Electric pioneer set for honorary degree

Entertainment news
Entertainment news

A Chorley electronica pioneer and Michael Pennington, better known as Johnny Vegas, will receive honorary degrees from Edge Hill University.

Michael, originally from St Helens, started out as a stand-up comic in 1995 but last year turned his talents to directing, with two dramas for BBC1’s Moving On series and the Sky Arts drama Ragged, as well as the music videos Handyman Blues for Billy Bragg and DIY for Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott.

His recently published memoir Becoming Johnny Vegas (Harper, 2013) received much critical acclaim.

Another six individuals who are to receive honorary degrees from the university include founding singer of Ultravox John Foxx, women’s rights activist Dr Helen Pankhurst and composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle.

Born Dennis Leigh in Chorley, Foxx’s father was a coal miner and pugilist and his mother a millworker.

He attended St Mary’s Primary and St Augustine’s Secondary schools. He experimented with tape recorders and synthesisers while on a scholarship at the Royal College of Art in London

His first band, formed whilst at art college in Preston, was called Woolly Fish. Before he was replaced by Midge Ure and when Ultravox! didn’t have a ‘!’, they recorded ROckWrok, Frozen Ones and the seminal Young Savage.