Cast your mind back to 2019, which seems a very long time ago. Back then, none of us had any idea what the world had in store just a few months later; certainly Covid-19 wasn’t anything we had heard about.
In the early part of the year, Channel 4 announced it was making Llas Vegas, a new series charting Johnny Vegas’s efforts to restore an old bus and turn it into a luxurious glamping destination.
If anybody heard about it at the time, chances are they’ve forgotten it since but now at long last the programme is about to see the light of day, although it’s undergone a title change.
“I bought a bus online,” says Vegas. “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.
“Since then, after a number of pub chats, misadventures, plus a deep desire to save these gorgeous machines from a scrapheap, I’m suddenly, finally trying to turn a ‘What if?’ into a ‘Well, why not?’”
Benidorm star Johnny is helped by his long-suffering assistant Bev; some viewers may recognise her from her appearances alongside the comedian on Celebrity Gogglebox.
Perhaps the decision to hold the series back will be in Channel 4’s favour. During the brief period in which we have been allowed to stay away from home, glamping has risen in popularity – after all, it’s far easier and safer to remain in your own space than to venture into other people’s.
Johnny himself may benefit, too, because, although it’s true he’s bought a bus, that’s not the entire story. He’s planning on creating the ultimate glamping site, with the assistance of a gang of vintage bus enthusiasts. They will lend the novice renovator a hand.
“Borrowing cash, sorting out red tape and taking a risk on the fact other folk will want to spend time in a place that feels special,” adds Johnny.
“As no doubt the bank manager might say, I’m not the most organised person, but I tend to invest in passion.”
The idea was to set up shop in North Wales – hence the show’s original title of Llas Vegas – but after several sites fell through it seemed as if the project might never get off the ground…until a farm in the stunning Yorkshire countryside offered some of its land.
But, as we’re about to see, that wasn’t the only problem lying ahead – there’s also, of course, an approaching global pandemic…
Johnny Vegas: Carry On Glamping, Wednesday, 10pm, C4
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