It’s pretty much accepted that Peter Kay has jumped the shark. But when precisely did it happen? Here are ten contenders for that aeronautical apocalypse. It’s by no means a definitive list, but nonetheless a start towards pinpointing exactly when “the nation’s favourite comedian” became a right honourable pain in the arse.
1) 2000: Peter remembers the title sequence of Monkey. “Monkey magic – and it were, weren’t it!”
2) 2002: The last ever episode of Phoenix Nights becomes an excuse for Peter to clear the decks of all jokes for a load of crappy singalongs.
3) 2003: Channel Five shows Live At The Top Of The Tower for the 159th time. Admittedly this isn’t Peter’s fault, but it certainly doesn’t help things.
5) 2004: Peter goes on tour again to “buy me mam a bungalow” and does the same business about garlic bread and the speedboat on Bullseye.
6) 2004: The first episode of Max And Paddy’s Road To Nowhere features a running joke about a holidaying couple mistaking the titular duo for a pair of homosexuals.
7) 2005: Peter appears on Granada TV to croon with a big band.
8) 2005: Live 8. Peter comes on clutching some booze – “this isn’t alcohol, it’s not” – and, completely alone, tries to get the crowd to join in with ‘Is This The Way To Amarillo?’. He struggles with the tune. He forgets some of the words. Nobody else appears to be singing. He leaves the stage. Then, five minutes later, he comes back on, still clutching some booze – “this isn’t alcohol, honest, it’s not” – and proceeds to do the whole fucking thing all over again.
9) 2006: Peter publishes his autobiography, claiming he’s only doing it to “buy me mam a better bungalow”. Probably.
10) 2007: Peter does a sketch for Comic Relief that is exactly the same as the one for 2005, using a character he created in 2000, singing a song that was a hit in 1988.
VERDICT: If 6) didn’t clinch it, 8) certainly did. That, or any one of his endless appearances on Parkinson.