Peter Kay performing in 2010
An emotional Peter Kay wiped away tears as he returned to the stage on the opening night of his first live comedy tour in 11 years.
The Bafta-winning comedian has been absent from the tour circuit since 2011, but is hitting the road with his aptly-titled Better Late Than Never tour, which comes after he cancelled a a 90-date tour in 2017.
Peter was given a rapturous standing ovation which lasted several minutes, with audiences chanting his name, as he took to the stage in Manchester on Friday.
According to the PA news agency, he appeared overwhelmed by the reaction, pausing to lean against a stool on stage before standing up and dabbing his eyes.
“Oh Jesus look at me, I mean what’s that all about… how am I supposed to do bloody comedy now?” he asked the audience, prompting the first laughs of the evening.
He reportedly added: “Lovely Manchester you made me cry… where did it come from, all that emotion?”
In the years since, he has kept a relatively low profile, but returned to the stage earlier this year for two special charity events to raise money for Laura Nuttall, a young woman with an aggressive type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme.
In 2018, he also made a surprise appearance at a charity screening of his award-winning comedy series Car Share, of which he later recorded a one-off audio special in 2020 during Covid lockdown.
Friday’s show at the Manchester AO Arena is the first in a mammoth arena tour spanning from December to August 2023.
He is due to visit locations including Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield, Belfast, Newcastle, Glasgow and Dublin, with the run ending on August 11 2023 at the Sheffield Utilita Arena.