Phoenix Nights is, without doubt, one of the greatest comedy series ever made. In fact, if it hadn’t had the poor fortune to be broadcast at pretty much the same time as The Office, it would probably have taken even more acclaim than it eventually received.
As with all great comedies, it was led by a strong, hilarious figure, in the form of Peter Kay’s penny-pinching club owner Brian (not Brain) Potter, but also surrounded by a cast of characters who were all just as funny in their own right: the hapless Jerry St. Clair; doormen Max and Paddy; DJ Ray Von; backing band Les Alanos and more, not to mention Potter’s sworn enemy Den Perry, owner of the Banana Grove. Despite going out as ‘Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights’, the show was in fact co-written by Neil Fitzmaurice and Dave Spikey alongside Kay.
However, after two immaculate series, broadcast on Channel 4 between 2001 and 2002, that seemed to be it for the workers of the Phoenix Club, with a 2004 spin-off series, Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere continuing the story for those two characters, before Kay went on to ever more record-breaking stand-up success with a series of shows.
But, in the wake of the conclusion to Kay’s most recent television outing, Car Share, after two hugely successful series, he’s unexpectedly revealed that a return to Farnworth might not be out of the question.
Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester, he said: “I love Phoenix Nights, and I would love to go back, and I’ve got a lot of ideas about Phoenix Nights, in fact there’s a whole series three been written for about 15 years of Phoenix Nights.”
The cast already reunited in 2015 for a fifteen date run at Manchester Arena for Comic Relief (which saw an on-stage heart attack for Ted Robbins (Den Perry), which thankfully he survived), so a screen return for the gang would certainly not be too far-fetched an idea.
However, there won’t be a third season of Car Share, with Kay saying “There’s not going to be a series three...You’ve got to get out while the going’s good,” before adding “No. No Christmas special either,”
He continued, “I am absolutely delighted and overwhelmed by everyone’s support, and the fact that everyone has loved it so much it’s been wonderful. But you’re better quitting while you’re ahead. There’s only so much you can do in a car, and the last thing you want to do is ruin it. Because I think it’s a lovely thing, It’s been wonderful working with Sian she’s one of my closest friends in the world. We have a good laugh, but I think sometimes you’ve got to just… Phoenix Nights was the same, sometimes you just need to leave things. You need good ideas, you need good strong stories. A lot of series they tend to go on one series too many, especially with comedy, and people say ‘oh it’s gone off now’. I think it’s about having stories to tell, if you’re struggling, then you can sense that.”
(Image: Channel 4)