Peter Kay’s Car Share came to the end of the road last Friday (May 22nd, 9.30 pm) and I just wanted to put it out there; Peter Kay is a bona fide, comedy GENIUS. I’m not going with Comedy God, King of Comedy or any other comedic superlative usually associated with the likes of Ricky Gervais and Russell Brand. Messrs Gervais and Brand are cool you see and, unlike Kay, have gone global. They’re a bit edgy – in the case of Gervais, often downright cruel. I used to like and respect Mr Gervais until I watched some of his f*ck-laden stand-up on YouTube. I didn’t laugh once, couldn’t raise a flicker of a smile even, and yet his eager audience of devotees were falling about in the aisles. The Gervais brand comes with too much of a ‘f*ck you if you don’t agree with everything I say’ attitude if you ask me, which you didn’t. Peter Kay though – he’s wonderful, a GENIUS (like I just said.) He’s the only comic on TV (or when he was doing his world breaking stand-up) capable of rendering an audience practically speechless because they can’t stop laughing; I mean crying laughing, practically hysterical with laughter – he’s a funny northern git is our Peter.
Kay littered the scripts of Car Share, his latest offering, with a liberal amount of swearing, but it’s all so disarming; so good-natured, so gently northern. That fat, rubberised face of his registers every emotion with perfect comedic timing, in the same way that you knew exactly what comedy legend Tony Hancock was thinking, every time they caught his quick as lightening reactions on camera during the 1950s. And Peter Kay is up there with Hancock, no doubt about it (maybe they’re distantly related, what do you think?)
Kay knows people. I’m betting there are thousands of commuters up and down the country indentifying completely with Car Share . I’d been mourning the loss of Peter Kay to the TV schedules, wondering if he’d ever come back, when I discovered Car Share last week, via that Daily Mail TV critic (mentioned here), who also took time to slag off Peter Kay. What’s he on about I thought and immediately rushed to iPlayer to find 5 episodes of Car Share just waiting to be watched. Apparently Kay released the whole series on iPlayer first, attracting 2.8 million hits, the most hits any show on iPlayer has ever received.
And Car Share is good, it’s better than good, it’s sublime. On the face of it, it’s just two employees (John and Kayleigh) driving to work, listening to the local radio station and chatting. But the multi-layered script is the very best kind of telly writing. These characters might be saying one thing but their eyes are telling us a different story. Peter Kay is a really good actor and this series is showcasing that underused talent. The Forever FM local radio station playing away in the background is BRILLIANT – a perfect comic pastiche if ever there was one. I sometimes listen to our local equivalent and Kay, along with his team of writers, couldn’t be more spot on re: the rubbishy adverts and inane local DJ banter. The music, however, is its saving grace and will probably spark a resurgence of interest in the ancient hits which John and Kayleigh love singing along to – Kay, rather impressively, commissioned real presenters etc to produce an actual morning radio show to be synced within each episode.
It was a wise move to have Kay essentially play his endearing, likeable self and to partner him with a real-life actress friend. Every aspect of this series featured acute observations on daily life coupled with a realism unhindered by an artificial laughter track, whilst also adding a few surreal moments, in the form of road signs that occasionally flash into view – I’m sure I spotted one such sign displaying the words ‘this is not a sign’ on it. These temporary glitches in normality peaked with the imaginary sequences taking place in the heads of our two supermarket sidekicks, as they occasionally drifted into musical daydreams to the accompaniment of Forever FM.
The phone exchange between John and his Nana (episode 5) was an example of everything that’s right about this show – displaying gentle humour, intelligence, wit, warmth and an understanding of human nature. John is clearly exasperated with the old woman but has bothered to get her a ‘buthday’ card and is taking the time to listen.
John: What you doing out today?
Nana: Oh, I’m not stirring out in this weather
John: But it’s gorgeous now and it’s yer buthday!
Nana: Oh it makes no odds when you get to my age John, I’m just going to sit and play me Michael Buble CD
John: Alright, very good
Nana: But I think he’s gone off, he wer’ on TV AM and I think he looked tired.
They couldn’t have hit us with a better LOL punch line than the news that Michael Buble, like a carton of milk, has ‘gone off.’
I’m telling yer straight up right, that Peter Kay’s Car Share is a proper little BELTER.