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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 angry rants, surreal humour, portly figure 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.
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.
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)|
|2013||The Harry Hill Movie||Abu (voice)|
|2017||The Drowning of Arthur Braxton||Arthur Braxton Snr|
|Murder on the Blackpool Express||Terry|
|2018||Early Man||Asbo (voice)|
|2001-2003||Happiness||Charlie Doyle||12 episodes||BBC Two|
|2001||Attention Scum!||24-hour newsreader||6 episodes|
|2002||Shooting Stars||Regular panellist||BBC Choice|
|2005-2011||Ideal||Moz||53 episodes||BBC Three|
|2005-2014||8 Out of 10 Cats||Regular panellist||Channel 4|
|2005||Bleak House||Krook||6 episodes||BBC One|
|18 Stone of Idiot||Host||Channel 4|
|Dead Man Weds||Lewis Donat||6 episodes||ITV|
|2007--||QI||Regular panellist||12 episodes||BBC Four/BBC Two/BBC One|
|2007-2009, 2015-2017||Benidorm||Geoff Maltby||Regular role (series 1-3)
Recurring role (series 7-9)
|2008||Massive||Tony||6 episodes||BBC Three|
|2011--||Celebrity Juice||Regular panellist||12 episodes (as of 13 September 2017)||ITV2|
|2012-2015||Moone Boy||Crunchie Haystacks||6 episodes||Sky1|
|2012||Mr Stink||Mr. Croombe||One-off TV film||BBC One|
|2013--||Still Open All Hours||Wet Eric Agnew||Regular role; 19 episodes|
|2014||Warren United||Fat Baz (voice)||1 series||ITV4|
|Secrets from the Clink||Himself, participant||ITV|
|2015, 2017||Sunday Brunch||Guest presenter||3 episodes||Channel 4|
|2015||Travel Guides||Narrator||1 series||ITV|
|2015--||8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown||Himself, panellist||10 episodes||Channel 4|
|2015-2017||The Last Leg||Himself, guest||7 episodes|
|2016||Comedy Strip Presents...Red Top||Johnny||Gold|
|Drive||Contestant||Finished in fourth place||ITV|
|2016--||The Funny Thing About...||Presenter||Channel 5|
|Home from Home||Neil Hackett||1 upcoming series||BBC Two (pilot)/BBC One (series)|
|2017||The 2,000,000 Calorie Buffet||Narrator||One-off show||Channel 4|
|Red Dwarf||Crit Cop||1 episode||Dave|
|Murder on the Blackpool Express||Terry||One-off comedy||Gold|
|2018||The Rubbish World of Dave Spud||Dave Spud (voice)||26 episodes||CITV|