Yes, as unlikely as it might seem, Vegas makes an appearance on tonight’s show. The angry stand-up from BBC3’s Ideal will be considering the ceramics put forward in this week’s semi-final alongside regular experts Kate Malone and Keith Brymer Jones. Because, unknown to most, Vegas has plenty of pottery practice.
Vegas – real name Michael Joseph Pennington – developed an interest in ceramics at school and went on to study pottery at Middlesex University where he was taught by Malone. However, he only left with a third class degree.
“I was constantly saying ‘you’re really clever but you’re not doing anything,’” Malone said. “He ended up getting a low grade, and has been trying to get his own back on me ever since.”
However, despite disappointing at university, Vegas managed to incorporate his potter’s wheel into a furious stand-up routine, substituting water for beer.
One of his on-stage works even made it to London’s V&A: a teapot he made during a performance at the 1999 Ceramic Millennium conference in Amsterdam can be found on display in the museum. And the most impressive part? It’s one he assembled in under 60-seconds.
Don’t believe it? Well, fortunately it’s a feat Vegas repeated in 2015 for the launch of the BBC’s Get Creative campaign.
But it’s not just for show: Vegas also has a spinning pottery table at home. “Pottery is a little bit of me time,” he told the BBC. “It’s something where I can express another part of me possibly that isn’t as commercial, but I find it very therapeutic and beneficial. It’s just wonderful to be able to build something, to take a bag of clay, mould it into something else and fire it. It’s the perfect little reminder of an idea.”
So, what will Vegas be doing on tonight’s show? Demonstrating his one-minute teapot trick before inviting the contestants to do the same. Well, actually he’ll be forcing the Throw Down semi-finalists to make FIVE in as many minutes.
We’ll have to see if any will be brave enough to try Vegas’ tried and tested method of swapping water with Guinness.
The Great Pottery Throw Down is on 8pm Thursday, BBC2