Peter Kay today received a standing ovation amid a rapturous response to his comeback charity gig, as he admitted his nerves and jokes that he was ‘going away for four more years’.
Fans were on their feet to applaud the Bolton-born comic as he appeared on stage at Manchester’s O2 Apollo for the first of two live Q&As.
As he started the matinee performance, Kay 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.’
The Doing it For Laura events are being held to raise money for Laura Nuttall, 20, who has an aggressive type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme.
Ms Nuttall, who was in the audience, was initially given 12-18 months to live when she was diagnosed aged 18 but has received immunotherapy treatment in Germany thanks to fundraising.
Her sister Gracie introduced Kay and told the audience that the family was ‘eternally grateful’ for them ‘potentially saving my sister’s life’.
The comic said: ‘I’ve never in my life had a standing ovation when I came on,’ before joking: ‘I’m going to go away for four more years.’
Peter Kay today joked today that he was ‘going away for four more years’ after receiving a rapturous response to his comeback charity gig (pictured)
The Bolton-born comic received a standing ovation as he appeared on stage at Manchester’s O2 Apollo for the first of two live Q&As on Saturday
Hundreds of fans queued outside in the rain ahead of the comedian’s first gig in years on Saturday afternoon.
Those attending were asked to provide proof they had been double vaccinated or had negative Covid tests before being allowed in.
Kay joked on stage 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.
Asked if TV series Max And Paddy would return, Kay said: ‘I loved making Max And Paddy, it was one of the best times we ever had filming and we had such a good laugh.
‘We actually wrote two Christmas specials and then we never made them so you never know.’
When another fan asked if people shouted ‘garlic bread’ at him following his famous stand-up sketch, Kay 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 on July 30.
One fan was invited up on stage for Kay to call her mother, who was unable to attend the show as she was unwell.
He told her: ‘I’ve not done a show for four years but I’ve had a good laugh.’
Kay received another standing ovation as the show finished, an hour later than scheduled just before 6pm.
He said: ‘It’s been lovely. Thank you for coming to support Laura and her family and thank you for coming to see me.’
Kay has 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 2021 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’.
Peter Kay has arrived at his comeback charity gig in Manchester to fans queuing round the block to see his return to stage in aid of a 21-year-old brain cancer sufferer
Kay was seen arriving for the event taking pace in Manchester’s O2 Apollo today, which included a Q&A at 1:30pm, with another scheduled for 6:30pm
Queues of fans were seen lining up outside the venue ahead of Kay’s gigs which are being held to raise money for Laura Nuttall, 20, who has an aggressive type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme
Ms Nuttall (left, with her parents) who has just completed her second year at Manchester University where she is studying philosophy, politics and economics, will be in the audience with her family
Kay arrived at Manchester’s O2 Apollo on Saturday to queues of fans excited to see him back on stage after a three year hiatus
Queues for the ticketed event at Manchester’s O2 Apollo today snaked round the block as fans arrived to see comedian Peter Kay return to the stage after a three year hiatus
Tickets for the 3,500 capacity venue sold out within 30 minutes when they went on sale on July 30 and queues of fans were seen arriving today
Peter Kay arrived at his comeback charity gig in Manchester to fans queuing round the block to see his return to stage in aid of a 21-year-old brain cancer sufferer
Profits from Kay’s performances will go towards Ms Nuttall’s charity Doing It For Laura, which was established to help pay for her treatment with a portion of the money going towards the Brain Tumour Charity
Miss Nuttall’s mother, Nicola, and father, Mark, first met Kay when they were working at Granada Television almost two decades ago.
Laura’s father is a storyboard artist who got to know Mr Kay when he helped him with his hit show Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere also starring Paddy McGuinness, about the misadventures of the two bouncers from Brian Potter’s fictional Phoenix Club in Bolton.
The family received an unexpected call from the star in January 2019 after he saw Laura’s cancer battle on the BBC.
Miss Nuttall said in July: ‘He rang my mum a month ago. He said he’d ring Manchester Apollo and see what slots they had free.
‘Doing a concert for me, someone he loosely knows, part of me feels like I don’t deserve it. There are other people with worse cancers, who don’t have enough food to get by.’
Soon afterwards they went out for dinner, where Peter was making everyone laugh.
Mark Nuttall told the Daily Mirror: ‘He’s just a naturally funny guy, he sees funny things where you and I would not.
‘He always comes out with little quips. He did his usual faux pas of ordering food and said: ‘I am a bit hungry, have you got any garlic..’.
‘Everyone paused, the waitress was standing there. He has us in tears laughing. He was like: ‘Right, what are we going to do to raise money?’.’
Mrs Nuttall, who worked in HR at Granada and now runs a children’s play centre, previously told the PA news agency: ‘We’re so excited about it. And it’s so wonderful he can do this for us, just incredible.’
Kay’s two new shows are being held in aid of Laura Nuttall (pictured), a terminally ill 21-year-old woman from Lancashire with brain cancer
Laura with her dad Mark, who met Peter 20 years ago when he helped with a storyboard for his Max and Paddy show. Laura’s mum worked for Grenada TV
Laura was diagnosed with brain cancer when she was in her first term at Kings College University in London at the age of 18, following a series of headaches. She’s had a series of operations and is still fighting. Peter has been in contact since 2019
Laura Nuttall and Gillian Anderson at a meeting in London where they shared tea at the Ritz
It comes after Kay stepped back from the public eye in 2017, when he cancelled a huge 14-month stand-up tour due to ‘unforeseen family circumstances’.
The tour was due to have run across the UK and Ireland from April 2018 through to summer 2019 – and Kay had only announced it one month earlier.
But he said on December 13, 2017: ‘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 standup 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.’
Kay recorded an audio-only version of Car Share in April 2020 with his co-star Sian Gibson
Kay was last seen on camera in a pre-recorded video for the BBC’s Big Night In coronavirus fundraiser in April 2020 which was filmed from his home in Bolton, Greater Manchester
The comedian was then due to make a comeback with a series of six ‘Dance For Life’ shows to raise money for Cancer Research UK in April and May 2020.
But the events – with two due to have been in each of Manchester, Liverpool and London – had to be postponed in March last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kay did however release a special audio-only episode of his comedy Car Share with co-star Sian Gibson in April last year in an attempt to ‘cheer people in some way’.
His fans had raised concerns for his health after his appearance on the BBC’s Big Night In back in April 2020, with some saying he looked ‘far from 100 per cent’.
Kay also made a brief return this January when he called into Cat Deeley’s new BBC Radio 2 programme, as they discussed the New Year and embarrassing stories.
The one-off show featured the 47-year-old comedian at his jovial best as Cat filled in for Graham Norton following his departure from the show and before his replacement Claudia Winkleman makes her debut in the timeslot.
As funnyman Peter made his appearance on the show, fans took to Twitter in droves to express their joy.
Kay, whose 2010-11 tour made it into the Guinness World Records after he performed to more than 1.2million people, lives with his wife Susan and their three children.
Kay also made a brief return this January when he called into Cat Deeley’s new BBC Radio 2 programme, as they discussed the New Year and embarrassing stories
How Peter Kay is helping to raise money for terminally ill student’s £80,000 brain cancer treatment
Peter Kay’s two special live shows next month have been organised to help fund a student’s £80,000 pioneering brain cancer treatment.
The tickets for his Q&A events will go on sale this Friday with all funds raised in aid of ‘Doing It For Laura’ to help terminally ill Laura Nuttall, 21.
Ms Nuttall, from Barrowford, in Lancashire, is battling Glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive brain tumour, and has already had immunotherapy treatment.
But her cancer has returned and after surgery in March she needs more treatment in Cologne, Germany.
‘Doing It For Laura’ has so far raised over £14,000 to help her fund a lifesaving ‘innovative new immunotherapy treatment’ in Germany.
Laura Nuttall (right) with her parents Nicola and Mark (centre) and sister Gracie (left)
Ms Nuttall received the diagnosis three years ago after complaining to her GP of sickness and headaches and an eye examination detected swelling in her optic nerve.
Her mother Nicola Nuttall said: ‘Laura was diagnosed with brain cancer in Autumn 2018 when she was just 18. She was given a prognosis of roughly 12 months and told to go away and make memories.
‘She bravely endured a craniotomy to remove the largest tumour and then started a gruelling program of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
‘But then we found an innovative new immunotherapy treatment available only in Germany.’
Everton fan Ms Nuttall met the team and is pictured with goalkeeper Jordan Pickford
Mrs Nuttall added: ‘With the help of our friends, community and the wonderful people who donated through GoFundMe, we were able to take Laura out to Cologne on a regular basis.
‘To our delight, her immune system responded to the treatment.
‘Laura remained well, well enough to go back to university in Manchester and start a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.
‘Fast forward 2.5 years and although still really healthy and free of symptoms, a routine MRI scan revealed regrowth on the site of the original tumour.
Ms Nuttall (left) has got to meet a series of stars, including actress Gillian Anderson
‘Laura had a second surgery at the end of March and now the plan is for two further dendritic cell vaccinations and a course of a checkpoint inhibitor called Pembrolizumab.
‘None of this is available on the NHS of course so we are faced with the enormous challenge of raising a further £80,000.’
After Ms Nuttall was diagnosed she created a ‘bucket list’ of activities she wanted to complete and so far she has piloted HMS Charger, driven a supercar around Silverstone and visited the Churchill War Rooms.
She went to LGV driving school Ben Shaw Training in Burnley with her parents to drive a DAF truck and a bus around the practice yard.
Ms Nuttall underwent radiotherapy after surgery, along with chemotherapy
Other items on her bucket list include viewing The Scream painted by artist Edvard Munch, crossing the equator and visiting the Heinz Factory in Wigan.
And more recently she ticked another item off her bucket list when she got to drive a pink digger.
That experience was provided by Cumbria based company Waitings whose own director, Victoria Waiting, died in 2016 aged 44, with the same tumour Ms Nuttall is fighting.
Earlier this month Ms Nuttall also got to visit Wembley and see England’s defeat against Italy in the Euro 2020 final after being given free tickets.
Ms Nutall meets the BBC’s Fiona Bruce – another of the stars she has met in recent years
She has just completed the second year of her degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Manchester University.
Ms Nuttall has also been invited to model for a fashion show at Manchester Airport later this year, staged by cancer support group Maggie’s Centres.
She is also looking forward later this year to having afternoon tea at HMP Styal jail.
She will be served at the Clink restaurant by prisoners in training who are working towards gaining their City Guilds NVQs in food and beverage service, professional cookery and food hygiene.
Gina Almond, The Brain Tumour Charity’s director of fundraising and marketing, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted for Laura that Peter Kay has shown such kindness in putting on these 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 – and we are hugely grateful for the family’s ongoing support for us despite everything they are going through.
‘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, we urgently need to find new treatments to help give those affected by a glioblastoma more time to live. A cure can’t wait.’