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Vegas backstage at the filming of an episode of QI, June 2007
|Birth name||Michael Pennington|
5 September 1970|
Thatto Heath, St Helens, Merseyside, England
|Medium||Stand up, television, film|
(m. 2002; div. 2008)
Maia Dunphy (m. 2011–2018)
Michael Pennington (born 5 September 1970), known professionally as Johnny Vegas, is an English actor and comedian, known for his formerly portly figure and his alter-egos angry rants, surreal humour and high husky voice.
His television roles have included playing Al in the ITV Digital and PG Tips adverts, drug dealer Moz in the BBC black comedy Ideal, Geoff Maltby in the ITV comedy series Benidorm and Eric Agnew in the BBC sitcom Still Open All Hours.
Vegas was born in Thatto Heath, St Helens, Merseyside, the youngest of four children of Laurence and Patricia Pennington. He and his elder siblings, Robert, Mark, and Catharine were brought up as Roman Catholics. At the age of eleven, 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 and packing bottles of Cif in a factory, before eventually becoming a barman at the Brown Edge pub in Thatto Heath.
Television and radio
In 1996, Vegas made his television début 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 not too dissimilar to his real-life persona at that time: 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.
Between 2007 and 2009, Vegas played Geoff "The Oracle" Maltby in the ITV sitcom Benidorm. On 16 January 2015, he made guest appearances in episode 3,4,5 and 6 during the programme's seventh series. He returned full-time in Series 8, which began on 11 January 2016.
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.
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 2005, Vegas participated in a celebrity edition of The Generation Game demonstrating how to make a pot, before judging the participants' attempts.
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 columnist and Irish television 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.
Vegas said in 2012 that he had returned to his Catholic faith in the previous few years, crediting his parents' faith for his good upbringing.
|2003||The Virgin of Liverpool||Jackie Symes|
|2004||Sex Lives of the Potato Men||Dave|
|Terkel in Trouble||Uncle Stewart (voice)|
|2012||Mr Stink||Mr. Croombe||Television film|
|2013||The Harry Hill Movie||Abu (voice)|
|2017||The Drowning of Arthur Braxton||Arthur Braxton Sr.|
|Murder on the Blackpool Express||Terry||Television film|
|2018||Early Man||Asbo (voice)|
|Eaten by Lions||Ray|
|1996||Win, Lose or Draw||Himself||Contestant (1 episode)||ITV|
|2000–01||Never Mind the Buzzcocks||Himself||Guest (3 episodes)||BBC Two|
|2001||Attention Scum!||24-hour newsreader||6 episodes||BBC Two|
|2001–03||Happiness||Charlie Doyle||12 episodes|
|2001||The Weakest Link||Himself||Celebrity special|
|2002||Shooting Stars||Himself||Regular panellist (20 episodes)||BBC Choice|
|Black Books||Fran's landlord||Episode: "Fever"||Channel 4|
|Tipping the Velvet||Gully Sutherland||Television miniseries (part 1)||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|
|2005–11||Ideal||Moz||53 episodes||BBC Three|
|2005–09||8 Out of 10 Cats||Himself||Regular panellist (8 episodes)||Channel 4|
|2005||Dead Man Weds||Lewis Donat||6 episodes||ITV|
|18 Stone of Idiot||Host||Channel 4|
|Bleak House||Krook||6 episodes||BBC One|
|ShakespeaRe-Told||Nick Bottom||Episode: A Midsummer Night's Dream|
|2007–present||QI||Himself||Regular panellist (12 episodes)||BBC Four/BBC Two/BBC One|
|2007–09||Benidorm||Geoff Maltby||Regular role||ITV|
|2008||Alan Carr's Celebrity Ding Dong||Himself||Contestant/team leader (1 episode)||Channel 4|
|Massive||Tony||6 episodes||BBC Three|
|Never Mind the Buzzcocks||Himself||Guest (1 episode)||BBC Two|
|2009||The Graham Norton Show||Himself||Guest (1 episode)||BBC One|
|2010||Dave's One Night Stand||Himself||Headline act (1 episode)||Dave|
|2011–present||Celebrity Juice||Himself||Regular panellist (15 episodes)||ITV2|
|2011||Show Me the Funny||Himself||Guest judge||ITV/UTV/STV|
|2011–12||8 Out of 10 Cats||Himself||Regular panellist (3 episodes)||Channel 4|
|2011||The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff||The Artful Codger||1 episode||BBC Two/BBC HD|
|2012||The Matt Lucas Awards||Himself||Guest (1 episode)||BBC One|
|Rude Tube||Computer||2 episodes||Channel 4/E4|
|2012–15||Moone Boy||Crunchie Haystacks||6 episodes||Sky1|
|2012||A League of Their Own||Himself||Guest panellist (1 episode)||Sky One|
|2013–14||Have I Got News for You||Himself||Guest (2 episodes)||BBC One HD|
|2013–17||Sunday Brunch||Himself||Guest (4 episodes)||Channel 4|
|2013||The Jonathan Ross Show||Himself||Guest (1 episode)||ITV|
|Never Mind the Buzzcocks||Himself||Guest host (1 episode)||BBC Two|
|2013–present||Still Open All Hours||Wet Eric Agnew||Regular role; 19 episodes||BBC One|
|2014||8 Out of 10 Cats||Himself||Regular panellist (1 episode)||Channel 4|
|Warren United||Fat Baz||Regular voice role||ITV4|
|All Star Mr & Mrs||Himself||Contestant (with wife Maia Dunphy; 1 episode)||ITV/STV/UTV|
|Secrets from the Clink||Himself||Participant||ITV|
|Duck Quacks Don't Echo||Himself||Panellist (1 episode)||Sky1|
|Crackanory||Himself||Host (1 episode; segment: "Self Storage" by Alexander Kirk)||Dave|
|A League of Their Own||Himself||Guest panellist (1 episode)||Sky One|
|2014–15||Celebrity Fifteen to One||Himself||Guest (2 episodes)||Channel 4|
|2015||Travel Guides||Narrator||1 series||ITV|
|2015–17||Benidorm||Geoff Maltby||Recurring role|
|2015–present||8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown||Himself||Panellist (10 episodes)||Channel 4|
|2015–16||The Jonathan Ross Show||Himself||Guest (2 episodes)||ITV|
|2015–16||Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled||Himself||Guest (2 episodes)||Dave|
|2015||House of Fools||Bradford Butcher||1 episode||BBC Two|
|The Graham Norton Show||Himself||Guest (1 episode)||BBC One|
|2015–17||The Last Leg||Himself||Guest (7 episodes)||Channel 4|
|2015–16||Through the Keyhole||Himself||Celebrity panellist (2 episodes)||ITV|
|2016||Comedy Strip Presents...Red Top||Johnny||Gold|
|Lip Sync Battle UK||Himself||Contestant (1 episode)
Special guest (1 episode)
|Drive||Himself||Contestant; finished in fourth place||ITV|
|Travel Man||Himself||Guest (Episode: "48 Hours in Dubai")||Channel 4|
|2016–present||The Funny Thing About...||Himself||Presenter||Channel 5|
|Home from Home||Neil Hackett||Regular role||BBC Two (pilot)/BBC One (series)|
|2016||Duck Quacks Don't Echo||Himself||Panellist (1 episode)||Sky1|
|Celebrity Storage Hunters||Himself||Main buyer||Dave|
|Tipping Point: Lucky Stars||Himself||Contestant (1 episode)||ITV|
|Alan Carr's 12 Stars of Christmas||Himself||Guest||Channel 4|
|2017||Sunday Brunch||Himself||Guest presenter (3 episodes)|
|The 2,000,000 Calorie Buffet||Narrator||One-off show|
|The Great Pottery Throw Down||Himself||1 episode||BBC Two|
|Red Dwarf||Crit Cop||Episode: "Timewave"||Dave|
|2018||The Graham Norton Show||Himself||Guest (1 episode)||BBC One|
|2019||The Rubbish World of Dave Spud||Dave Spud||Voice role (26 episodes)||CITV|
|2010||Chequebook & Pen||Les Dawson|
|2012||Diary of a Nobody||Charles Pooter|
- Shennan, Paddy (30 November 2009). "Johnny Vegas: I lost myself in 'Johnny Vegas'". Liverpool Echo.
- 1971-, Vegas, Johnny,. Becoming Johnny Vegas. London. ISBN 9780007382712. OCLC 872700225.
- "Johnny Vegas turns out for Saints". BBC News. 3 February 2005.
- Heaton, Paul. "@paulheatonsolo". Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- 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).
- Thompson, Ben (2004). Sunshine on Putty: The Golden Age of British Comedy. HarperCollins. p. 383.
- "Arts Diary: Night Class for Vegas". Daily Post (Liverpool, UK). 12 August 2002. 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. 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". Chortle.co.uk.
- "Harry Hill Movie premiere guests: From Sheridan Smith to a giant hamster". Digital Spy. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- "Johnny Vegas biography". BBC website. Archived from the original on 28 April 2005.
- Richard Herring. 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.
- "'Johnny Vegas is a hilarious friend in the bar... but he was an utterly hopeless husband': Ex-wife tells how marriage ended". Mail Online. 13 Oct 2008.
- "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.
- "Alpha's Nicky Gumbel speaks on BBC's The One Show". YouTube. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- Staff. "Johnny Vegas awarded Honorary Doctorate". Edge Hill University. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- "The Drowning of Arthur Braxton (2017) - Full Cast and Crew". IMDb.com. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
- "Drive". "ITV Press Centre". Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- "CITV commissions new series from IFC". Kidscreen.com. Retrieved 4 December 2017.