Peter Kay: Hilarious way the star communicated with Ronnie Barker for years revealed

Peter Kay’s unique brand of humour was heavily influenced by the greatest comedians of the past and shaped him into the legend he is today. The star previously revealed he is a very tough critic and hard to please when it comes to making people laugh. Several months after he was crowned North West Comedian of the Year in 1996, his second ever performance, Peter gave high praise to one comedian in particular. The Bolton-born funnyman explained that very few people tickled him and that “not a lot of things” could evoke laughter from him either. Despite his high standards, Peter listed Ronnie Barker among a small handful of people who could get him to chuckle. Later on in his career, a friendship emerged between the two comedy icons and unearthed accounts reveal how they conducted their hilarious exchanges.

During an early career interview, Peter joked that he was “more of a laughter giver, than a laughter taker” and praised his comedy hero, in a show for Paramount 2. 

He said: “Ronnie Barker in Porridge. There’s not a lot of things that make me laugh surprisingly enough.” 

Decades later during an interview with the Daily Express in 2011, he revealed the 1973 British TV show had always been his “favourite sitcom”.

The comedy classic centered around the lives of inmates ‘Norman Stanley Fletcher’, known as ‘Fletch’, played by Ronnie Barker and Richard Beckinsale’s character ‘Lennie Godber’.

Set in fictional HMP Slade, the show’s title was a reference to the traditional breakfast of inmates and the British slang “Doing porridge” – which means serving a prison sentence. 

Peter explained that he had contacted comedy great Ronnie back in 2003 and received a hilarious handwritten response.

Ronnie Barker’s letter had been penned on paper from HMP Slade Prison and he even wrote as his famous TV character ‘Fletch’.  

Peter Kay shared part of the note: “I have been keeping a clean sheet so far. But that’s mostly because I work in the prison laundry.”

The comedian added: “He wrote four pages about how he had stolen the paper when Mr McKay was not looking.

“I had some Phoenix Nights notepaper made and wrote to him as Brian Potter. I sent him a nail file in a Soreen Fruity Malt Loaf.”

The comedians communicated for years in character according to Peter, up until the elder statesman of comedy passed away in October 2005 from heart failure.

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Peter paid tribute to The Two Ronnies star during a eulogy at his funeral where he revealed how influential he was to him and thanked him for gifting the world with laughter.

In another reflection, he wrote: “I’m so very sad, I think everybody will feel that sadness. 

“It leaves a huge hole in our lives when somebody like Ronnie passes, just like Eric Morecambe you feel like you’ve lost a dear friend. 

“He made me laugh so much and I’m just so lucky to have been able to get to know my hero and the person that I aspire to be. 

“My thoughts go out to Joy and the rest of his family.”

Peter Kay, who announced a break from comedy in 2017, will appear on BBC show ‘The Big Night In’ on April 13, to raise money during the coronavirus outbreak.

His best skits and sketches are being shown as part of ‘Peter Kay’s Comedy Shuffle’ broadcast every Friday at 9.30pm on BBC One

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