but made up they changed it)". St Helens Star. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
- Staff. "Johnny Vegas awarded Honorary Doctorate". Edge Hill University. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- "Drive". ITV Press Centre. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- "CITV commissions new series from IFC". Kidscreen. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
- "Meet The Richardsons set to return for Series 3". www.comedy.co.uk. British Comedy Guide. 6 April 2021. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
- "James Martin's Saturday Morning". itv.com/presscentre. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
- "Murder, They Hope". gold.uktv.co.uk. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
- "Sunday Brunch". radiotimes.com. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
- "Martin & Roman's Weekend Best!". itv.com. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
- "Johnny Vegas to star in Ragged Trousered Philanthropists on Radio 4". The Guardian. 12 December 2007.