That Peter Kay Thing

That Peter Kay Thing


Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

The first thing Peter Kay notes in his commentaries is the inspiration for the title, since no matter what he would have called the show, people would still refer to it as "that Peter Kay thing." It's a nice choice and as brightly conceived as much of the show.

That Peter Kay Thing is a series of mock documentaries, featuring characters and locations that could be found in just about any village or city in Britain, including bingo halls, social clubs, a road-sweeper and a (hilariously dry) ice-cream man.

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It features the trappings of a BBC/ITV soap opera documentary on any subject (gleefully satirising the style of those EasyJet adverts masquerading as television), featuring the well-known dry-voiced Andrew Sachs as the narrator. The structure of each episode is that of a fly-on-the-wall intrusive crew, yet the characters pretend to ignore the camera's vision, giving us plenty of obvious pokes at thinly realised television.

On each show, most of these characters are written and performed by Kay, having them expose their frailties in a maniacally, yet astutely contained, fashion. One wonders just how he keeps a straight face, while confessing to the camera what I dare not reveal. It proved to be so successful, in fact, that Kay's wheelchair-using owner of the social club, Brian Potter, will reappear in an even better series of Phoenix Nights, a greatly expanded view of one particular episode, with it's own dramas and character quirks taking centre stage.

If I am going to nit-pick, it's not quite as funny as it thinks it is sometimes. To argue that Kay is frequently drawing this out for his own amusement without thought of the audience would be a valid criticism. Indeed, it quite often stretches a gag beyond it's breaking point, and we're waiting for the next scene to give us a fresh laugh.

The occasionally - nay, frequently - improvised and rich comedy of his stand-up and television has already assured Kay a loyal following and his showpiece here demonstrates what he's really made of.

Solid entertainment and worthy of the popular sales numbers - the best selling TV DVD of 2004 - over 145,000 copies in it's first week.


Reviewed on: 26 Oct 2004
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Series of mockumentaries from the stand-up comedian.
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Director: Andrew Gillman

Writer: Peter Kay, Dave Spikey, Gareth Hughes, Neil Fitzmaurice

Starring: Peter Kay, Steve Edge, the voice of Andrew Sachs

Year: 2000

Runtime: 218 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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