Peter Kay and Ronnie Barker were great friends, and the way they stayed in touch was hilarious!

Richard Bevan
Richard Bevan
3 Min Read

Comedy genius Peter Kay unveiled the well-guarded secret of his extraordinary friendship with the legendary Ronnie Barker. The 50-year-old star, known for his unique brand of humour and beloved sitcoms like “Phoenix Nights” and “Car Share,” disclosed the hidden bond that existed between him and his comedy idol.

“Ronnie Barker is my comedy hero,” Kay admitted, shedding light on the inspiration behind his comedic style. “There’s not a lot of things that make me laugh, surprisingly enough,” he confessed during an early career interview. This rare acknowledgement from the tough-to-please comedian highlighted the immense influence Barker had on shaping Kay into the iconic figure he is today.

Back in 2003, Peter Kay decided to reach out to his comedy idol, initiating a pen-pal relationship that would last for years. It all began when Kay, contacted Ronnie Barker, who had retired by then, expressing his admiration for the 1973 British TV show “Porridge.” This sitcom, revolving around the lives of inmates in fictional HMP Slade, had always been a favourite of Kay’s.

Peter Kay became great friends with comedy legend Ronnie Barker
Kay became a pen pal for “Fletch”.

Peter Kay Took Huge Inspiration From Barker

To his delight, Barker responded with a handwritten letter, embodying his famous TV character, ‘Fletch.’ The letter, penned on paper from HMP Slade Prison, humorously detailed Barker’s life behind bars, claiming to have stolen paper from the prison laundry. “I have been keeping a clean sheet so far. But that’s mostly because I work in the prison laundry,” the letter read, capturing the essence of Barker’s popular character.

The exchange of letters continued for years, with both comedians maintaining their correspondence in character. Kay even shared a snippet of Barker’s wit, recalling, “He wrote four pages about how he had stolen the paper when Mr. McKay was not looking.” The camaraderie extended beyond words, as Kay, known for his role as Brian Potter in “Phoenix Nights,” sent Barker a nail file cleverly hidden in a Soreen Fruity Malt Loaf.

In an interview, Kay announced his plans to immortalise these cherished memories in his new book, chronicling his journey on TV, including the treasured letters exchanged with Ronnie Barker. “There’s over twenty years of stories about filming series like Phoenix Nights and Max & Paddy’s Road To Nowhere. Appearing on chat shows like Parkinson, at the Queens Golden Jubilee, and sharing letters from Ronnie Barker,” Kay revealed about the upcoming book.

Did you spot this segment about his relationship with Ronnie Barker in his new book T.V: Big Adventures on the Small Screen?

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