Johnny Vegas backstage at the filming of an episode of QI in 2007
|Birth name||Michael Joseph Pennington|
5 September 1970 |
St Helens, England
|Medium||Stand up, television, film|
|Spouse||Catherine Donnelly (m. 2002–2008; divorced)
Maia Dunphy (m. 2011)
Michael Joseph Pennington, Sr., better known as Johnny Vegas (born 5 September 1970), is an English actor and comedian, known for his angry rants, surreal humour, portly figure and high husky voice.
Vegas was born in Thatto Heath, St Helens, Lancashire, the youngest of four children of Laurence and Patricia Pennington. He has two older brothers (Robert and Mark) and an older sister (Catharine). He was brought up as a Roman Catholic. At the age of eleven, he attended St Joseph's College in Upholland, a Roman Catholic boarding-school seminary, to train for the priesthood, but came back homesick after four terms. He also attended West Park School, Alder Hey Road, St Helens.
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 Jif 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 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 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.
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. In June 2015, he guest presented an episode of Sunday Brunch for Channel 4 and in August 2015, he narrated the four-part series Travel Guides for ITV. In 2016, he took part in ITV's celebrity driving show Drive, hosted by Vernon Kay.
In Septemer 2016, Vegas starred in a one-off comedy pilot called Home From Home, playing the lead role of Neil Hackett. The episode aired on BBC Two. In December 2016, it was announced that Home From Home had been commissioned for a full series to air on BBC One in 2017.
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.
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. Vegas and Donnelly were divorced by agreement on 11 March 2008 after having lived apart for more than two years. 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 26 January 2015, Maia Dunphy posted an image of her ultrasound on Twitter, stating; "Well @JohnnyVegasReal, at least we know he's definitely yours......". Their son Tom was born in July 2015.
Vegas said in 2012 that he had returned to his Christian 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 only)|
|2013||The Harry Hill Movie||Abu (voice only)|
|2001–03||Happiness||Charlie Doyle||12 episodes|
|2001||Attention Scum!||24-hour newsreader||6 episodes|
|2002||Shooting Stars||Regular panellist|
|2005–2012||8 Out of 10 Cats||Regular panellist|
|2005||Bleak House||Krook||6 episodes|
|18 Stone of Idiot||Host|
|Dead Man Weds||Lewis Donat||6 episodes|
|2007–||QI||Regular panellist||10 episodes|
|2007–2009, 2015–||Benidorm||Geoff Maltby||Regular role|
|2012–2015||Moone Boy||Cruchie Haystacks||6 episodes|
|2012||Mr Stink||Mr. Croombe||One-off TV film|
|2013–||Still Open All Hours||Wet Eric Agnew||Regular role|
|2014||Warren United||Fat Baz (voice)||1 series|
|Secrets from the Clink||Himself, participant|
|2015||Sunday Brunch||Guest presenter||1 episode|
|Travel Guides||Narrator||1 series|
|2015–||8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown||Himself, panellist||6 episodes|
|2016||Comedy Strip Presents...Red Top||Johnny|
|Drive||Contestant||Finished in fourth place|
|The Funny Thing About Dating||Presenter||One-off show|
|2016—||Home From Home||Neil Hackett||BBC sitcom|
- Win, Lose or Draw (1996) – Contestant (1st TV appearance)
- The Weakest Link: Celebrity Special (2001) – Contestant, comedians special
- Tipping the Velvet (2002) – Gully Sutherland
- ShakespeaRE-Told (2005, episode based on A Midsummer Night's Dream) – Bottom
- Black Books (2002) – Landlord
- Ed Stone Is Dead (2003) – Waiter
- Top Gear (2003) – "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car"
- Dave's One Night Stand (2010) – Host
- Celebrity Juice (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016) – Panellist
- Show Me the Funny (2011) – Guest judge
- The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff (2011) – The Artful Codger
- Rude Tube (2012) – Computer
- A League of Their Own (2012) – Panellist
- The Matt Lucas Awards (2012) – Guest
- Have I Got News For You (2013, 2014) – Panellist
- The Jonathan Ross Show (2013, 2015) – Guest
- Never Mind the Buzzcocks (2013) – Guest host
- Celebrity Fifteen to One (2014) – Contestant
- Duck Quacks Don't Echo (2014, 2016) – Guest
- All Star Mr & Mrs (2014) – Contestant, with wife Maia
- House of Fools (2015) – as the Butcher
- Through the Keyhole (2015, 2016) – Panellist
- Lip Sync Battle UK (2016) – Contestant
- Travel Man (2016) – Guest
- Celebrity Storage Hunters (2016) – Participant
- Tipping Point: Lucky Stars (2016) – Contestant
|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.
- "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.
- http://www.gofasterstripe.com/cgi-bin/website.cgi?page=videofull&id=13960 You Are Nothing, Go Faster Stripe
- "Guest presenters - A Load Of Bow Locks, The Big Breakfast fansite". Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- 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. (Features)". 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.
- "Harry Hill Movie premiere guests: From Sheridan Smith to a giant hamster". Digital Spy. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- "Johnny Vegas biography". webarchive.org.[dead link]
- "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.
- Clennell, Andrew (28 September 2002). "Comic sells pictures to Viz for £1". The Guardian.
- "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". Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- . Twitter. 26 January 2015 https://twitter.com/MaiaDunphy/status/559849817674121216. Retrieved 20 November 2016. Missing or empty
- . YouTube. 18 December 2012 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfgwkN_-JUg. Retrieved 10 June 2016. Missing or empty
- "Johnny Vegas awarded Honorary Doctorate". Edge Hill University. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- "Drive". "ITV Press Centre". Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- "Jo Brand, Johnny Vegas to judge ITV's 'Show Me The Funny'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- "The Jonathan Ross Show". "ITV Press Centre". Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- "Celebrity Fifteen to One". digiguide.tv. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- "Celebrity Fifteen to One". RadioTimes. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- "All Star Mr & Mrs". "ITV Press Centre". Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- "House of Fools - Episode 2 - Credits". BBC - House of Fools. BBC. Retrieved 24 February 2015.