Spikey's back but wait for Phoenix is still ongoing
IF YOU'RE holding out for a third series of cult TV comedy Phoenix Nights, then you might have to wait a little longer.
The observational sitcom, set in a Bolton workingmen's club, was a surprise hit when it was first screened on Channel 4 in 2000.
Written by Dave Spikey, Neil Fitzmaurice and everyone's favourite funnyman, Peter Kay, it went on to collect a BAFTA nomination and produced a spin-off show – Max And Paddy's Road To Nowhere, starring Kay and Paddy McGuinness.
"We spent ages writing Phoenix Nights," says 58-year-old Dave, who played club host Jerry St Clair in the show.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
"We worked really hard on layering it so if you came back to it and watched it, you could still find something new.
"We used a real club with real people as extras. We did all the staged stuff during the day, then turned the cameras on to the real people at night to capture their reactions.
"By the time the second series came about, we didn't realise it had happened but there were catchphrases that caught on.
"Every time I go into the supermarket I still get asked where the black bin bags are," he adds, a reference to a scene from Phoenix Nights.
It was the programme that was to arguably launch Kay's career into comedy stratosphere.
Building on the earlier critical success of That Peter Kay Thing, his turn as acid-tongued club owner Brian Potter was to endear Kay to the nation's heart.
"Peter doesn't seem that interested in making a third series," says Dave. "I think we've left it too long. It never happened because Peter had his own projects to pursue.
"I haven't seen him for a long time. He's just gone now, he's a superstar isn't he? We don't really see him a lot."
Comparisons between the relative success of the different cast members were always going to be inevitable, and in many ways the others were left languishing in Kay's wake.
Still, one person who was always a sure bet in the pursuit of a solo career was Spikey.
He is a winner of the 1990 North West Comedian Of The Year award – a prize Kay also later won – and continues to make regular appearances on TV. He has also completed filming Charlie Noades RIP, and his book, He Took My Kidney, Then Broke My Heart, is published this month.
But best of all he has made a return to his stand-up roots. He decided to add several dates to The Best Medicine Tour – Repeat Prescription, after his gigs were well received by audiences.
"I was going to finish in the spring and I got so much interest and was enjoying myself so much, I thought 'I'll carry on," he says.
Dave, who is a former chief biomedical scientist at The Royal Bolton Hospital and who spent 30 years working in the NHS.
"I talk about my time working in a hospital," he says. "I was also a patient recently so I've seen it from the other side too.
"I had an investigation after I had some strange pains in my back. It's great lying in bed all day and taking it all in. It's a massive source of comedy."
So is he really ruling out a return to the famous fictional workingmen's club as the compere without compare, Jerry St Clair?
"I'd actually love to do a Phoenix Nights Christmas special," he laughs. "Just to test the water. I've even got one written in my head.
"Jerry would be putting on the best Christmas gala show ever, in his mind, and Brian Potter would be Father Christmas even though he hates it.
"I'd love to do a parody of The Great Escape, but with the Phoenix Nights characters. But it will probably stay in my imagination forever."
Dave Spikey's The Best Medicine Tour – Repeat Prescription is at the Lyceum Theatre in Crewe on Friday, November 13 (telephone 01270 537333) at 7.30pm and at the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre on Saturday, November 14, also at 7.30pm. Telephone 01785 254653.