What happened to Peter Kay? Why comedian took a break from stand up shows, was he ill - and 2023 tour details

The Car Share writer and actor has not been seen much in public since 2017, but he will soon perform his first stand up shows in over a decade

Peter Kay is set to embark on a huge comeback tour in 2023, years after cancelling a Live Arena Tour and stepping out of the public eye.

The comedian, aged 49, has announced his first tour in 12 years. He will be embarking on his tour in 2023, and will be playing arenas across the UK. He had previously announced a tour five years ago, but cancelled it and stepped back from the public life.

He will embark on an arena tour in December this year, and will perform dates of his stand up comedy show up until August 2023.

So what happened to Peter Kay, did he retire, and is he back?

Here’s what you need to know.

Who is Peter Kay and why is he famous?

Peter Kay is one of the country’s most successful and loved comedians. He has acted in a number of television and film projects, as well as writing three books and performing stand-up gigs. Kay won in Channel 4’s So You Think You’re Funny contest in 1997, and a year later he was nominated for a Perrier Award for his stand-up show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

That Peter Kay Thing was launched on Channel 4 in 2000, with the hugely successful spin-off series Phoenix Nights coming later as a result of its success. A further spin-off, Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere, in which he starred opposite fellow comedian and actor Paddy McGuiness, was created in 2004. He covered Tony Christie’s (Is This the Way to) Amarillo for Children In Need 2005, and that reached number one in the UK charts.

He also co-wrote and starred in a parody of reality TV shows called Britain’s Got the Pop Factor… and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice. Kay released a song in character as the fictional protagonist of the show, Geraldine McQueen. The Winner’s Song reached number two in the UK charts. In 2015, he also co-wrote another successful TV show called Car Share.

He married his wife, Susan Gargan, in 2001. They have three children together, a 18-year-old son called Charlie Michael Kay and two younger children. The couple have mostly kept their family life private and their younger children have been kept out of the public eye.

What happened to Peter Kay?

Kay has kept a low profile for the last five years. He had been due to embark on a Live Arena Tour between April 2018 and June 2019, but he cancelled this in December 2017 due to “unforeseen family circumstances”. No further detail about the circumstances have ever been confirmed. As well as his Live Arena Tour, he also cancelled his Dance For Life shows.

Peter Kay is set to embark on a huge comeback tour in 2023.
Peter Kay is set to embark on a huge comeback tour in 2023.
Peter Kay is set to embark on a huge comeback tour in 2023.

At the time, he issued a statement, apologising to those who had purchased tickets.

The statement read: “Due to unforeseen family circumstances I deeply regret that I am having to cancel all of my upcoming work projects. This unfortunately includes my upcoming stand-up tour, Dance For Life shows and any outstanding live work commitments.

“My sincerest apologies. This 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.”

Kay, who has often spoken about how important family is to him and his desire to live a private life away from the spotlight, has not been seen in public many times since the cancellation of the shows.

When was Peter Kay last seen?

In March 2018, Kay announced a charity screening of his sitcom Car Share. He was then seen on the stage of the Blackpool screening that April to introduce the episode to the audience. The screening was in aid of The Lily Foundation, a charity which raises awareness of mitochondrial disease. Mitochondrial disease covers a range of conditions which occur because of failure of mitochondria that live inside cells.

The mitochondria are vital as they provide energy to cells, and if they are not able to do this then it leads to serious health problems. There is no cure for the disease, which can affect the brain, muscle, liver, heart and kidney. You can find out more about the disease on the NHS website.

In a blog post at the time, Kay wrote: “The Lily Foundation is an inspiring charity that helps to improve the lives of children with Mitochondrial Disease. I’ve had first-hand experience of the Foundation’s work and I’m proud to raise both awareness and much needed funds to help with the inspiring work they provide to children and their families.”

The screening raised over £34,000 for the charity. A year later, in April 2019, he was then spotted on a tram tour around Blackpool, and in April 2020 he appeared on BBC’s Big Night In to recreate the video for Tony Christie’s (Is This the Way to) Amarillo. Last year, he took part in two Q&As at Manchester O2 Apollo  in aid of treatment for Laura Nuttall, a 21-year-old who was diagnosed with a fast-growing and aggressive brain tumour called Glioblastoma multiforme.

Kay returned to the stage in April 2022  to begin his first tour in 11 years, performing his Dance For Life show at Manchester Central Convention Complex on Good Friday. Further shows then took place in Liverpool in August.

When will Peter Kay tour in 2023?

Peter Kay is preparing to perform his first stand-up live gigs in 2023.

Kay said: “It’s good to get back to what I love doing best, stand-up comedy and if there’s ever a time people need a laugh it’s now. And with the cost of living at an all-time high, ticket prices are starting from £35. The same price they were on my previous tour in 2010.”

Kay will begin his tour on Friday 2 December at the Manchester AO Arena before visiting locations including Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield, Belfast, Newcastle, Glasgow and Dublin.

The full list of tour dates are as follows:

  • Friday 2 December - AO Arena, Manchester
  • Saturday 3 December - AO Arena, Manchester
  • Saturday 17 December - Utilita Arena, Birmingham
  • Friday 6 January - M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool
  • Saturday 7 January - M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool
  • Friday 20 January - First Direct Arena, Leeds
  • Friday 17 February - Utilita Arena, Sheffield
  • Thursday 23 February - SSE Arena, Belfast
  • Friday 24 February - SSE Arena, Belfast
  • Thursday 9 March - Utilita Arena, Newcastle
  • Friday 10 March - Utilita Arena, Newcastle
  • Thursday 23 March - Resorts World Arena, Birmingham
  • Thursday 6 April - 3Arena, Dublin
  • Friday 7 April - 3Arena, Dublin
  • Friday 5 May - OVO Hydro, Glasgow
  • Saturday 6 May - OVO Hydro, Glasgow
  • Friday 19 May - First Direct Arena, Leeds
  • Friday 16 June - Cardiff International Arena, Cardiff
  • Saturday 17 June - Cardiff International Arena, Cardiff
  • Friday 14 July - Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
  • Saturday 15 July - Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
  • Friday 11 August - Utilita Arena, Sheffield

Can I get tickets to Peter Kay’s 2023 tour?

Tickets for Peter Kay’s arena tour will go on sale on Saturday 12 November. The sale will begin at 10am and can be purchased from Peter Kay’s official website. Tickets will also be available from Ticketmaster.

The prices will be the same as his previous tour in 2010. Tickets will start at £35.