Peter Kay’s bitter 10-year feud with Phoenix Nights co-star over ‘stolen’ credit

Phoenix Nights star Dave Spikey, who wrote the Channel 4 series and played Jerry St. Clair, fell out with Peter Kay and apparently blamed him for the failure of his career

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Peter Kay wasn’t the only person involved in writing Phoenix Nights — and one of his co-stars was furious at receiving too little credit.

First broadcast in 2002 and spanning two series, the popular Channel 4 sitcom was based in a working-class club in Bolton and cemented itself as a cult classic.

The standout star of the series was Peter Kay, who not only wrote and directed episodes but also played three different characters, even appearing in the same scenes.

The main focus was on Kay’s character Brian Potter’s attempts to lead the club to success despite its rough players and clumsy staff.

Peter co-wrote the show with Neil Fitzmaurice and Dave Spikey playing DJ Ray Von and the club’s host Jerry St. Clair, but this led to a bitter feud by the time the show ended.

There was anger over not filming a third series and over who got credit for the show’s popularity – as Dave didn’t speak to Peter for a decade before they finally reconciled.

Peter Kay and Dave Spikey feuded over Phoenix Nights


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Jerry was used in Brian’s schemes to disguise himself as a giant berry and sold black bin bags at Asda after they lost the club.

While his character was humiliated on screen, Dave had similar feelings in real life as he hated that Peter was getting all the credit for the series’ success.

“He called me and Neil Fitzmaurice, the other writer on Phoenix Nights, to say we’ve been nominated for a Writers Guild of Great Britain award,” he said Manchester evening news in 2010.

“We thought it was fantastic, only it went away and we realized we hadn’t actually been nominated, just Peter. And you’re like, ‘Well, he probably won’t accept that because of all the work we’ve done’.

“There were three authors. If you’re talking about the person who finally sat down and put it all together and wrote it down, it was Peter. If that’s how you qualify by putting the words on paper, then so be it.”

Dave said they had brainstorming sessions where he and Neil submitted a lot of dialogue and that he did a lot of his own research.

This included taking Peter to club visits and even sending his own wife to an Ann Summers night.

The pair starred together in Phenix Nights

Spikey also refused to appear in a scene where Kay suggested he be hosed down naked by Bolton firefighters after an anthrax scare at the Phoenix Club.

They finally healed their rift when Peter Dave said he was planning live shows of Phoenix Nights for Comic Relief in 2015.

Dave admitted it was “a bit awkward” at first, but it became the “best two weeks of his life” and helped reignite their close friendship.

“Peter’s call came like a bolt from the blue. He really blew me away,” he explained.

“We hadn’t spoken to each other in over ten years and it had been 12 years since we filmed the last Phoenix Nights. Life went on. I had always hoped that we would get back together, but the longer things took, the less likely it became.”

He added: “It was nice to hear from Peter. We had obviously grown apart, but within moments in the Wakefield rehearsal space the years just faded away and it was like we had never been away.”

After Phoenix Nights, Dave became a regular team captain on 8 Out of 10 Cats from 2005 to 2007, hosted a revived Bullseye in 2006, and did a stand-up tour juggling on a motorcycle in 2017.

Peter and Dave healed the crack


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While Peter headed off with his best pal and co-star Paddy McGuinness to film the hilarious spin-off series Max & Paddy’s Road To Nowhere.

In December 2018, Dave slammed the decision to end Phoenix Nights after just two series, admitting he was upset that Peter and Paddy decided to leave and then did a spin-off.

“You can never go back,” Dave tweeted in 2018. “Should have done a third series and a Christmas special. The ideas and storylines were there.”

Seeming to take a dig at Peter and Paddy, he added, “Max and Paddy rode off into the sunset and sadly that was the end.”

“Was that just being foisted on you that they wanted to part ways with it?” replied one fan, with which Dave agreed.

When a fan asked if a third series would happen, he replied, “Lost cause I’m afraid.”

Dave also opened up about his failed showbiz career, asking if it was “a matter of age.”

Dave wanted there to be more shows

After confirming he wouldn’t be back on screens any time soon, he added: “Not for lack of trying! Keep writing – keep getting rejections. I don’t know what they’re looking for.”

“It can be frustrating and demoralizing at times, but hey, put your head down and move on.”

One person making a comeback is Peter, who is reportedly set to unveil plans for a major comeback tour in 2023.

This comes six years after he retired from the spotlight due to “unforeseen family circumstances” and canceled his first tour in eight years in 2017.

But Peter is set to perform across the UK next year and is looking forward to returning to the stage in his first tour since 2011.

A source tells The sun : “He has set up massive venues across the country including in Manchester, London and Birmingham and hopes to announce in September.

“Peter hasn’t performed a live stand-up set on a major stage in well over a decade, but he couldn’t be more ready to get out there again.”

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