Peter Kay’s Car Share is the first new series starring Peter Kay since… well, I had to look it up, since he’s made a fortune living off the fortunes of Phoenix Nights after taking the credit for it when, as Max And Paddy’s Road To Nowhere proved, everything that was great about Phoenix Nights came from the minds of co-writers Dave Spikey and Neil Fitzmaurice, so yes, my view was coloured before watching this, but I’ll give anything a chance.
Anyhoo, it’s his first TV foray since that godawful “Britain’s Got the Pop Factor… and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice” from 2008 when he ‘sang’ as the painfully unfunny Geraldine McQueen. I’ve had more laughs at funerals.
For reasons best known to the BBC, they decided to premiere all six episodes on the iPlayer service at once – rather like Netflix do with House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey, but with considerably less gravitas. Either way, you can see what they’re aiming for, here. The episodes will then generally air weekly from this Wednesday, April 29th at 9.30pm, although the second episode comes sooner rather than later, airing this Thursday at the same time. That said, the good thing about watching them on iPlayer, prior to broadcast, is that there’s not a chance the end credits will be spoiled by the chuntering morons at Red Bee Media who shout over them, telling you vital information about how the News at Ten starts at 10pm. Brains of Britain, that lot(!)
The premise is that… oh, the hilarity! Whe a supermarket begins a car share scheme, in order for staff to get a space in the staff car park, two workers are forced to team up – one of which is Peter Kay as assistant manager John Redmond, here in familiar territory – taking something we all knew years ago and flogging it to death. In this case, it’s his car’s satnav misdirecting him, something which he plays down to insignificance when he arrives at the house of promotions rep Kayleigh Kitson (Sian Gibson). Kitson? Is that because comedian Daniel Kitson was very vocal in his criticism about Kay regarding Phoenix Nights where he played barman Spencer in series 1? Bitter, much, Kay?
In the first episode, this car-based ‘comedy’ treads a very pedestrian path with its humour – John gets wee in his mouth whilst driving, Kayleigh assumes he’s gay because he always sits on his own at work, and they pass an advertising board offering a “Brazillian while you wait”, all while driving through the centre of Manchester, listening to ’80s & ’90s throwback fictional radio station Forever FM which, if my ears haven’t let me down (and I later had it confirmed), had the voice of the DJ from Rob Charles, who was one of the main presenters at KFM Radio in Stockport between 1989-1991, a radio station I loved back in the day and which played far better music than any other station on the dial. The other DJ is Martin Emery and both can be heard on The Bee.
Regarding KFM Radio, which also gave birth to the rise of Craig Cash and Caroline Aherne (best known for The Royle Family, although Ms Aherne also narrates Channel 4’s Gogglebox), I used to win almost every competition they had (probably because not many people were phoning in), although it was mostly 7″ or CD singles. One disc I received was a 7″ of a Janet Jackson single which had warped in the hot sun, as it went through the postal system. It was completely unplayable, but for a laugh, I sent it back to A&M Records, asking for a replacement. They returned it, stating in the letter that they were thanking me for my submission but also that they didn’t think it was suitable for their current output. Erm… they do know that I wasn’t a woman called Janet Jackson, don’t they? Perhaps not. Then again, between the two of us, I get my breasts out in public less often.
In conclusion, although it’s been a number of years since I saw Daniel Kitson perform live on stage, I can still remember laughing so much that I coughed up not just a lung but almost all of my other vital organs, too. Alas, laughing is something I was unable to do much in Car Share. Episode 1 had the lovely Sian Gibson doing an Anastasia spoof for reasons you’ll find out, and I didn’t fancy watching all of the other episodes, but gave the third episode a look as it co-starred Reece Shearsmith (Inside No.9, The League of Gentlemen, Psychoville), as their insufferably rude colleague Ray, speaking in cod-Japanese, singing along badly to Ini Kamoze’s 1994 hit Here Comes The Hotstepper and stinking of fish… not that the viewers can smell him. He’s the main reason to watch that episode, so it’s worth checking out, and there was also an amusing moment in this episode relating to when, on the way to work, you see someone in another car who you rather fancy.
I’d be curious to know where the supermarket is, at which they’re meant to be based, as they seem to be taking a very long way round from Manchester to Salford.
Peter Kay’s Car Share can now be pre-ordered on DVD, with the release date yet to be announced.
Peter Kay’s Car Share is available on the BBC iPlayer now, and in full, but note that as of midnight on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, ALL episodes will go off the iPlayer, and will only appear again once the individual episodes have aired on BBC1. The series starts on BBC1 from Wednesday April 29th at 9.30pm, and click on the top image for the full-size image.
Episode 1 Score: 2/10
Director: Peter Kay
Producer: Gill Isles
Writers: Paul Coleman, Sian Gibson, Peter Kay, Tim Reid
John Redmond: Peter Kay
Kayleigh Kitson: Sian Gibson
Ray: Reece Shearsmith (episode 3)
Ted 2: Danny Swarsbrick (episode 3)
Radio DJ: Rob Charles (uncredited)
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.