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24 September 2014

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Johnny Vegas

Johnny Vegas

Although best known for his comedy work, Johnny's no stranger to drama. In 2002, he appeared in Tipping The Velvet, and in 2005 he stared in both Bleak House and the BBC's modern take on A Midsummer Night's Dream.

What's he been in?

Johnny played the eccentric landlord Krook in Andrew Davies' 2005 adaptation of Bleak House. He was part of an all-star cast that also included Gillian Anderson, Denis Lawson, Charles Dance, Alistair McGowan and Catherine Tate.

It's not the first time he's appeared in an Andrew Davies dramatisation. He played Gully Sutherland in Tipping The Velvet, voted runner-up in the Best Drama of 2002 award by visitors to the BBC Drama website.

2005 has proved to be a very busy year for Johnny. As well as fronting his own Channel 4 show, 18 Stone Of Idiot, he stars as Bottom in the modern adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, one of a series of BBC programmes celebrating the work of Shakespeare. Earlier in the year he was seen in two sitcoms, Ideal on BBC THREE, and Dead Man Weds, on ITV1.

He played Charlie in two series of Happiness, in 2001 and 2003, alongside Paul Whitehouse and Cutting It's Pearce Quigley. The role earned him a nomination for the Golden Rose of Montreux television awards, as did his part in edgy comedy Attention Scum (2001).

On the big screen, he's appeared in Blackball and Sex Lives Of The Potato Men.

His other credits include BBC drama Staying Up, the Radio 4 adaptation of Marcel Pagnol's The Flump, and appearances on Shooting Stars, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, and the nostalgic I Love The... series. He was a contestant in a comedian's special of The Weakest Link and managed to get a smile out of the normally stern Anne Robinson.

As well as stand-up and acting, Johnny made a name for himself when he fronted the advertising campaign for the ill-fated ITV Digital. His co-star was a knitted monkey, who at one point threatened to eclipse Johnny's fame.

He's become a familiar face at award ceremonies, where he's gained a reputation for long rants before finally presenting recipients with their prizes.

Did you know?

His real name is Michael Joseph Pennington.

The son of strict Catholic parents, he twice joined a seminary, but eventually decided a career in the priesthood wasn't for him. He also spent time as a holiday camp red coat and a live-in barman.

Johnny studied art and ceramic design at Middlesex University, and his passion for ceramics remains to this day. His work's been shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and he's also been commissioned to design an aftershave bottle.

He burst on to the comedy scene in 1997, winning the critics' award at the Edinburgh Festival and being nominated for the prestigious Perrier prize. In 2002, he won the Royal Television Society's best newcomer award.

Johnny cited Tommy Cooper, Les Dawson and Ken Dodd as his comedy heroes on the Radio 2 programme Talking Comedy in 2002.

He once played Rugby League for St Helens in a testimonial match.

Personal Details

Johnny was born on 11th September 1971, in St Helens, UK. He has two older brothers and an older sister.

In 2002, he married Kitty Donnelly, and memorably sold his wedding photos to Viz magazine for £1. The couple separated for 14 months after the birth of their son, Michael, but are now back together.

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