New Carry on Glamping with Johnny Vegas hits the road

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Wednesday: Johnny Vegas: Carry on Glamping (Channel 4, 9pm)

Johnny Vegas is a lot of things – potter, comedian, actor and director are just some of his skills – but tourism entrepreneur?

Even his most ardent fan would probably have struggled to imagine that would be something he could add to his already packed CV, but that became the case in 2019 when he decided to set up a glamping site, complete with renovated and repurposed vintage vehicles.

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The idea came after he purchased, one drunken evening, an old Maltese bus from a famous auction site and tasked his long-suffering assistant Bev with having it shipped over to the UK.

Johnny VegasJohnny Vegas
Johnny Vegas

“I bought a bus online,” says Johnny. “Not because it’s what showbiz folk do, but because my camping van got nicked and it had been my wee bit of creative space heaven.

“After a number of pub chats, misadventures, an art school virus to create beauty as and when you can, plus a deep desire to save these gorgeous machines from a scrap heap, suddenly (I was) trying to turn a ‘What if?’ into a ‘Well, why not?’”

Thankfully Channel 4 decided to follow his progress, and the result became Johnny Vegas: Carry on Glamping, a surprisingly heartfelt and touching series that debuted in 2021.

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It introduced viewers to skilled craftspeople who specialise in turning rundown vehicles of all shapes and sizes into desirable holiday lets, and saw Johnny set up his site on a farm near Harrogate.

Bookings since lockdown have been high, but planning restrictions mean that the business can’t be expanded, so the new run charts Johnny and Bev’s efforts to find a new, larger home for Patricia (the Maltese bus, which is lovingly named after the comic’s late mum) and her cohorts.

“Following Johnny’s journey to open his glampsite was a rollercoaster of emotions, funny, heartfelt, perilous and poignant,” says Channel 4’s Jonny Rothery. “I’m so pleased Johnny and Bev are back to do it all again.”

“It blew both Bev and I away how lovingly received Carry on Glamping was – I still think it should’ve been called ‘What Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong’,” adds the comic. “Still, the success of our wee field and the joy every vehicle brought to so many was heart-warming. It gave me the bug for rescuing more vehicles in need of a loving home.

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“My bank manager, accountant and, of course, Bev, are all thrilled that we we’re not stopping at just one Maltese bus. We will dearly miss our field and friends in Yorkshire, but the search for a new home to park our dreams upon has indeed begun.”

As Johnny alludes to in his quote, he’s added to his collection of vehicles; he’s particularly proud of now being the owner of a Puma helicopter, which saw action in Chile and Sierra Leone.

But, as we catch up with him again, the battle is on to find it a home. He and Bev begin their quest in Suffolk at Jimmy Doherty’s Farm and Wildlife Park, and despite his enthusiasm, it soon becomes clear that not everyone is impressed with Johnny’s business acumen.