Peter Kay discusses his comedy during 1997 interview
The Bolton-born star, 47, remains one of Britain’s most-beloved comedians and has a list of award-winning hits including the BBC show Car Share. In recent years, Kay has taken a break from public appearances, which he previously explained was due to “unforeseen family circumstances”. Despite being forced to cancel his stand-up tours, many remember his cheeky gags on-stage and unearthed accounts reveal one he made in front of Prince Charles.
Kay first met the Prince of Wales during a charity pop concert to fundraise for The Prince’s Trust and other organisations, but the star’s dry sense of humour seemed to fall on deaf ears.
The royal, who was said to prefer the comedic style of The Goon Show, looked surprised when the comedian made a joke about Princess Anne.
At the post-gig reception, the star was introduced as: “Peter Kay, Sir, a comedian.”
The TV star warmly responded: “Hiya, y’alright?”
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Then Kay quipped: “I had your sister for five hours last night.”
The remark was said to have left Prince Charles looking “downright flummoxed” before the comedian clarified what he meant.
He continued: “The Royal Variety Show, Sir, last night. I was the compere.”
The royal was reported to have smiled before he replied: “Oh… Salford, of course. Wonderful.”
Kay and Prince Charles then “exchanged some pleasantries” about the 2011 Royal Variety performance.
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The show was beset with technical problems, which were later edited out of the TV broadcast.
Kay said at the time that there had been “20 minutes of entertainment dragged out over two-and-a-half hours” because of the glitches.
After his interaction with Prince Charles, Kay then met Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and after the royals had departed from the function he was amazed to have met them.
He told the Daily Mail: “Oh this is a lark, isn’t this. Met his sister yesterday and now him and his family. Marvellous, really.”
The comedian met the royals at a charity pop concert, which was arranged by Gary Barlow.
It raised around £400,000 for The Prince’s Trust and The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry.
An unnamed royal aide at the event told the Daily Mail that they were “surprised” Prince Charles did not recognise Kay.
They continued: “He would very much appreciate his style of humour, I think he may even have met him before.”
Kay went on to write a Car Share, four years after his encounter with the royals – a show that won three National Television Awards and two BAFTAs.
The comedian was due to start his Dance for Life tour in April but due to coronavirus restrictions the dates were pushed back until 2021.
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He featured on the BBC’s The Big Night In fundraiser – a comedy extravaganza with stars including Sir Lenny Henry, Paddy McGuinness and Zoe Ball.
During his brief appearance on the show in April, Kay made a number of jokes while eating icecream in the sunshine.
Kay is due to feature in a one-off special show this week alongside the presenter Cat Deeley during her debut on BBC Radio 2.
She explained that she was “thrilled” to star alongside the comedy legend during her first show on January 2.
Deeley said: “This time of year always fills us with love, hope and optimism, even if it looks a little different this year.
“We may not gather in the same ways or in the same places but we are always together in our hearts.”
Prior to his TV return, the comedian admitted that he savoured fatherhood and felt there was “nothing better than family”.
Some speculated that those feelings may have influenced his decision to make fewer public appearances.
Kay told the Daily Mirror in 2003: “I just feel I’ve got to have time to be the other things I am in life – I’m a father and a husband.”
He admitted that he liked being able to entertain the nation but being famous didn’t bother him at all.
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Kay continued: “I enjoy the fact I can be on Paul O’Grady in the afternoon and sitting down, watching the television with Susan in the evening.
“Money’s nice because it brings you security… But I promise if it had meant being away from the people I love I wouldn’t have bothered.”
In his 2006 autobiography The Sound of Laughter, Kay recalled that other comedians had warned him against prioritising fame over family life.
He wrote: “I’ve met so many older actors and comedians who’ve told me they wished they’d spent as much time with their kids as they did chasing the money.
“You’ve got to draw a line but it’s a gamble.”
Peter Kay’s autobiography The Sound of Laughter was published by Arrow in 2006 and is available here.
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