Peter Kay returned to his roots yesterday (Tuesday 19 July) to receive an honorary degree from the University of Salford.
The funnyman was given a huge reception from graduates and staff at his alma mater, where he completed a Higher National Diploma in Media and Performance in 1996.
As he collected a Doctorate of Arts at Salford’s Lowry Theatre, the Phoenix Nights star said: “I’ve turned down a few of these awards over the years but I accepted this one because I actually came here to Salford University, so it really means something.
He joked: “I’m not sure what this Doctorate is exactly – I hope I’m not on a plane when they urgently need a doctor.”
Peter, born and raised in Bolton, began practising stand-up as part of his university course, going on to be one of the great comics of our times.
After winning the North West Comedian of the Year award in 1997, Peter made his TV breakthrough with the BAFTA award-winning series Phoenix Nights, and since then has become a Guinness World Record holder for the most successful comedy tour ever, playing to over 1.2 million people at 140 shows.
Most recently, at the 2016 BAFTA awards, Peter won Best Male Comedy Performance as well as Best Scripted Comedy for his critically acclaimed comedy series Car Share, co-starring another University of Salford graduate Sian Gibson.
Peter is awarded this honorary doctorate in light of his contributions to television and comedy and his ongoing support for the University, via visits and masterclasses.
Vice-Chancellor of Salford University, Professor Helen Marshall said: “We are delighted to be awarding one of the UK’s most popular comedians and one of our most high-profile alumni, Peter Kay with an honorary doctorate.
“Peter has made a major contribution to one of UK plc’s most important sectors – the entertainment industry – and is a strong supporter of up-and-coming talent as demonstrated in his work with our Arts and Media students.”
Arts and Media courses at the University of Salford have produced a strong of acting and comedic talent including Jason Manford, Christopher Eccleston and Sir Ben Kingsley.