Denise Van Outen to reunite on TV with Johnny Vaughan 20 years after feud

Former Big Breakfast hosts Denise Van Outen and Johnny Vaughan are set to reunite as a TV duo for the first time in almost 20 years. The pair’s on-screen chemistry made them a big hit on Channel 4 in the late 1990s, before they went their separate ways owing to a bitter contract negotiation row.

Their last appearance together came on Passport to Paradise in 2004.

Now, they have agreed to front an episode of Steph’s Packed Lunch together on June 13 after resolving their differences during the coronavirus lockdown in 2020.

Announcing the news on the show on Tuesday (June 6), presenter Denise told host Steph McGovern: “Presenting Steph’s Packed Lunch next week will be me and… Johnny Vaughan.

“We speak all the time and we keep saying we need to do something together, and this just feels like the perfect time for us. I can’t wait, I’m so excited.”

She continued: “The last time we were actually on screen together it wasn’t the Big Breakfast. We did a game show called Passport To Paradise, and it was 20 years ago.”

Johnny, meanwhile, who now presents on Radio X, added: “We’ve had Blur, there are rumours flowing about the Gallagher brothers and now, we can now confirm, it’s the big one, the 90s reunion you’ve been waiting for – Johnny and Denise, and I can’t wait.”

The pairing of Denise, 49, and Johnny, 56, almost came about by accident as the former was drafted in to cover for Sharron Davies in late 1996, before gradually replacing her on a permanent basis over the course of the next few months.

Likewise, Johnny was a stand-in for host Richard Orford, before replacing him permanently on the expiry of his contract in September 1997.

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After a couple of successful years together their friendship soured when Denise learned her co-star had been busy renegotiating his contract without discussing it with her.

She explained their fallout to Loose Women in 2017: “It was mainly to do with pay.The view was that I did other things outside of presenting… that I already had another side to my career.

“At that particular time, we were literally like brother and sister, we were best friends, unbreakable.

“The whole relationship fell apart when we started to renegotiate our contracts because I always felt we worked together as a team and that’s how it should be. We created it together.

“Not just us but the rest of the team working on the show. I always had that mentality that it was about all of us. But Johnny and I know there are other influences involved, and agents and everything – but he was negotiating separately from me.

“I found out and obviously confronted him and I realised then that our friendship had gone in two different directions and for me it was tarnished. Obviously I gave it a second go but a similar thing happened again. It’s hard because I loved him so much and I still do.”

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