Here Johnnie explains how he re-discovered his long neglected love of painting.
I enjoyed painting and drawing when I was at school in Surrey, and quite a lot of my artistic efforts were pinned up on the classroom wall. In those days, after your fourteenth birthday you either left school and went out to work, or took exams to go on for two years of further education. I sat the exams and, much to my surprise won two separate 'scholarships' which enabled me to take a course at either The Sutton College of Art or at The Wimbledon Technical College to study engineering.
Of course, I desparately wanted to take the artistic direction, but my dad decided that "to learn a trade" was an opportunity not to be passed up lightly - so engineering it was.
At sixteen, with a First Class Diploma in engineering in my hand and prospects of a good position with an engineering company of some sort I went for a few interviews, but soon realised that the future looked extremely boring. As I had missed out on the art training course I decided there was only one direction to go - into showbusiness.