Comic Johnny’s grief over dad’s death

Johnny Vegas on board for Murder On The Blackpool Express
Johnny Vegas on board for Murder On The Blackpool Express

Funnyman Johnny Vegas has opened up about his grief following his father’s death earlier this year.

The actor and comedian’s father Laurence Pennington died in March after battling cancer.

He was in Blackpool this summer, for film Eaten By Lions, in which he plays Ray, a cross-dressing hotelier.

The comedy film, which also stars homegrown talent Hayley Tamaddon, is due to be released next year.

And he also appears in Murder On The Blackpool Express, a feature-length special filmed in the resort, which airs on Gold next Saturday, November 11.

Vegas, 47, said he had wrongly assumed the grieving process would only take him a couple of weeks and that having work to turn to proved to be a mixed blessing.

He said: “If I’m quite honest, part of me still wants to be back at home. I still want to mind my mum. I think there are times when you realise the big sacrifice of this.

“It’s a wonderful job, you get to do all these amazing things, but it does involve a lot of time away from family.

“There’s times when you can’t turn everything off and you can’t really pull a sickie. You’ve got to be there and it does take over in a way.

“Not to say that it doesn’t come with many benefits, but I think I was fortunate at the start of the year because I’d taken time out to write and create.

“ So I got that time with my dad and I got time afterwards.

“But then, I suppose it has to be a good thing to get back into work and not to indulge yourself in terms of that mourning period.

“Because as it’s turned out for me personally, it’s such a long period.

“And I still haven’t, I don’t think, really begun to process it properly.”

In Murder On The Blackpool Express, a comedy take on Agatha Christie-style murder mysteries, Vegas plays a coach driver opposite Car Share actress Sian Gibson as a tour guide.

The pair are caught up in a deadly conspiracy when their passengers start dying one by one.

Nigel Havers, Una Stubbs and Griff Rhys Jones will also appear in the drama.