Jonny Owen and Vicky McClure: They are the Merthyr/Nottingham showbiz couple many will know for their combined passion for acting, film and football.
Owen, 50, is from Merthyr Tydfil and has become a producer, actor and writer – appearing on TV shows like Shameless and Murphy’s Law – while McClure, of course, is known to millions as DI Kate Fleming in the hit BBC drama Line of Duty.
Owen, whose daughter Katie is a DJ, and McClure have appeared on screen together on several occasions – including on This is England – but let’s take a closer look at Jonny’s history, career and passions.
What TV shows and movies has Jonny Owen been in?
Many will know Jonny for his form in sports films and documentaries.
He was the director of I Believe In Miracles, the story of historic Nottingham Forest who won back-to-back European Cups in 1979 and 1980 under Brian Clough.
He also directed Don’t Take Me Home, the story of Wales’ incredible journey to Euro 2016.
He was also a producer/presenter of ITV Wales Soccer Sunday and is currently a director at Nottingham Forest after joining in March 2018.
But before all that, Jonny landed the role of Richey in the 1999 Welsh drama Nuts and Bolts, Murphy’s Law alongside James Nesbitt and Dirty Work with Neil Pearson. He has also worked with Irvine Welsh on several dramas including Dose, Wedding Belles and Good Arrows.
His film Little White Lies – shown at the Moscow Film Festival – followed in 2006, and he won the Gwyn Alf Williams Award at the Welsh BAFTAs for the 40th anniversary documentary of the Aberfan disaster on ITV Wales. He also played Ady in the Channel 4 series Shameless and played Welsh singing legend Sir Tom Jones in the independent film A Bit of Tom Jones in 2009.
Enter Svengali. He wrote and starred in the series and the subsequent rock ‘n’ roll feature proved pivotal in introducing Jonny and Vicky.
The attraction was instantaneous and they fell in love, first moving in together in London, before putting down roots in Vicky’s home town of Nottingham – after Jonny had spent months living with Vicky’s parents while she was working and the search for a house continued.
“When Vicky came on board, I had no idea what she would be like as a person,” Jonny previously said. “I had a long conversation with her on the phone and we hit it off really well then. So I got the idea that she was a lovely person.
“Obviously, I thought she was incredibly attractive. When I first met her, we got on really well.
“Then I remember we were walking on Southbank [in London] a shooting weekend and we were going to the Tate Modern and she turned to me and asked me if I’d rather go to the pub. And I was like, well, yeah!
“I was like, ‘What a girl.’ I think we almost simultaneously said, ‘I like you!’
“I was going through a divorce at the time and had been separated for seven or eight months,” he adds. “I was single, she was single and I was living in London. So when we finished filming, she moved to London with me.
“I think we went from ‘I love you’ in the pub to ‘I love you’ in about 10 seconds.
“In the scenes in the movie where we have to look like we’re in love, there’s really a chemistry there and that’s because we were in a place where we didn’t have to force ourselves to act by being lover.”
They got engaged on Christmas Day in 2017.
Jonny Owen and football
Football is a huge part of Jonny’s life, having brought fans of I Believe in Miracles and Don’t Take Me Home.
He landed his own talkSPORT radio show in 2020, his first foray into national radio despite being no stranger to the station.
“I think there’s a big culture around football that involves film, music, fashion, books and everything to do with it,” he previously said.
He also covered Wales’ Euro 2020 exploits for Merthyr Town FC’s talkSPORT.
Vicky is a Notts County fan thanks to her county-supporting grandfather, while the rest of her family are Forest fans.
Vicky, an adopted native of Merthyr
You could argue that 38-year-old actress McClure has been somewhat adopted as a Merthyr resident since meeting Jonny, and she doesn’t talk enough about the Valleys community.
“I really like Wales and I really like Merthyr. When I first went to Merthyr I was like ‘wow, what is this place?’ I’ve never felt so welcome, just walking down to the local pubs,” she previously told WalesOnline.
“In a way, it feels like stepping back in time to the days when it was just a matter of knocking on your neighbor for a pint of milk and that kind of participation and community spirit. love the place I love being there because it feels like everyone is there to laugh and have fun and care for each other and loyalty That’s my take on Merthyr .
Merthyr Town F.C. sponsors
Ahead of the 2021-22 season, Owen and McClure’s production company BYO Films became sponsor of Merthyr Town FC shorts (the shirt was not available to the sponsor).
Penydarren Park, their home ground, has actually hosted McClure for a karaoke session or two – as she took to the mic a few Christmases ago with Wales’ Euro 2016 anthem “Don’t Take Me Home”.
“It was a good time,” she said. “I think it’s criminal not to sing when I’m in Wales.
“With the Dementia Choir too, I just learned to say ‘everyone can sing’. As long as I’ve had a few pints, who cares? a very community thing!”
Jonny added: “It went really well, as you can imagine in a pub full of Welsh people the whole pub sang along. She has a good voice, actually!”
As for the sponsorship deal, Jonny added: “It was the first football club I went to and it was always something close to my heart. I wanted to do something for my hometown. it’s more than a football club, it’s the heart of the city, and it’s really important that it’s there because it gives people confidence, and that’s the most important thing you can have. If we can bring some attention, some money to the club, it’s so important for the city’s character and our history, really.”