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ITV The Chase: Celebrity contestant who didn’t find fame until he was 59

It seems most celebrities nowadays have been stars since they were teens, but not everyone gets their big breakthrough quite that early, and in this particular case not until nearly at retirement age!

But actor and comedian Dave Johns really didn’t get his big break until he was 59 years old back in 2016, when he starred in the poignant and moving Ken Loach film I, Daniel Blake.

The film stuck a chord with audiences for it’s laying bare of the injustices of the benefits system, winning a Bafta and a Palme d’Or and shoot Dave to national fame.

READ MORE: ITV The Chase: Star who’s been bombarded with marriage proposals – but is happily married to university sweetheart

Dave appeared first appeared on the Celebrity Chase in 2017 but returned most recently in 2020 alongside Ronni Ancona, Adam Gemili, and Joel Dommett.

Dave was scorned by The Vixen Jenny Ryan at one point for running out of time on an answer despite knowing it.



Dave Johns and Alison Steadman in 23 Walks
Dave stars alongside Alison Steadman in 23 Walks

Back in 2017, despite winning £68,000 in his cash builder against The Beast, Mark Labbett, Dave and his team couldn’t bring home the £70,000 pot, but they were given £1,000 each which Dave donated to Newcastle West End Foodbank.

Before I, Daniel Blake, Dave had only managed small TV appearances in unnamed roles since 1995, and was a bricklayer before turning his hand to comedy.

He was even ready to give that up before Ken Loach reached out about a role in his new film in 2016.

Since I, Daniel Blake, Dave, now 65, has written a stage adaptation of the film and has starred in seven more films, most notably Blithe Spirit in 2020, which also featured the likes of Judi Dench, Isla Fisher, and Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens.

It was filming another of his most recent films 23 Walks alongside Gavin and Stacey star Alison Steadman where Dave took part in his first ever sex scene, aged 64!

He told the Mirror: “I never thought I’d be doing that. It’s all right if you’re a kid and you want to get your kit off and you can get straight in.”



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Dave still gets stopped multiple times a day in Newcastle where I, Daniel Blake was filmed but his daughter Macey, 15, keeps his feet squarely on the ground.

“She just rolls her eyes,” he said, “If people stop me on the street and ask me for a selfie, she says, ‘Oh Dad, man it’s so embarrassing’.”

We hope to see more of Dave’s work popping up in cinemas as the film industry gets back on its feet.