Michael Pennington has cast aside his Johnny Vegas persona and is determined to move on as himself.

In an interview with The Guardian to publicise his new autobiography, the 42-year-old English comedian says: “Johnny has been in a box for a couple of years.”

In Becoming Johnny Vegas, Pennington traces the birth of the character he created and who made him a comedy star. Unfortunately, Vegas went on to almost consume his creator.

Pennington reflects on those times and admits that stand-up felt like "an out of body experience – something I could never take credit for."

As he pegged back on Vegas, and more recently moved into acting and then directing, he also toned down his legendary levels of drinking. “I didn't want a whole confidence system based on drink,” he says.

Last month, Pennington was interviewed about his book at the Edinburgh festival. "It was really bizarre,” he admits. “At the end, [t]he [interviewer] said, 'Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Pennington.' And people stood up and applauded.

“Michael Pennington has never had a round of applause,” he adds. “It felt like the first step to claiming him back.”