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johnny vegas’ 7 best tv roles

Johnny Vegas

For those who know me, and those who have read my blog before, you’ll know it’s no secret that I’m a big Johnny Vegas fan.

Today the man himself is celebrating his 45th birthday, (Happy Birthday Johnny) so I thought now would be the perfect time to take a look back at Johnny’s 7 best roles, in a career that spans 18 years.


1. Moz in Ideal (2005-2011)

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As BBC Three faces closure, for me one of the standout comedies the channel has ever made has to be Ideal. The sitcom set in a Salford flat, ran for seven series and was led by Johnny Vegas who played Moz.

Moz was a lazy drug-dealer who very rarely left his small flat in Salford, where he smoked and dealt his days away, keeping his community happy. A community that included PC Phil Collins, played by Tom Goodman-Hill, who would supply Moz with the drugs he needed, drugs he had raided whilst out on patrol.

What I loved about Ideal was how real it felt, how subtly funny it was and ever since the series ended in 2011 I’ve been wishing for another series. Sadly it has yet to surface, but when I spoke to Johnny Vegas back in 2013 he hinted at a future somewhere down the line for the series. He told me “I’ve been trying for like four or five months to sit down with Graham (Duff) and find out what’s happening on that, but he’s locked away, I’m locked away but it’ll be nice for us all to get closure.”

Indeed it will. Fingers crossed!


2. Geoff ‘The Oracle’ Maltby in Benidorm (2007-2009, 2015-)

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Early next year Benidorm enters its eighth series and back in 2007, Johnny Vegas formed part of the original cast, playing Geoff ‘The Oracle’ Maltby, before leaving in 2009 and (thankfully) returning last year.

The Oracle always goes on holiday to Benidorm with his mother (or PA as he’d rather she was known), and towards the end of the last series things got very emotional as he discovered he was in fact adopted, but this didn’t stop him loving his PA, sorry, mother.

Johnny is perfect for Benidorm and I was so pleased to see him return earlier this year and can’t wait to see what’s in store for him next series.


3. Wet Eric Agnew in Still Open All Hours (2013-)

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When Open All Hours returned as Still Open All Hours, there was a worry it wouldn’t live up to the original. Luckily it did, and the ratings proved some of the highest the BBC had seen for comedy in a while.

Alongside Open All Hours original David Jason, was a brand new cast that included Johnny Vegas. He plays Wet Eric, a man who finds it increasingly difficult to please his wife, Mrs Kath Agnew who’s played by Sally Lindsay.

The series was a ratings hit earlier this year however there has been no official word about a second series, but it’s looking hopeful.


4. Al in the ITV Digital and PG Tips adverts (2001, 2007)

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In 2001, we were first introduced to Monkey when Johnny Vegas starred in all the adverts ITV Digital as Al, Monkey’s best friend/housemate.

The monkey was voiced by Ben Miller and the idea was that if you signed up to ITV Digital, you too could get your own knitted monkey.

At the time Johnny had people up and down the country mimicking his accent and repeating the phrase “Hello Munkeh”, which has gone in British television history as one of the most well-known catchphrases.

Al and Monkey returned six years later, this time advertising PG Tips, that explained how Monkey disappeared after ITV Digital closed. We saw him turn up on Al’s doorstep hoping to rekindle their friendship.

Luckily their friendship did indeed rekindle and they remain one of my favourite double acts on telly. I never did get my own Monkey though…


5. Mr Croombe (Dad) in Mr Stink (2012)

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There are many strings to David Walliams’ bow, he’s a great comedy actor, TV judge and children’s author.

In 2012, he adapted his kids book Mr Stink into a BBC One Christmas drama which starred Johnny Vegas alongside Sheridan Smith, David Walliams himself and Hugh Bonneville.

Johnny played Mr Croombe, otherwise known as dad, a man fearful of his wife, and is the only member of the Croombe family who is fond of daughter Chloe, with the two of them often keeping each other’s secrets. The piece was a perfect family drama for Christmas, and it’s been lovely to see Johnny become more family friendly of late compared to how he started with his stand-up.


6. Crunchie Haystacks in Moone Boy (2012-)

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In 2012, Chris O’Dowd created Moone Boy, a Sky 1 comedy set in the small Irish town of Boyle in 1989.

In the series, Chris plays Sean, the imaginary friend of 12 year-old Martin. Not content with having just one imaginary friend, he created Crunchie Haystacks, the imaginary friend of Padraic, Martin’s best friend.

Cruchie is played by Johnny Vegas and likes to think of himself, or rather Padraic likes to think of him as, a legendary wrestler. You only need to look at the image above to see that this may not entirely be true.

If you haven’t caught Moone Boy yet then I’d fully recommend it, and you have three wonderful series to catch up on.


7. Johnny Vegas (1997-)

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What many of you might not know, is that Johnny Vegas was born Michael Pennington and Johnny Vegas was an alter-ego which after time he found harder and harder to let go of.

In recent years he has managed to turn Johnny Vegas into less of an alcoholic stand-up and more of a family-friendly comedian, serious actor and passionate film-maker. But one thing that has never disappeared is Johnny’s sense of humour and charm, and for that reason I’m a big fan of the slightly more sensible Vegas.

Find out more in his brilliant autobiography Becoming Johnny Vegas which you can buy here.

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