Phoenix Nights TV star Dave Spikey talks to Scunthorpe Telegraph ahead of Baths Hall appearance on Saturday March 9
I've been to Scunthorpe before but I have never played there" said Dave. "One of my former girlfriends lived in Scunthorpe – we met her on a boat going to Sweden around 40 years ago.
"She might still live in Scunthorpe – she can see what she could have won!
"I'm excited to be coming back – it's nice to go somewhere new. The Baths Hall is a relatively new theatre which looks fabulous.
"It's my fifth tour of around 100 dates each tour. I was offered an extra few days after I finished my tour last year. It's a really good show so I am delighted to do more."
But Dave has not always been a comedian, he says he was studious as a kid and it wasn't until later on in life that he considered a career in comedy.
Dave juggled comedy with his job as a biomedical scientist in the haematology laboratory at Bolton General Hospital.
He said: "I just started being funny and I hadn't had a chance to do it before because I went to a grammar school so it was quite a strict environment, but playing football I realised I was quick witted – I'd always be the one to find something funny in everything.
"In the 1980s I did some writing for amateur drama at the hospital I worked. Two days before one show I upset somebody because I had written their lines and they didn't do them properly and walked off. I had to do it – I was so nervous but once I got laughs on stage I loved them. Somebody said to me 'you should be a comedian' so I had a go at some of the London open spots and I found myself performing alongside the likes of Jack Dee and Lee Evans."
In 1996, TV comedy history was made when Dave met fellow Bolton-born comic Peter Kay. Sharing a similar style and approach to comedy and writing, they went on to form a formidable partnership; collaborating on Mad for the A6 and then on The Services for Channel 4's Comedy Lab. Shortly after they co-wrote Channel 4's hit series That Peter Kay Thing, which was awarded Best New TV Comedy at the British Comedy Awards in 2000.
Inspired by this success Dave finally took the plunge and gave up the day job. Within 12 months he'd fulfilled his dream of writing a comedy series by co-writing and co-starring in Channel 4's critically acclaimed Phoenix Nights alongside writing partners Peter Kay and Neil Fitzmaurice.
Speaking about working with Peter Kay, Dave said: "It was brilliant – we got all of our mates involved having a laugh all the time. Some of the out-takes were as long as the film – once we had to stay the night because we had recorded it 20 times but one of the speeches was long and Peter was giggling and he would always blame somebody else – he points and says 'stop it'. I would love to do something with Peter Kay again, we had a good relationship."
Dave braved the infamous black chair as a contestant on BBC 1's Celebrity Mastermind and with his specialist subject on human blood he achieved the highest score ever in the history of the show, raising valuable funds for his chosen charity, Animals Asia.
And to add to the unusual facts about Dave – as a local hero, he has since been honoured in his home town with his very own star in Bolton's "Walk of Fame" – beating Peter Kay to the spot.
"Peter and I haven't spoke about it" said Dave. "My star is near a parish church that is part of a civil war battle site in a lovely little corner of the town. They wanted to put it outside the tax office but I said I'd rather they didn't. My family think it's lovely and they keep my feet on the ground."
Speaking about his upcoming show Words Don't Come Easy, Dave said: "People can expect fun, fun, fun all the way. I am fascinated with the English language and always have been since I was a kid.
"In my show I look at everything – specific language and how you use it – from misinterpreting words, eavesdropping, thinking before you speak. For instance, purchasing wigs, someone could ask 'have you got a hair line?' to which someone replies 'no but we've got a bus station'.
"I often look at song lyrics and get annoyed at all the rubbish lyrics like Vanessa Williams' song – 'sometimes snow comes down in June, sometimes the sun goes round the moon' – they don't mean anything.
"Also a big part of what I do is look at newspapers and the ridiculous headlines. For instance in one paper I read a story about some llamas that got loose in Preston. They somehow got into a children's playground and the newspaper described them as 'wild beast' and said everybody went mad, kids were crying and the headline said 'llama-drama ding-dong'.
"There was a ridiculous headline on the front page of a newspaper with a picture of three old ladies doing some crochet in a cafe and the headline said 'pensioners make lovely rugs'.
"I get sent newspapers from all over the place. I once got one from New York and it had a brilliant headline that said 'headless body found in a topless bar'.
"When I'm on tour the local newspaper is part of my rider. If I go on stage and talk for five to 10 minutes about the local area people appreciate it – people love their local community."
Dave is currently writing a sitcom for the BBC called Glitterball which is about ballroom dancing but he is waiting to hear back on whether it will burst onto our screens, starring Alison Steadman and Jill Halfpenny.
Dave Spikey will perform at Scunthorpe's Baths Hall on March 9, to book tickets (£17) call 0844 8542776.