A new instalment of ‘Peter Kay’s Car Share’ has been released as part of ‘Dear NHS: 100 Stories to Say Thank You’ – a book to praise the health services during the coronavirus pandemic and fundraise for their charities. In the piece, character John Redmond recounts a cancer scare to Kayleigh Kitson, played in the TV show by Sian Gibson, after a brain scan to investigate “really bad headaches” led to concerning results. The sitcom has become an undeniable success since it first debuted on the BBC in 2015, which at its peak drew more than 9.4 million viewers for episode one of the second series. But before its national acclaim, the writers confessed their concerns about the script’s quality and whether their creation was good enough.
The original concept for ‘Car Share’ was first penned by two writers, who scraped together six episodes before they approached legendary comedian Peter for advice.
The narrative followed two supermarket workers, John and Kayleigh, who had been forced to travel to work together as part of a scheme to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
Romance ensues in the subsequent series, all-while the pair laugh about everyday and normal situations during their commute.
Tim Reid, who co-wrote the script with Paul Coleman, admitted his concerns about whether the show was TV quality – which led them to send it on to Peter Kay.
He said: “We thought let’s show it to him and see what’s working and what is not.
“We were just hoping he would give us some feedback and opinions – whether it was a good idea or not and whether the writing was good enough or not.”
Mr Reid’s hope was simply “to get his view” on their creation and was overwhelmed by the ‘Phoenix Nights’ star’s response.
He said: “It was a real thrill when he came back and said not only did he really like it but wanted to get involved too.
“He loved the idea and asked us if we wanted him to work with us on it and you don’t say no to that – he is the best there is.”
The writers initially took inspiration from other TV shows including ‘Porridge’ and channelled the shows’ use of “self-contained character-based situations… and how they react”.
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Despite their apprehension, they claimed it all “came together very quickly” after a lengthy spate of time considering how to approach the script.
Mr Reid added in the 2015 Birmingham Mail article: “We got into the idea of who the characters were and wrote it really quickly. Before we knew where we were we had written six episodes.”
After that, they approached Peter and soon after he pitched it to Shane Allen, the BBC’s Controller of Comedy, who snapped up the show.
The comedian said: “Fortunately he liked it and commissioned the series for which I was extremely grateful and didn’t take for granted.”
Peter was “very appreciative of the opportunity” because at the time it had been more than a decade since he had made a TV series.
He said: “I really liked the idea of two people communicating in a confined space, the potential of spiraling conversations and the opportunity to find humour in the daily commute that millions of people do everyday.”