Johnny Vegas to star in Blackpool comedy

Johnny Vegas with co-star Antonio Aakeel

Johnny Vegas with co-star Antonio Aakeel

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Comedian and star of hit TV show Benidorm Johnny Vegas was in Blackpool today for the filming of an upcoming comedy.

Johnny plays Ray, a cross-dressing hotelier with a heart of gold, in the film ‘Eaten by Lions’, which is pegged for released some time next year.

Johnny Vegas as hotelier Ray outside the Holm-Lea hotel on Palatine Road

Johnny Vegas as hotelier Ray outside the Holm-Lea hotel on Palatine Road

The film follows half-brothers Omar and Pete as they discover Omar’s birth father, thought to be a Bollywood actor, is in fact alive and well in Blackpool.

In the hope of reuniting with Omar’s long lost dad, the pair head to the resort, where they meet Ray.

Johnny said: “He’s a very well-meaning man who lost the love of his life and runs a boarding house.

“His appearance is not exactly average, but he’s got a heart of gold and would go out of the way to help anyone.

“The boys are a bit nervous about him but they have nothing to worry about because he just wants to feed them teacakes.

“I don’t think he’s ever left the house since he discovered click-and-collect. As soon as Sainsburys started doing deliveries that was it.”

Filming took place this morning at the Holm-Lea Hotel on Palatine Road.

In a wacky exclusive interview with The Gazette, Johnny, dressed in a brown wig and revealing dressing gown, said he had spent two weeks in a local B&B to prepare for the role - but added that he also ‘dressed up as a seagull and stole food off people’.

He said: “I’ve been coming here for years. I’ve got to say my favourite bit of Blackpool is the Exhibition of the Universe. It’s more than a conspiracy theory!

“I once saved a dog from drowning at Blackpool beach - a Jack Russell. I harpooned it and dragged it to safety.

“I actually managed to coax it out because the water was getting rough. Luckily my fingers look like sausages.”

Speaking about the film, producer Hannah Stevenson said: “It’s a modern, multiculturual, heartwarming British comedy about family in Blackpool.”

Eaten by Lions will star former Britain’s Got Talent finalist Jack Carroll as Pete and Skins actor Antionio Aakeel as Omar.

EMMY award winner Asim Chaudhry, comedian Kevin Eldon, BAFTA award nominee Vicki Pepperdine, Eastenders star Nitin Ganatra and Emmerdale star Hayley Tamaddon will also feature in the movie.

Eaten by Lions, directed by Jason Wingard, will be released next year.