Peter Kay
Kay giving a comedy master class at the University of Salford in 2012
Birth namePeter John Kay
Born (1973-07-02) 2 July 1973 (age 51)
Farnworth, Lancashire, England
MediumFilm, stand-up, television
Alma materUniversity of Salford
Years active1996–present
GenresMusical comedy, observational comedy, physical comedy
Subject(s)Everyday life, marriage, family, British culture, pop culture, human behaviour
Susan Gargan
(m. 2001)
Notable works and rolesThat Peter Kay Thing (1999)
Phoenix Nights
Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere (2004)
Peter Kay's Car Share (2015–2018)

Peter John Kay (born 2 July 1973)[2] is an English comedian, actor, writer, and director. He has written, produced, directed and acted in several television and film projects, and has written three books.

Born and brought up in Farnworth, 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, Peter Kay's 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 reissued to raise money for Comic Relief: the song 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 recorded in the Guinness World Records as the most successful ever[3] selling over 1.2 million tickets. He co-wrote and starred in Peter Kay's Car Share, a sitcom screened by the BBC for three series from 2015 to 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.[4]

Early life and career

Peter John Kay was born on 2 July 1973 in Farnworth, Lancashire,[5] where he attended Mount Saint Joseph School, leaving with a GCSE in art.

His father, Michael, was an engineer who died just before Peter's career took off.[5] His mother, Deirdre (née O'Neill), is an Irish Catholic originally from Coalisland, County Tyrone,[6] and Peter was brought up in her faith.

He took several minor jobs, including working in a toilet roll factory, a Netto supermarket, a video rental shop, 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 was routinely sacked from each, after a few months, for 'not taking things seriously'.[7]

He began a degree course at the University of Liverpool in Drama, Theatre Studies and English Literature.[1] He had misinformed the university to accept him, telling the university that he had four GCSEs and A-levels in Psychology 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.[4] In recognition of his contribution to the entertainment industry, Kay received an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Salford University on 19 July 2016, at Salford's Lowry Theatre.[4]

He started at the Frog & Bucket, on Oldham Street, from July 1996, whilst his girlfriend worked at Boots.[8]

Personal life

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. They have one son together.[5] The family resided in Bolton until 2017, when they relocated to Lough Derg, County Tipperary in Ireland.[9]

Kay is a teetotaler.[1]

Kay is a supporter of Bolton Wanderers.

Television career

This section of a biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately from the article and its talk page, especially if potentially libelous.Find sources: "Peter Kay" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (September 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

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. [10]

Also in 1997, he made an appearance on Coronation Street as a delivery driver for Fred Elliott's 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 entitled "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.

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 further 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.[11]

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.

In 2004, Kay began appearing in a series of television adverts for UK brewery John Smith's bitter; these imitated the style of Phoenix Nights and saw Kay develop his catchphrases "'ave it!" and "two lamb bhunas".

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.

On 17 June 2006, Kay appeared in the Doctor Who episode "Love & Monsters".[11] His character, the sinister Victor Kennedy, proved to be an alien called the Abzorbaloff in disguise.

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 transgender dinner lady from Ireland.

In May 2015 the sitcom Peter Kay's Car Share was aired. 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.

Film career

In 2001, he played Cyril the Barman in Blow Dry, based on the screenplay Never Better by Simon Beaufoy. Kay later admitted he took the part only expecting his scenes to be filmed in Keighley, Bradford, West Yorkshire. However, he was annoyed to discover that his scenes were being filmed in Shoreditch, Greater London.[12]

Music work

This section of a biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately from the article and its talk page, especially if potentially libelous.Find sources: "Peter Kay" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (September 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

In 2007, Kay followed 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. In 2009, Kay released "The Official BBC Children in Need Medley", an animation featuring over 100 characters including 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 March 2011 with a cover version of "I Know Him So Well", re-recorded by singer Susan Boyle and Kay in the guise of Geraldine McQueen from Britain's Got the Pop Factor. The video that accompanied the single was also directed by Kay and identically parodied the original video shot for shot.

Theatre work

In February 2007, Kay played director Roger DeBris in the Mel Brooks musical The Producers at Manchester's Palace Theatre for 120 shows.[citation needed]

Sporadic appearances and hiatus (2017–2022)

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.[citation needed]

In April 2020, Kay featured in the BBC's Big Night In in which he introduced an updated version of "(Is This the Way to) Amarillo". It marked his first television appearance for two years.[13][14]

On 2 January 2021, Kay was a guest on BBC Radio 2's Saturday morning show, with Cat Deeley hosting this 10am to 1pm programme as Graham Norton had by then left the slot.[15][16][17]

In August 2021, Kay performed two sold out shows at the O2 Apollo Manchester called 'Doing It for Laura' which had been organised in aid of Laura Nuttall, who was battling an aggressive brain tumour. The tickets for both shows sold out within 30 minutes.

Comeback (2022–present)

On 6 November 2022, Kay announced a return to stand-up with a tour beginning in December 2022 and ending in July 2025.[18]

Stand-up career

His first stand-up success was in 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.

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.[3]

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.[19]

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.[20][21]

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.[22] He had asked that the media respect his and his family's privacy.[23] 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.[24]

On 6 November 2022, via an advert during the series 22 premiere of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, Kay announced his first stand-up tour in twelve years, running from 2 December 2022 to 11 August 2023. In solidarity of the current cost of living crisis, Kay stated that tickets would start at £35, matching the price of his previous 2010 tour.[18] Due to demand, additional dates were announced for 2024 and 2025.[25]

Stand-up tours

Year Title Notes
2002–2003 Mum Wants a Bungalow Tour First solo tour, 89 dates
2010–2011 The Tour That Doesn't Tour Tour...Now On Tour 122 dates (98 in England, 14 in Ireland, 5 in Scotland, 5 in Wales)

1.2 million tickets sold

2018–2019 Have Gags, Will Travel Planned 90 dates, tour cancelled
2022–2025 Better Late Than Never 121 dates

DVD releases

In December 2011, it was reported that Kay had sold over 10 million DVDs, a UK record for a comedian and more than the combined sales of best selling films Avatar and Mamma Mia!.[26]

Title Release date Age rating
Live at the Top of the Tower 22 November 2000 15
Live at the Bolton Albert Halls "Mum Wants a Bungalow Tour" 10 November 2003 15
Live at the Manchester Arena 14 November 2005 15
Live – The Tour That Didn't Tour – Tour 7 November 2011 15

Goodnight Vienna Productions

Kay and his wife Susan are the two directors of Goodnight Vienna Productions,[27] which co-produces Kay's comedy output.[28]




Year Song UK IRE EU
2005 "Is This the Way to Amarillo" (Tony Christie feat. Peter Kay)[29] 1 1 4
2007 "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" (as Brian Potter, with the Proclaimers and Andy Pipkin)[30] 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)[31] 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)[32][33] 1 11

^1 As Geraldine McQueen.



List of television performances
Year Title Role Notes
1996 New Voices George Episode: "Two Minutes"
1997 Coronation Street Shopfitter Episode dated 17 November 1997
1998 Barking Roy 1 episode
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
2007–10 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
2013 Goodbye Granadaland Himself Documentary
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"


List of film performances
Year Title Role Notes Source
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 Albert Mackintosh (voice) [34]
Max & Paddy's The Power of Two Max Video
2024 Wallace & Gromit: Vengeance Most Fowl Chief Inspector Albert Mackintosh (voice) Post-production

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result Ref
2003 British Comedy Awards Writer of the Year For Phoenix Nights Won
2003 British Comedy Awards People’s Choice Awards Phoenix Nights Won
2003 2003 British Academy Television Awards Best Comedy Performance For Phoenix Nights Nominated
2003 2003 British Academy Television Awards Situation Comedy Award For Phoenix Nights Nominated
2009 British Comedy Awards Outstanding Contribution to Comedy Peter Kay Won
2016 National Television Awards Most Popular Comedy Series Peter Kay’s Car Share Won
2016 2016 British Academy Television Awards Best Male Comedy Performance Peter Kay Won
2016 2016 British Academy Television Awards Best Scripted Comedy Peter Kay’s Car Share Won


  1. ^ a b c McLean, Gareth (15 October 2004). "The Guardian profile: Peter Kay". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  2. ^ "Index entry birth record". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Peter Kay breaks record for Most tickets sold for a stand-up comedy tour". Guinness World Records. 7 September 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Comedian Peter Kay receives Salford honorary doctorate". 20 July 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  5. ^ a b c "10 Peter Kay facts all his fans should know". Smooth. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Laughter lines? Sure 'our' Peter Kay gets them from Tyrone". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  7. ^ Manchester Evening News Monday 27 October 1997, page 9
  8. ^ Manchester Evening News Friday 13 November 1998, page 40
  9. ^ "Peter Kay 'escaped to rural Ireland' and has been living here secretly since 2017 after cancelling £40m tour".
  10. ^ "Peter Kay starring in BBC drama series Born to Run". Archived from the original on 12 December 2021 – via
  11. ^ a b "Peter Kay". Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  12. ^ Behrens, David (12 November 1999). "Peter Kay and his amazing rise to comedy stardom". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  13. ^ "Peter Kay makes TV comeback with a Solero, sunglasses and a smile". Sky News.
  14. ^ "Peter Kay brings back 'On The Road to Amarillo' feat. The British Public! | The Big Night In - BBC". Archived from the original on 12 December 2021 – via
  15. ^ Molloy, Thomas (2 January 2021). "Peter Kay makes rare media appearance - and has listeners in stitches". Manchester Evening News.
  16. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - Cat Deeley".
  17. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - Schedules".
  18. ^ a b "Full list of Peter Kay tour dates in 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025 as extra shows added to Manchester's AO Arena". Manchester Evening News. 14 November 2022. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ "The IoS Happy List 2009 – the 100". 19 April 2009. Archived from the original on 26 May 2022. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  21. ^ "The IoS Happy List 2010 – the 100". 25 April 2010. Archived from the original on 26 May 2022. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  22. ^ "Peter Kay cancels comeback comedy tour for family reasons". BBC News Online. 13 December 2017. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  23. ^ Kindon, Frances (13 December 2017). "Peter Kay cancels first tour in eight years – scrapping all 100 dates". Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  24. ^ Day, Pascale (15 December 2017). "Peter Kay fans angry after being charged to get refunds for cancelled tour".
  25. ^ Topping, Stephen (12 November 2022). "Peter Kay 'blown away' as dozens of new dates added to tour lasting until 2025". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  26. ^ "Newsbeat – Peter Kay is the first comedian to sell 10 million DVDs". BBC. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  27. ^ "GOOD NIGHT VIENNA PRODUCTIONS LIMITED". Companies House. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  28. ^ "Goodnight Vienna Productions". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  29. ^ "Is This The Way To Amarillo by Tony Christie and Peter Kay – Music Charts". Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  30. ^ "(i'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles by Proclaimers featuring B Potter and A Pipkin – Music Charts". Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  31. ^ "Kay records Children in Need song". BBC News. 9 November 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  32. ^ "PETER KAY & SUSAN BOYLE | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company".
  33. ^ "PETER KAY | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company".
  34. ^ "Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit". 7 October 2005. Retrieved 30 November 2015.