Why Peter Kay's back on TV for the first time in two years
Peter Kay is returning to TV on Thursday evening for coronavirus fundraising effort The Big Night In, but it comes as the comedian has made few appearances in the public eye over the past three years.
In December 2017, Kay retreated from the limelight as he cancelled an upcoming live tour and any outstanding work commitments due to "unforeseen family circumstances".
In a statement delivered at the time, he said: "The decision has not been taken lightly and I’m sure you’ll understand my family must always come first.
"I’ve always endeavoured to protect my family’s privacy from the media. I hope that the media and the public will continue to respect our privacy at this time. Once again, I’m very sorry."
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Kay had intended to do 100 live shows in major cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Belfast, and Dublin.
Since then the funnyman has made rare public appearances with his last TV gig coming in 2018 as the final episodes of his comedy programme Car Share aired.
To help raise money for Children in Need and Comic Relief with The Big Night In, the 46-year-old is back on the box recreating his famous music video for Tony Christie's (Is This the Way to) Amarillo.
In a reissue of the song in a 2005 video for Comic Relief, Kay mimed along to Christie's hit while flanked by various UK stars.
He's invited nurses, care workers, retail staff and others to march alongside him through video, with the final product set to be revealed on the night.
The Phoenix Nights star was also prompted to produce a special audio episode for hit series Car Share, which was released on BBC iPlayer on Good Friday, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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He said in a statement via the BBC: “It’s a horrific situation right now we’re all going through and like so many I felt compelled to try and do something positive in an effort to cheer people in some way."
It comes after Kay made a rare public appearance in December last year when he was pictured alongside Nativity! director Debbie Isitt as he attended the musical adaption of the film.
So lovely to see the brilliant comic genius Peter Kay and his lovely family @nativityuk tonight for our final show! What a lovely surprise for us all! 💫⭐️💫⭐️💫⭐️💫⭐️ pic.twitter.com/XkzYdmeGnB
— Debbie Isitt (@DeborahIsitt) December 29, 2019
"So lovely to see the brilliant comic genius Peter Kay and his lovely family @nativityuk tonight for our final show! What a lovely surprise for us all!" wrote Isitt as she shared the picture on Twitter.
He is one of many famous faces taking part in The Big Night In as Catherine Tate and David Tennant are set to do a skit, as are Matt Lucas and David Walliams for Little Britain, while Dawn French is reviving the much-loved Vicar of Dibley for the first time in five years.
The telethon is aiming to raise millions for vulnerable people across the UK who have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
The Big Night In airs Thursday at 7pm on BBC One.