More TV Memories – Johnny Vaughan Tonight/Live At Johnny’s.

Johnny Vaughan Tonight (BBC Choice, 2002-2003, BBC3, 2003)/Live At Johnny’s (BBC3, 2004)

Johnny Vaughan is someone who I have enjoyed on TV over the years (and I think we share a birthday too). I am not really a huge fan of film, but I do remember enjoying his Channel 4 show Moviewatch. I didn’t plan to look back at the shows listed as the start of this piece, I actually wanted to review Here’s Johnny, a late-night show he hosted on Channel 4 in 1997 that was an amusingly quirky combination of comedy and chat.

Hopefully some clips will turn up online of that show one day. But until then, I thought that I might as well review these similar shows. After leaving The Big Breakfast, and managing to revive that show’s fortunes for a while, Johnny left Channel 4, and joined the BBC (but let’s not think about his sitcom ‘Orrible for now). He hosted this five nights a week show, and didn’t mind appearing on BBC Choice.

I’m fairly sure that Johnny Vaughan Tonight wasn’t shown live, but was recorded as close to transmission as possible. He would have a big stage, and a band in the studio would play as he came on, while he was greeted with much applause. See, it’s not only Jack Docherty who can dream of achieving such things! A fairly decent standard of celebrity guest appeared to be interviewed.

Johnny would also offer a few wry observations about what was currently happening in the news (there was occasionally a late-night repeat on BBC1 to help bump up the ratings). And in 2002, there was the spin-off series Johnny Vaughan’s World Cup Extra, where he took a look at what was happening in the football. Johnny Vaughan Tonight even survived the big bold relaunch to BBC3, to try and entertain all the hip children.

There was a small format change eventually though, when this became Live At Johnny’s, and as the title suggested, this show did now go out live, and also seemed to be coming from his shed for some reason. This also meant that things were a little more shambolic than before, although Johnny could deal with most of it having already gone through the experience on The Big Breakfast.

I’m fairly sure that during the series Lauren Laverne or some such person was brought in as a co-host to help tighten up some of the saggier parts so to speak, although she would’ve been lucky to get a word in with motormouth Johnny around. But after this ended, Johnny has mostly concentrated on his radio work, being chosen as Chris Tarrant’s replacement on Capital’s breakfast show, and he is now on Radio X.

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