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Monday, 20 May, 2002, 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK
Vegas to make big screen debut
Johnny Vegas
Johnny Vegas has won awards for his comedy
Comedian Johnny Vegas is to make his film debut in the tale of a girl's battle to save a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Vegas will appear alongside Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson in British film The Virgin of Liverpool.

It centres on a 12-year-old girl's battle to rescue the statue which has been earmarked for destruction.

Johnny Vegas with Monkey
Vegas is also well known for ITV Digital adverts
Ignoring the objections of her dysfunctional family, she is joined by people from her Merseyside suburb who get behind her campaign to save the statue.

Details of the film were announced at the Cannes Film Festival and it will start shooting later this summer.

The producers are hoping for a hit to rival British movies like The Full Monty and Billy Elliott.

Ricky Tomlinson has been a staple in recent British comedies including the Liverpool-set 51st State and Mike Bassett: England Manager.

Heckling start

Vegas first found success in 1997 when he won a critics' prize at the Edinburgh Festival.

He had started his career the previous year when a comedian he was heckling in his native St Helens asked him if he could do a better job.

As well as stand-up he was recognised for his role as a sad but comical loner in the BBC Two comedy Happiness.

He has also been nominated for two Golden Rose of Montreux awards.

But he is perhaps now best known for his starring role alongside a home-knitted monkey in the adverts for the failed ITV Digital pay-TV platform.

See also:

20 Mar 02 | Entertainment
02 May 02 | Business
16 Jan 02 | Entertainment
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