The A-Z of Peter Kay

Ahead of the beloved comedian opening Co-op Live, we run through the A-Z of a stunning career. You'll never guess what G is…

A is for Arena

Kay has just been confirmed as the first headline act to play Manchester’s new Co-op Live Arena. Quite fitting that the country’s biggest comedy star would be the man to open its biggest arena. Kay headlines Co-op Live on 23 April.

B is for BAFTAs

Peter Kay is a double BAFTA-winner, picking up two awards in 2016, both for his popular series Car Share, as he took home Best Scripted Comedy, and Best Male Performance in a Comedy Programme. A surprise to see he never won that award for his turn as Brian Potter in Phoenix Nights, which was sadly overlooked. Brian Potter has also been overlooked in this ‘B’ category as well. A double defeat. Sorry Brian!

C is for Car Share

Beginning in 2015, Car Share marked a joyous return to our screens for Kay, in a unique sitcom that is set in a car. Not many comedians can pull off a show that is so contained in both its setting, and in terms of characters – but the genius of Kay’s writing and improvisation, and the impressive acting from both himself and co-lead Sian Gibson, ensure it’s a journey we’re more than happy to join them on.

Best of John | Peter Kay's Car Share

D is for Deirdre

We all feel like we know Peter’s Kay mother Deirdre incredibly well. She has made up a big part of his routine across the years, with several, and obviously endearing impressions of her, to even naming one of his tours Mum Wants A Bungalow (which we’re now almost certain she’ll have received). Kay has even stated in recent years that he still runs his material past Deirdre before deeming fit for audiences. We have a lot to thank her for!

E is for Eric Gartside

Peter Kay and Coronation Street was the collaboration we didn’t know we needed, until it arrived. Despite having starred in the soap opera back in 1997 as a shoplifter, he returned with a named role in the form of Eric Gartside, who went out for a date with Shelley Unwin in January 2004. Though disappointing to viewers, the fact we didn’t ever see a second date comes as little surprise when you consider Eric’s haircut. 

F is for Fringe

No this isn’t another reference to Eric Gartside’s hair, but to that of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where Kay, like so many comics, kickstarted his career. Honing his craft in front of audiences, his show was nominated for a prestigious Perrier award in 1998. Two years later, came his very first DVD. 

G is for Garlic Bread?!

These simple two words, put together, and said in a Northern accent, may just have unified Britain in a way we’ve struggled to do so since. Becoming something of a catchphrase for Kay, it’s now impossible to order garlic bread, to see garlic bread, to even think of garlic bread, without his face popping into your head, and subsequently, those words leaving your lips. 

BEST OF Peter Kay's STAND UP | Comedy Compilation

H is for Hobnobs

While we’re on the subject of food, and while we did consider “an empty pack of Quavers”, the supermarket confectionery that best springs to mind when we think of Peter Kay, is the Hobnob.

I is for (Is This the Way) To Amarillo

Kay’s first No.1 record (he’s had three in total) came in the form of Tony Christie’s ‘(Is This the Way) To Amarillo’ back in 2005, in aid of the charity Comic Relief. Mostly thanks to the video, which featured Kay walking alongside several celebrities, the song was nothing short of a sensation upon this re-release. It was a simpler time. 

J is for John Smith’s adverts

The iconic ‘No Nonsense’ campaign for the brewery were part of the rise of Kay’s catchphrase-heavy fandom. Kids across the nation were kicking balls as far away as they could just to repeat the words “Ave it”. P.E. Lessons consisted mainly of just collecting a myriad of balls that were on the other side of the playground. And who can forget ‘Claire. From Work’. 

Best Of John Smiths Adverts | Peter Kay

K is for Kenny ‘Dalglish’ Senior

Part of what makes Phoenix Nights so funny, was its array of brilliant supporting characters. From Jerry St. Clair, to Holy Mary, to Ray Von and the tiger-faced Young Kenny, not to mention Den Perry (booo!). But our favourite may just be Kenny Senior, a serial compulsive liar who puts Jay from The Inbetweeners to shame. Though we always do wonder… was he actually a firefighter in Mexico?

L is for Live Shows

Kay is known for a wide array of different shows and characters, but really his one standout aspect of his career, are his live shows. His epic tours that see him on the road for months, and in the Guinness Book Of Records, no less, allow audiences ample opportunity to see him live and laugh along with him. It’s where he comes to life, and where he always seems most comfortable. 

M is for Manchester

Born in Farnham, studying at the University of Salford, and calling Bolton his home – Kay’s heart belongs to Greater Manchester. Many of his greatest nights have come at the Manchester Arena, where his devoted, local fanbase appreciate one of their own. 

He’s now set to become a part of the area’s live history when he opens the new Co-op Live arena on 23 April.

N is for Non-Controversial

There is an inclination these days for comedians to live life on the edge, pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable, to be contentious and outrageous, and to provoke. But not our Peter. His end of the pier style of comedy almost seems as though it’s from a bygone era. It’s unproblematic, and most importantly, it’s really bloody funny. There’s a unique skill in remaining funny without trying to tap into the zeitgeist or manufacturing controversy. There aren’t many like Kay out there anymore, and he must be protected at all costs. 

Here Comes the Hotstepper | Peter Kay's Car Share OUTTAKES

O is for Outtakes

The reason for this entry, is simply to make you watch the hilarious clip of Reece Shearsmith in Car Share. In a scene impossible to shoot such is the inability for his co-stars to keep it together, this has got to be one of the funniest outtakes of all time.

P is for Phoenix Nights

While his stand-up was already thriving, it was Phoenix Nights that took Peter Kay’s career to a whole other level. The timeless sitcom delves into the life of Brian Potter – played by Kay – who is desperately trying to make the Phoenix Club the most successful working men’s club in the North West. One of the all-time great British sitcoms, the show combines heart and humour in a special way. 

Q is for Quiz night

One of the greatest scenes in Phoenix Nights is the quiz night, in particular, the music round. The scene where Berlin’s pop ballad ‘Take My Breath Away’ plays is genius television, and also means that from that moment onwards, whenever you hear that song, you can’t not sing along with ‘Walking On The Moon’. 

Phoenix Night's Quiz Night - Music Round | Peter Kay

R is for Road To Nowhere

Two of the best-loved characters from Phoenix Nights are Max and Paddy, played by Kay and long-time collaborator and friend Paddy McGuinness, respectively. So much so, the duo had a spin-off series entitled Max & Paddy’s Road To Nowhere, which sadly ran for just a single series. Playing Paddy brought McGuinness into the public eye and helped him forge an impressive career of his own on Take Me Out and Top Gear

S is for The Sound of Laughter

The Sound of Laughter is Peter Kay’s bestselling memoir, that opens a door into his life, and allows for his fans to get closer to him in a way they simply hadn’t been able to before. Like everything this man touches, the autobiography turned to gold, selling a remarkable 278,000 copies on its opening day. 

T is for Top of the Tower

Where it all began. Peter Kay’s very first stand-up DVD, Top of the Tower, was released ahead of Christmas in the year 2000. Filmed in Blackpool, this show is still one of the comedian’s very best, with a vast array of quotable one-liners, hilarious anecdotes, and astute observations. It was from this moment forward that Kay became one of the nation’s most loved comedians. 

U is for Usher

There’s no connection to the American R&B artist (if only). This is a reference to one of Kay’s very first jobs as a cinema usher in Bolton while he tried to break onto the comedy circuit. But the one most important aspect of this part-time vocation is that it’s where he met his wife Susan, to whom he is still married today. The pair have a son together and are the directors of production company Goodnight Vienna.

The Doctor Defeats the Abzorbaloff | Love and Monsters | Doctor Who

V is for Victor Kennedy

If Corrie wasn’t enough, Peter Kay infiltrated and enriched another British institution with a memorable appearance on Doctor Who, playing the character of Victor Kennedy. The character is also known as Abzorbaloff – but we opted for Victor, because it’s a lot harder to find an entry for the letter ‘V’. 

W is for ‘We Are Family

One of Kay’s funniest live traditions is the misheard lyrics section. There are many to pick from, but our favourite remains “Staple the vicar” from Sister Sledge’s ‘We Are Family’. You can listen to that song 50 times in a row, and trust us, they definitely say “Staple the vicar”. 

X is for Xmas song

Another Kay characters is Geraldine McQueen, the fictional musician from ‘Britain’s Got the Pop Factor…’ Her 2008 Christmas song, ‘Once Upon a Christmas’, was written by Kay, alongside none other than Take That’s Gary Barlow. The song reached No.5 in the charts. 

'Once Upon A Christmas Song' by Geraldine McQueen | Peter Kay

Y is for “Your Burgers are the best

Okay we take it back, Staple the Vicar isn’t the best misheard lyric. It’s “Your burgers are the best” from Michael Jackson’s ‘You Are Not Alone’. 

Z is for Zed

Peter Kay hosted the BRIT Awards back in 2010, and though the most viral clip from the night was when he called Liam Gallagher a “knobhead”, our favourite line was when he addressed American artist Jay Z, who had just won Best International Male, as ‘Jason Zed’. According to Kay, the rapper is his “nan’s favourite”. 

Peter Kay headlines Co-op Live’s opening night on 23 April as part of his UK tour.