Peter Kay received a warm welcomed as he made a showbiz comeback after three years away – and he said returning to the stage was like ‘getting into a hot bath.’
The Bolton-born comic was emotional as he received a standing ovation as he took to the stage at Manchester’s O2 Apollo for the first of two live sell-out Q&As on Saturday.
He said: “I’ve never in my life had a standing ovation when I came on.”
READ MORE: Peter Kay ‘on fire’ as he delivers belly laughs with his return to the stage
And he joked: “I’m going to go away for four more years.”
Peter arriving at the Apollo
Peter is holding the Doing it For Laura events to raise money for family friend Laura Nuttall, 21, who has an aggressive type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme.
Laura, an ambassador for the Brain Tumour Charity, was initially given 12 to 18 months to live when she was diagnosed aged 18.
But she has received immunotherapy treatment in Germany thanks to fundraising.
Her sister Gracie introduced Peter to the stage and told the audience that the family, who were in the audience, was “eternally grateful” for them “potentially saving my sister’s life.”
Laura Nuttall (left) with her mum Nicola and dad Mark
As he started the matinee performance, Peter said: “I was a bit nervous this morning, when I got here.
“I was looking at all this and thinking ‘oh my God’ but it’s really nice to be doing this. It’s like getting in a hot bath.”
Hundreds of fans queued around the block in the rain ahead of the comedian’s first gig in years on Saturday afternoon.
Attendees were asked to provide proof they had been double vaccinated or had negative Covid tests before being allowed in.
Kay joked about lateral flow tests and told fans: “People have been bringing them to the gate in bags.”
He answered questions from audience members which had been submitted beforehand and were selected from a tub of Roses.
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When one fan asked if people shouted “garlic bread” at him following his famous stand-up sketch Peter said: “I can’t buy it when I go to the supermarket, I’m too embarrassed.”
He also told anecdotes about holidaying in Eric Clapton’s home in France and trying out indoor sky-diving.
Tickets for the show sold out in 30 minutes when they went on sale.
Peter had been largely out of the spotlight since a surprise appearance at a charity screening of his series Car Share in 2018, but made a brief return in January this year when he appeared on BBC Radio 2 to chat to Cat Deeley about his love of music, mix tapes and the musical Mamma Mia.
He cancelled his last tour in December 2017 citing “unforeseen family circumstances.”
The Brain Tumour Charity’s director of fundraising and marketing, Gina Almond, said: “We are absolutely delighted for Laura that Peter Kay has shown such kindness in putting on two shows to help fund her glioblastoma treatment abroad.
“Laura is one of our inspirational Young Ambassadors who help us to raise awareness about brain tumours so we can improve early diagnosis and find new treatments faster.
“We are hugely grateful for the family’s support as we launch a world-first UK clinical trial to find out whether cannabis-based Sativex could help give precious extra time to live for people whose glioblastomas have grown back.
“Brain tumours remain the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40 in the UK.
“Glioblastomas in particular are the most common and most aggressive form of brain tumour in adults, accounting for around 2,200 cases in England each year.
“With treatment options remaining limited, and average survival being around 12-18 months from diagnosis, this trial finally gives people a glimmer of hope. A cure can’t wait.
“Anyone affected by a glioblastoma can speak to us for support and information on 0808 800 0004 or by emailing [email protected] If you need someone to talk to, we’re here for you.”
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