|Birth name||Peter John Kay|
|Born||2 July 1973|
Bolton, Lancashire, England
|Medium||Film, stand-up, television|
|Alma mater||University of Salford|
|Genres||Observational comedy, musical comedy, physical comedy|
|Subject(s)||Everyday life, marriage, family, British culture, pop culture, human behaviour|
|Notable works and roles||That Peter Kay Thing (1999)|
Phoenix Nights (2001–2002)
Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere (2004)
Peter Kay's Car Share (2015–2020)
Born and brought up in Bolton, Kay studied media performance at the University of Salford. He began working part-time as a stand-up comedian, winning the North West Comedian of the Year award. In 1997 he won Channel 4's So You Think You're Funny contest and the following year was nominated for a Perrier Award for his show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. With his public profile raised, in 2000 he co-wrote and starred in That Peter Kay Thing for Channel 4. This resulted in a spin-off sitcom, Phoenix Nights, which ran for two series from 2001 to 2002, and in turn generated another spin-off, Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere, in 2004. In 2005 he recorded a promotional video in which he mimed to Tony Christie's 1971 hit "(Is This the Way to) Amarillo", which was being reissued to raise money for Comic Relief; the song then reached number 1 in the UK Singles Chart, becoming that year's best-selling single in the UK.
In 2008 Kay co-wrote and starred in Britain's Got the Pop Factor... and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice, a parody of several British reality television shows. As the series' fictional protagonist Geraldine McQueen, he released the single "The Winner's Song", which reached number 2 in the UK singles chart. His 2010–2011 stand-up comedy tour was officially inaugurated into the Guinness World Records as the most successful of all time, playing to over 1.2 million people. He co-wrote and starred in Peter Kay's Car Share, a sitcom screened by the BBC for three series between 2015–2018. He also starred in the 2015 BBC sitcom Cradle to Grave.
In 2016 Kay won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Male Comedy Performance, the BAFTA TV Award for Best Scripted Comedy and the National Television Award for Best Comedy for Car Share. He also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Salford.
Life and career
Kay was born and brought up in the Farnworth area of Bolton, Lancashire, where he attended Mount Saint Joseph School, leaving with one GCSE in art. His father, Michael, was an engineer who died just before Peter's career took off. His mother, Deirdre (née O'Neill), is an Irish Catholic originally from Coalisland, County Tyrone, and Peter was brought up in her faith. He took several minor jobs, including working in a toilet roll factory, a Netto supermarket, Manchester Arena, a cash and carry, a cinema, a petrol station and a bingo hall, which later inspired episodes for That Peter Kay Thing.
He began a degree course at the University of Liverpool in Drama, Theatre Studies and English Literature. Struggling with the course, he changed to studying a Higher National Diploma (HND) in media performance (including stand-up) at the University of Salford's Adelphi Campus School of Media, Music and Performance. In recognition of his contribution to the entertainment industry, Kay went on to receive an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from his alma mater on 19 July 2016, at Salford's Lowry Theatre.
His first stand-up was the competition the North West Comedian of the Year, which was held in Manchester and hosted by Dave Spikey, who would later be the co-star and co-writer of Phoenix Nights. Kay was last on the bill and won the competition, beating Johnny Vegas. Kay has said that he sought a career in comedy. However, he continued to work part-time as an usher at his local cinema in Bolton whilst performing stand-up locally. When the cinema closed, he was presented with the choice of finding another job or moving into comedy full-time.
After he entered and won Channel 4's So You Think You're Funny? contest in 1997, his first semi-professional stand-up appearances were at the 1998 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where he received a prestigious Perrier Award nomination. During this time, he also appeared at various other clubs, such as London's Comedy Store.
Although this led to a certain level of public recognition, it was only after his first live special Live at the Top of the Tower in 2000 that Kay attained mainstream recognition. During this period, he appeared on several chat shows, such as Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and Parkinson, on the latter of which he had previously served as warm-up. It was at this time that production also began on Phoenix Nights. Subsequent advertisements for John Smith's bitter which imitate the style of Phoenix Nights saw Kay develop his catchphrases "'ave it!" and "two lamb bhunas".
In a Bolton nightclub in 1998, Kay met Susan Gargan while he was working at the local cinema. They married in 2001 after being in a relationship for three years.
1997–2000: Early career
Kay's first TV project was in a 1997 episode of New Voices, a comedy series which showcased rising talent. His episode, "Two Minutes", written by Johanne McAndrew, saw him play a getaway driver as two of his friends attempted to rob a pub of its takings. In 1997, he played a delivery driver in the BBC drama Born to Run. 
Also in 1997 he made a one-off appearance on Coronation Street as a delivery driver for Fred Elliots corner shop.
In 1998 Kay appeared in a series of sketches for Granada TV's "Last Last Show" and "Roy Mills Films of Fun" where he made his TV debut as a character comedy actor, and also did a stand up set. Neil Fitzmaurice also appeared in the series alongside many other local comedians who Kay later recruited for his Channel 4 series.
After presenting a slot titled "Peter Kay's World of Entertainment" on BBC Two's The Sunday Show, Kay made an episode of Channel 4's Comedy Lab, "The Services", in 1998, which won a Royal Television Society award for best newcomer. This served as a pilot for That Peter Kay Thing.
Following the series' success, Kay and his co-writers – Neil Fitzmaurice and Dave Spikey – used the episode "In the Club" as the basis for Phoenix Nights, which was an immediate hit. Set in a newly refurbished social club run by Brian Potter, the first series was filmed in part at St Gregory's Social Club in Farnworth, Greater Manchester, where the exterior, hallways and function suite were used.
In 2004, Kay followed the success with Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere, a spin-off of Phoenix Nights. The show featured the bouncer characters from the show—played by Kay and Paddy McGuinness—and at times also featured other characters from Phoenix Nights. Six episodes were made and broadcast from November to December 2004 by Channel 4. In 2005, Kay was awarded a Rose d'Or at the international television festival in Montreux for Best Performance by an Actor.
On 17 April 2006, Channel 4 broadcast a "Peter Kay Night", showing out-takes from Phoenix Nights (previously featured on DVD), a behind-the-scenes documentary "180 – A Tour Documentary" which followed Kay behind the scenes of his Mum Wants a Bungalow tour and screened the whole Peter Kay Live in Manchester Arena show.
In 2008, he returned to television after an absence of four years with the BAFTA-winning satire of reality talent shows, Peter Kay's Britain's Got the Pop Factor... and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice, which he co-wrote with Paul Coleman. The two-hour special was screened on Channel 4 on 17 October 2008.
Kay won his second Royal Television Society award for best actor for playing Geraldine McQueen, a transsexual dinner lady from Ireland.
2000–2011: Stage shows
Kay has released several DVDs of live performances, including "Live at the Top of the Tower, Live at the Bolton Albert Halls (which holds the record as biggest selling British stand-up DVD), Peter Kay: The Live Collections (the previous two combined), Peter Kay: Live at Manchester Arena, and Peter Kay Live – The Tour That Didn't Tour Tour (which was recorded during his fifteen-night sold-out run at The O2 Arena in London).
In 2007, Kay followed up the success of "(Is This the Way to) Amarillo" with a cover version of "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)", originally by the Proclaimers, also for Comic Relief. The video featured a celebration of British talent. In 2009, Kay switched his musical fund-raising to Children in Need with the release of Peter Kay's All Star Animated Band, which had taken two years to complete. He brought together over 100 animated children's characters in a six-minute animated medley. These characters included Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder and Paddington Bear. It also featured some of the characters' original voice artists including Bernard Cribbins, Neil Morrissey, Ken Barrie and Ringo Starr. The video was premiered on BBC1 on 20 November 2009.
Kay returned his support to Comic Relief in 2011 with a cover version of "I Know Him So Well". The song was re-recorded by multi-platinum selling singer Susan Boyle and Kay in the guise of Geraldine McQueen from Britain's Got the Pop Factor. The video which accompanied the single was also directed by Kay and identically parodied the original video shot for shot. It premiered on Comic Relief on Friday, 18 March 2011.
In May 2015 his own sitcom Peter Kay's Car Share began to air. The series was a success and a second series was commissioned to start in April 2017. In October 2015, he starred in Cradle to Grave another BBC sitcom based on Danny Baker's life as a teenager.
Return to stand-up
In November 2009, after an absence of seven years, Kay announced a return to stand-up with four (later extended to 20) dates at the Manchester Arena the following April with a show entitled The Tour That Doesn't Tour Tour...Now On Tour. Demand for tickets caused him to announce soon after that the show would be toured. In January 2012, the tour entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful stand-up comedy tour of all time, playing to a total of 1.2 million people.
Kay's tour received minor criticism in the press when his disabled fans were hit with bills of up to £39 on premium phone lines booking tour tickets. It was later clarified that this was an issue with the ticket booking services associated with specific venues rather than a matter directly associated with Peter Kay or his production company.
In November 2017, Kay announced his intention to return to stand-up with his first tour in eight years. Peter Kay Live: Have Gags, Will Travel was scheduled to begin touring in 2018, beginning with the Genting Arena in April before touring at venues such as SSE Hydro, Manchester Arena, The O2 Arena, First Direct Arena, SSE Arena Belfast, Sheffield Arena and Echo Arena Liverpool. On 13 December 2017, Kay announced that he was cancelling all future work projects (including Peter Kay Live: Have Gags Will Travel tour) for family reasons. He had asked that the media respect his and his family's privacy. The tour hit criticism again regarding phone calls as fans were charged 62p per minute to call premium rate phone lines to claim ticket refunds.
He appeared in the first episode of the 2002 series of Linda Green, playing a pizza delivery man who ended up being something of a soulmate to the eponymous heroine. He has had two roles in Coronation Street. The first, in the late 1990s, was a brief appearance as a shopfitter, but in January 2004 he co-wrote his scenes, appearing alongside Sally Lindsay, who played Shelley Unwin.
On 17 June 2006, Kay appeared in the Doctor Who episode "Love & Monsters". His character, the sinister Victor Kennedy, proved to be an alien called the Abzorbaloff in disguise. Kay was included in the Independent on Sunday's "Happy List" in 2009 as "simply Britain's best comedian", and – as an exception to their general rule – was included again in 2010 for also raising funds for Children in Need.
On 9 September 2017, Kay took part in the "We Are Manchester" benefit concert to mark the reopening of Manchester Arena following the terrorist attack in May 2017. He gave a speech to the crowd before introducing the concert's headline act Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.
Goodnight Vienna Productions
- 2005: The Best of Peter Kay – So Far
|2005||"Is This the Way to Amarillo" (Tony Christie feat. Peter Kay) ||1||1||4|
|2007||"I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" (as Brian Potter, with the Proclaimers and Andy Pipkin) ||1||7||16|
|2008||"The Winner's Song" 1||2||—||21|
|"Once Upon a Christmas Song" 1||5||35||15|
|2009||"The Official BBC Children in Need Medley" (Peter Kay's Animated All-Star Band)||1||6||7|
|2011||"I Know Him So Well" (credited to Peter Kay and Comic Relief present Susan Boyle & Geraldine McQueen on the record, Peter Kay & Susan Boyle on the UK singles chart) 1||11||—||—|
^1 As Geraldine McQueen.
|1996||New Voices||George||Episode: "Two Minutes"|
|1997||Coronation Street||Shopfitter||Episode dated 17 November 1997|
|The Last Laugh Show||10 Episodes|
|Comedy Lab||Various roles||Episode: "The Services"|
|Let's Get Quizzical||Himself|
|1999||Butterfly Collectors||Ronnie||2-part miniseries|
|City Central||Brian||Episode: "Someone to Watch Over Me"|
|2000||That Peter Kay Thing||Various roles||6 episodes|
|The Secret World of Michael Fry||Barney – Barman||Miniseries|
|2001–02||Phoenix Nights||Various roles||12 episodes|
|2002||Linda Green||Eddie||Episode: "No Friends"|
|2003||Comic Relief 2003: The Big Hair Do||Brian Potter||TV special|
|2004||Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere||Various roles||6 episodes|
|Coronation Street||Eric Gartside||2 episodes dated 30 January 2004|
|2005||The Catherine Tate Show||Tommy||Episode: "Large Breasted Doctor"|
|Mrs. Brown's Boys||Jason – Travel Agent||Episode: "Good Mourning Mrs. Brown"|
|2006||Doctor Who||Victor Kennedy / Abzorbaloff||Episode: "Love & Monsters"|
|Little Britain Abroad||Part 1 & Part 2|
|2007–11||Roary the Racing Car||Big Chris / Tin Top / Big Christine (voices)|
|2008||Britain's Got the Pop Factor... and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice||Geraldine McQueen|
|Take That Come to Town||Geraldine McQueen||TV film|
|2009||Peter Kay: Raider of the Pop Charts||Himself||2-part documentary|
|2010||Brit Awards 2010||Himself – Host||TV award show|
|2012||Peter Kay: In Converstation||Himself||TV special|
|2013||Comic Relief 2013||Himself||Telethon|
|2015||Cradle to Grave||Fred Baker||8 episodes|
|Peter Kay: 20 Years of Funny||Himself||Documentary|
|2015–18||Peter Kay's Car Share||John Redmond||12 episodes|
|2016–20||Peter Kay's Comedy Shuffle||Himself||25 episodes|
|2017||Let It Shine||Himself – Guest Judge||Series 1, Episode 10|
|Inside No. 9||Neil||Episode: "Private View"|
|2002–03||Mum Wants a Bungalow Tour||First solo tour, 89 date
|2010–11||The Tour That Doesn't Tour Tour...Now On Tour||122 dates (98 in England, 14 in Ireland, 5 in Scotland, 5 in Wales)|
|2018–19||Have Gags, Will Travel||Planned 90 dates, tour cancelled|
|2000||Going Off Big Time||Flipper|
|2001||Blow Dry||Cyril the Barman|
|2002||Roddy Smythe Investigates...||Tommy Doyle||Video short|
|24 Hour Party People||Don Tonay|
|Last Rumba in Rochdale||Dad (voice)||Short|
|2005||The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse||Simon Pig|
|Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit||PC Mackintosh (voice)|||
|Max & Paddy's The Power of Two||Max||Video|
|Title||Release date||Age rating|
|Live at the Top of the Tower||22 November 2000||15|
|Live at the Bolton Albert Halls||10 November 2003||15|
|Live at the Manchester Arena||14 November 2005||15|
|Peter Kay's Special Kay||17 November 2008||15|
|Live – The Tour That Didn't Tour – Tour||7 November 2011||15|
|Live & Back on Nights||19 November 2012||15|
- McLean, Gareth (15 October 2004). "The Guardian profile: Peter Kay". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
- "Index entry birth record". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
- "Peter Kay breaks record for Most tickets sold for a stand-up comedy tour". Guinness World Records. 7 September 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
- "Comedian Peter Kay receives Salford honorary doctorate". Salfordonline.com. 20 July 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
- "10 Peter Kay facts all his fans should know". Smooth. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
- "Laughter lines? Sure 'our' Peter Kay gets them from Tyrone". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
- "Peter Kay starring in BBC drama series Born to Run" – via www.youtube.com.
- "Peter Kay makes TV comeback with a Solero, sunglasses and a smile". Sky News.
- "Peter Kay brings back 'On The Road to Amarillo' feat. The British Public! | The Big Night In - BBC" – via www.youtube.com.
- Hayward, Stephen (25 November 2017). "Peter Kay's disabled fans hit with bills up to £39 on premium rate ticket line". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- "Peter Kay cancels comeback comedy tour for family reasons". BBC News Online. 13 December 2017. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
- Kindon, Frances (13 December 2017). "Peter Kay cancels first tour in eight years – scrapping all 100 dates". Mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
- Day, Pascale (15 December 2017). "Peter Kay fans angry after being charged to get refunds for cancelled tour".
- "Peter Kay". IMDb.com. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
- "The IoS Happy List 2009 – the 100". Independent.co.u. 19 April 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- "The IoS Happy List 2010 – the 100". Independent.co.uk. 25 April 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- Molloy, Thomas (2 January 2021). "Peter Kay makes rare media appearance - and has listeners in stitches". Manchester Evening News.
- "GOOD NIGHT VIENNA PRODUCTIONS LIMITED". Companies House. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
- "Goodnight Vienna Productions". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
- "Is This The Way To Amarillo by Tony Christie and Peter Kay – Music Charts". Acharts.us. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
- "(i'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles by Proclaimers featuring B Potter and A Pipkin – Music Charts". Acharts.us. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
- "Kay records Children in Need song". BBC News. 9 November 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
- "PETER KAY & SUSAN BOYLE | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com.
- "PETER KAY | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com.
- "Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit". IMDb.com. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
- "Newsbeat – Peter Kay is the first comedian to sell 10 million DVDs". BBC. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
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