Johnny Vaughan

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Johnny Vaughan
Johnny Vaughan at Live 8 in July 2005
Born Jonathan Randal Vaughan
(1966-07-16) 16 July 1966 (age 55)
Barnet, London, England
Years active 1993 – present
Known for The Big Breakfast,
Capital Breakfast with Johnny Vaughan
Spouse(s) Antonia Davies
(m. 1999; div. 2013)
Children 2

Jonathan Randal Vaughan (born 16 July 1966) is an English broadcaster and journalist. Vaughan has become well known as a television and radio personality who has also built a reputation as a film critic. He co-presented Capital Breakfast alongside Lisa Snowdon on 95.8 Capital FM between 2004 and 2011. He currently presents drivetime from 4pm-7pm on Radio X and writes a weekly column in the Sun newspaper reviewing recent film releases.

Early life

Vaughan was born in Barnet, London, to an engineer father, Randall, and a psychotherapist mother, Fay.[1][2]


Vaughan was educated at a state school, St Andrew's Primary School in Totteridge, Barnet and later at two independent boarding schools, the Bramcote School, Nottinghamshire[citation needed] and Uppingham School, Rutland.[3] During his school years he showed a talent for comedy,[1] playing the violin and singing.[4]

Early adult life and imprisonment

On leaving school, Vaughan moved 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][5]

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.[6] In the immediate aftermath of his initial success with Moviewatch, Vaughan claimed in interviews, including one with Mayfair magazine,[7] that he had been incarcerated for the distribution of pornographic videotapes.

Latterly, 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."[5]

He was given a four-year jail sentence for dealing cocaine, and served just over two years at Stocken Prison in Rutland.[8] It was during his time in prison that Vaughan began to take an interest in literature and philosophy.[citation needed] On release from prison, Vaughan decided to turn his life around and started a job working as a journalist for the Peterborough Herald newspaper, reporting on legal cases in his column, Johnny Vaughan in the Courts.[6]

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.[3]

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. His ability to build relationships of mutual respect with regulars from different walks of life such as Trevor Baylis, Mark Bright and Drusilla Beyfus established him as something of a polymath. 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 film 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) and commentators suggested that the format was best suited to the free-wheeling Vaughan. However, a highly promoted BBC Two sitcom vehicle 'Orrible, which Vaughan wrote and acted in was poorly received by the critics. The show lost 40% of its audience over its first three episodes and was not renewed for a second series.[15]

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 with presenter responsibilities currently alternating between Christian O'Connell, Jonathan Pearce and Matt Johnson. 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 one series.[16]

95.8 Capital FM

In April 2004, Vaughan moved to radio and returned to the "zoo" format, when he replaced Chris Tarrant as the presenter of Capital Breakfast on 95.8 Capital FM, which saw the listening figures for his show drop from over 1.3 million to 980,000 listeners, according to 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, but she left the show half-way through her contract in June 2008.[18] In August 2008, van Outen was replaced by model Lisa Snowdon. The show rose in the ratings, reclaiming the top spot of London's breakfast radio chart in October 2008,[19] with an average weekly audience of 862,000 listeners. In 2010–11, his breakfast show had regular audiences in excess of 1 million.[20] On 18 November 2011, Vaughan left Capital Breakfast, and was replaced by Dave Berry.

talkSPORT & Radio X

In August 2013 it was announced Johnny Vaughan had signed for talkSPORT hosting a new show for Saturday Morning from 11am-1pm called the Warm Up alongside friends James Brown and Gavin Woods, the show looked ahead to the weekends football action and went head to head with Vaughan's former show Fighting Talk on BBC Radio 5 Live, alongside this role he also covered for Colin Murray in his 10am-1pm slot when he was unavailable.[21] His last show on talkSPORT was on the 19th September 2015 leaving talkSPORT to host the new drivetime show from 4pm-7pm as part of the new weekday daytime lineup on Radio X which includes Chris Moyles & Vernon Kay.[22]

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.

In December 2006, Vaughan 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".[3] In 2009, he presented a Premier League Football DVD titled Johnny Vaughan's Own Goals & Gaffs III.

In 2011, Vaughan appeared in the TV show 'MudMen' on History Channel. Accompanied by Steve Brooker, he ventured out into the Thames shoreline in search of hidden artefacts and treasures.

During the London 2012 Olympics, Vaughan joined Absolute Radio to present the Olympic Drivetime show. As Absolute Radio was also the official station of the BT London Live concerts in Hyde Park, which were also held during the Games, Vaughan also participated in the on-stage presenting of the acts and interviews with Team GB athletes and medalists.

Personal life

Vaughan married costume designer Antonia Davies in August 1999.[3] The couple met when he was working in a video store at age 19. Elvis Costello performed at their wedding.[2] They live in Wandsworth Common, South London,[1] with their two children, Tabitha (born 2000) and Rafferty (born 2003).[citation needed] Vaughan's father-in-law is Nick Davies, once foreign editor of the Daily Mirror.[2] They have a bulldog named Geoffrey.[2] They divorced in 2013.[2]

In March 1999, as a result of his experience of prison Catholic chaplains, Vaughan was received into the Catholic Church at Westminster Cathedral.[3] He is an admirer of cars and currently owns a Maserati 3200 GT. A supporter of Chelsea F.C., 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 also has presented Chelsea's coverage of their public training days in 2008. In June 2014, Vaughan revealed on radio that he is also a supporter of Scottish football club Rangers F.C.

In July 2008, he shaved his head to raise money for the Capital Radio charity, "Help a Capital Child", of which he is an ambassador.[23]

In 2012 Johnny took part in a charity human/animal bungie jump contest. All participants were tied to an animal, such as a badger, and hurled off a platform at 100ft. Johnny was so impressed that it was rumoured he would like to make a tv show about the experience.[dubious ]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 The Observer Profile: Johnny Vaughan The Observer, 9 February 2003
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Riding High on Planet Vaughan – 28 November 2008
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 The rise of Johnny come lately BBC News – 30 April 2001
  4. Johnny Vaughan: Rise and shine time revisited The Independent, 13 April 2004
  5. 5.0 5.1 Johnny Vaughan & Denise Van Outen: Big Mouths Strike Again, Daily Telegraph, 8 March 2008
  6. 6.0 6.1 Interview: Johnny Vaughan thelondonpaper, 13 November 2006
  7. "Here's Johnny!", Mayfair, June 1994
  9. Question Time: Johnny Vaughan The Independent, 3 November 2008
  10. "Any Dream Will Do – About". BBC. Retrieved 7 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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. 15.0 15.1 'Orrible Ratings for Johnny Vaughan The Independent, 30 September 2001
  16. Johnny and Denise lose Passport BBC News, 30 November 2004
  17. [1][dead link]
  18. Johnny Vaughan Regains London Breakfast Radio Crown, The Guardian, 16 October 2008
  19. Lisa Snowdon Gives Johnny Vaughan Radio Boost thelondonpaper, 16 October 2008
  20. Rajar Q4 2011: Capital's Johnny Vaughan bows out as London's no 1 MediaWeek, 2 February 2012.
  21. "Johnny Vaughan signs for talkSPORT". Talksport Radio. Retrieved 15 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Chris Moyles, Ricky Wilson, Johnny Vaughan & Vernon Kay join Radio X". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Johnny Vaughan Goes Bald for Help a London Child Hairdressers Journal Interactive, 28 July 2008

External links