After several years working as a presenter and interviewer for BBC Radio 4, Vernon's first travelogue series was Fat Man On A Bicycle. As the title implied, Vernon was obese and the first episode followed the health tests he had to undergo before setting off on his journey, which took him from Muswell Hill to the Mediterranean coast of southern France. He would repeat this journey fifteen years later for the TV series, Fat Man in France.
Fat Man at Work and his first television series, Fat Man in the Kitchen, deviated from the travelogue style of the other series. The former featured Vernon talking to people working in factories, while the latter was a cookery programme filmed in his own kitchen in Muswell Hill in which each edition was devoted to cuisine of a different country.