Peter John Kay is an English actor, comedy writer and stand-up comedian. He has written, produced and acted in several television and film projects, and has written three books.
Born and brought up in Farnworth, Kay studied media performance at the University of Salford. He began working part-time as a stand-up comedian, winning the North West Comedian of the Year award. In 1997, he won Channel 4's So You Think You're Funny contest and the following year was nominated for a Perrier Award for his show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. With his public profile raised, in 2000 he co-wrote and starred in That Peter Kay Thing for Channel 4. This resulted in a spin-off sitcom, Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights, which ran for two series from 2001 to 2002 and in turn generated another spin-off, Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere, in 2004. In 2005, he recorded a promotional video in which he mimed to Tony Christie's 1971 hit "(Is This the Way to) Amarillo", which was reissued to raise money for Comic Relief: the song reached number 1 in the UK Singles Chart, becoming that year's best-selling single in the UK.
In 2008, Kay co-wrote and starred in Britain's Got the Pop Factor... and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice, a parody of several British reality television shows. As the series' fictional protagonist Geraldine McQueen, he released the single "The Winner's Song", which reached number 2 in the UK singles chart. His 2010–2011 stand-up comedy tour was recorded in the Guinness World Records as the most successful ever selling over 1.2 million tickets. He co-wrote and starred in Peter Kay's Car Share, a sitcom screened by the BBC for three series from 2015 to 2018. He also starred in the 2015 BBC sitcom Cradle to Grave.
In 2016, Kay won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Male Comedy Performance, the BAFTA TV Award for Best Scripted Comedy and the National Television Award for Best Comedy for ...Car Share. He also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Salford.