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Johnny Vaughan

Johnny Vaughan at Live 8 in July 2005
Born Jonathan Randall Vaughan
July 16, 1966 (1966-07-16) (age 43)
Barnet, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Years active 1993 - present
Known for The Big Breakfast, Capital Breakfast with Johnny Vaughan
Spouse(s) Antonia Davies

Johnny Vaughan (born 16 July 1966) is an English broadcaster and journalist. Vaughan has become well-known as a television and radio personality and has also built a reputation as a film critic. He is currently the presenter of the Capital Breakfast with Johnny Vaughan on London radio station 95.8 Capital FM and also writes a weekly column in The Sun newspaper reviewing recent film releases.


Early life

Jonathan Randall Vaughan was born in Barnet, North London, to an engineer father, Randall, and a psychotherapist mother, Fay. [1][2] He spent his time in education between St Andrew's Comprehensive School,Totteridge, North London[3] and the independent Uppingham School in Rutland.[4] During his school years he showed a talent for comedy,[1] playing the violin and singing. [5] When Vaughan was 16 years old, his father went bankrupt.[6] On leaving school, Vaughan moved back to London and originally wanted to become a writer.[1] He ended up with a variety of jobs ranging from a grill chef to even starting his own business selling boxer shorts.[1][7]

In 1988, aged 21, Vaughan was arrested for trying to sell £15,000 of cocaine to undercover police officers in a hotel on the M1 motorway near Northampton.[8] He was found guilty of being "concerned with the supply" of class A drugs (namely cocaine) and sentenced to 4 years in Stocken Prison, of which he served 25 months (2 years and a month).[4][6]

Vaughan recalled the event in an interview with the Daily Telegraph:

One night, an old schoolfriend, a student, called and asked him if he had any drug connections; the friend had met somebody who wanted to know. (The somebody, it turned out, was a drug dealer who had been arrested and was now working for the police.) No, said Vaughan, he didn't. 'The next day,' Vaughan says, 'I do bump into someone. He calls me and says, "Tell your friend it's all sorted."?' Vaughan arranged the meeting at a service station on the M1, and went there to introduce the protagonists. He was slammed against a wall by a policeman who asked him how old he was. When Vaughan said 21, the cop said, "You won't be seeing sunshine again until you're 36."[7]

It was during his time in prison that Vaughan began to take an interest in literature and philosophy.[6] On release from prison, Vaughan decided to turn his life around and started a job working as a journalist for the Rutland Herald newspaper, reporting on legal cases in his column, Johnny Vaughan in the Courts.[8]

Professional Background

Early career

His big break came in 1993 when he visited a friend's production company and through a chance meeting was offered a job with Channel 4. [9] He started his television career presenting the movie review show Moviewatch, as well as the music show Naked City and his own chat show Here's Johnny.[4]

The Big Breakfast

Channel 4 producers decided he was a natural in front of the camera, and in light of ailing viewing figures he was chosen to front The Big Breakfast from 1997 until 2001, forming a successful partnership with former programme weather girl and actress Denise van Outen from 1998. Van Outen's cheeky Essex Girl personality played off well against the quick wit of Vaughan, and together they recovered audience figures to record levels.[10] One groundbreaking feature of Johnny's presentation was the way in which he frequently interacted with the various cameramen and technical people in the studio, turning some of them into popular characters in their own right. Also notable was that each programme finished with a zany situational competition in which Johnny revealed considerable talent as a character actor. In parallel with The Big Breakfast Vaughan presented another movie show, The Johnny Vaughan Film Show.

Van Outen left to pursue her acting career at the end of 1998. The partnership with replacement model Kelly Brook failed to reproduce the chemistry between Vaughan and Van Outen[11], and audience figures "plummeted"[12]. Brook was replaced by Liza Tarbuck and Van Outen returned again as main female presenter in 2000[13] but the show was unrevivable. Johnny and Denise left the show in January 2001 after both their contracts had run out.[14]

Move to the BBC

In 2001, the BBC reportedly paid Vaughan £2.5 million to leave Channel 4.[15] He transferred to the BBC to present a late-night talk show, Johnny Vaughan Tonight in the same vein of American shows by Johnny Carson and Jay Leno. Viewing figures were good (the show regularly received 2.5 - 3 million viewers a night)[6] and commentators suggested that the format was best suited to the free-wheeling Vaughan.[6] However, a highly promoted BBC Two sitcom vehicle 'Orrible, which Vaughan wrote and acted in was poorly received by the critics. Far from being the huge hit that was hoped, the show lost 40% of its audience over its first three episodes[15] and was not renewed for a second series or even repeated.

In October 2003 he devised and produced and was the first presenter of BBC Radio Five Live's Fighting Talk, a sport related comedy show currently presented by Colin Murray. Further television appearances ensued, when Vaughan tried a revival of his on screen relationship with Van Outen in 2004 in the BBC's Saturday night family show Passport to Paradise, which lasted for only one series.[16]

Capital Radio

In April 2004 he moved to radio and returned to the "zoo" format, when he replaced Chris Tarrant as the presenter of the 95.8 Capital FM breakfast show, which saw the listening figures for his show drop from over 1.3 million to 980,000 listeners, according to official RAJAR statistics.[17].

In January 2008, Vaughan was reunited with van Outen when she joined him on the breakfast show in a move to boost listening figures,[18]but she left the show half-way through her contract in June 2008.[19]

In August 2008, Van Outen was replaced by model Lisa Snowdon. The show then rose in the ratings, taking the top spot of London's breakfast radio chart in October 2008,[20] with an average weekly audience of 862,000 listeners. [19]

Other Work

Vaughan wrote the UK's first "dope opera", Top Buzzer, which aired in 2004 on MTV and later on Five. Vaughan has also been heavily involved with telethon charity drives such as Children in Need, Comic Relief and Sport Relief. In 2004 the BBC ran "a search to find the nation's best-loved sitcom" with a format that aped that of the 100 Greatest Britons. One celebrity championed each of the top ten sitcoms, presenting an hour-long special on why their favourite was the best. Vaughan was the presenter of the segment on prison-based sitcom Porridge.

In 2005, Vaughan became the host of the American reality/game show My Kind of Town on ABC. The show was cancelled after four episodes. He was also featured in the 2005 film, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, playing an awards ceremony host.

Vaughan presented the controversial hoax "reality" show Space Cadets for Channel 4. In June 2006, Vaughan appeared as a guest on TV Heaven, Telly Hell.

He was a team captain on the Channel 4 comedy panel show Best of the Worst that also features team captain David Mitchell (Peep Show), and chairman Alexander Armstrong. The show appears not to have been renewed for a second series.[citation needed]

In December 2006, he made a guest appearance on the BBC comedy panel game QI (Series D, Episode 10, "Divination"). Vaughan has his own television production company, World's End.[4]

Personal life

He married costume designer Antonia Davies in August 1999.[4] The couple met when Vaughan was working in a video store at age 19. Elvis Costello performed at their wedding.[2] They live in Wandsworth, South London[1] with their bulldog Harvey[2] and their 2 children, Tabitha (born 2000),[6] and Rafferty (born 2003). On March 4th 2010, Vaughan announced that his wife is expecting the couples' third child.[6] Vaughan's father-in-law is Nick Davies, once foreign editor of the Daily Mirror.[2]

In March 1999, in preparation for his marriage to Davies, Vaughan was received into the Catholic Church at Westminster Cathedral.[4]

Vaughan is a big fan of cars and currently owns a Maserati 3200 GT. An avid supporter of Chelsea FC, he travelled to Sweden to see Chelsea win the 1998 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final, and spent the next day broadcasting live on The Big Breakfast with images and details of the big moments in the match, with input from his friends.

He has had thinning hair for a number of years, and on the television show Best of the Worst expressed jealousy of those with "long fly away locks." In July 2008, he shaved whatever was left to raise money for the Capital Radio charity, Help a London Child. [21]


  1. ^ a b c d e The Observer Profile: Johnny Vaughan The Observer, 9 February 2003
  2. ^ a b c d Riding High on Planet Vaughan - 28 November, 2008
  3. ^ Why Johnny Vaughan has remained a Capital kind of guy Hampstead & Highgate Express, 12 April 2007
  4. ^ a b c d e f The rise of Johnny come lately BBC News - 30 April, 2001
  5. ^ Johnny Vaughan: Rise and shine time revisited The Independent, 13 April 2004
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Motormouth DJ Johnny Vaughan gives some of TV's biggest names both barrels Daily Mail, 27 November 2008
  7. ^ a b Johnny Vaughan & Denise Van Outen: Big Mouths Strike Again, Daily Telegraph, 8 March 2008
  8. ^ a b Interview: Johnny Vaughan thelondonpaper, 13 November 2006
  9. ^ Question Time: Johnny Vaughan The Independent, 3 November 2008
  10. ^ Bio at BBC Joseph - retrieved 11th August 2007
  11. ^ Kelly quits Big Breakfast BBC News - 30 July, 1999
  12. ^ Kelly Brook: Why I Want My Sex Scenes Cut Out The Daily Mirror, 12 September 2005
  13. ^ Van Outen's Breakfast return BBC News, 4 August 2000
  14. ^ Breakfast over for Denise and Johnny BBC News, 12 January 2001
  15. ^ a b 'Orrible Ratings for Johnny Vaughan The Independent, 30 September 2001
  16. ^ Johnny and Denise lose Passport BBC News, 30 November 2004
  17. ^ Statistics for
  18. ^ Denise van Outen Teams Up with Johnny Vaughan Again Daily Mail, 5 January, 2008
  19. ^ a b Johnny Vaughan Regains London Breakfast Radio Crown, The Guardian, 16 October 2008
  20. ^ Lisa Snowdon Gives Johnny Vaughan Radio Boost thelondonpaper, 16 October 2008
  21. ^ Johnny Vaughan Goes Bald for Help a London Child Hairdressers Journal Interactive, 28 July 2008

External links

Preceded by
First presenter
BBC Radio Five Live
Fighting Talk Presenter

2003 - 2004
Succeeded by
Christian O'Connell

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