One of Britain's best-loved comedians has made a return to the stage after 12 years – and throughout his career he has not just inspired celebrities, but he has significantly influenced his hometown too.

Peter Kay is back with his hilarious brand of stand-up comedy and while he is just a normal person working hard at his job, he is also a role model for many who want to follow in his footsteps.

He rose to fame in 1997 after he won Channel 4’s So You Think You’re Funny contest.

In the following year, 1998, Kay was nominated for a Perrier Award after his fantastic show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

In 2000, he then co-wrote and starred in That Peter Kay Thing for Channel 4, before being in a spin-off sitcom, Phoenix Nights from 2001-02 and then Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere, in 2004.

Some of his early memorable shows were at the top of Blackpool Tower in 2000 and his hometown venue, The Albert Halls in 2003 and in recent years he is much loved for his series, Peter Kay’s Car Share.

Throughout his career, growing up in Farnworth, Kay, now aged 49, has inspired many to also take up roles in comedy, including Jason Manford.

Back in 2019, Manford told the Swindon Advertiser that while he was collecting glasses in his local pub he saw Eddie Izzard, Peter Kay and Johnny Vegas perform.

The Bolton News: Peter Kay and Jason ManfordPeter Kay and Jason Manford (Image: Twitter/Jason Manford)

He met Kay after the show, and he gave him the advice to go back to school.

So, Jason took a Higher National Diploma in media and performance at the University of Salford, being inspired by the Bolton comedian.

Eighties pop hero Rick Astley has also previously revealed how he was spurred on to make a comeback by Bolton comedian Peter Kay.

The chart-topping singer said he loved performing during Kay’s 20-night sell-out run at the MEN Arena in April and May of 2010.

Astley thanked Kay for proving the perfect inspiration.

"Peter performed before 11,000 fans each night. Leaving everyone in stitches for two hours a night takes some doing. It's very inspiring," Astley said.

But there are people much closer to home that have been moved by Kay's performances.

Read more: Peter Kay brought to tears on opening night of live tour

Chief executive of Octagon Theatre, Roddy Gauld, said Kay has certainly put Bolton on the map and has inspired so many other comedians.

Mr Gauld said: “It is wonderful to see a local talent from Bolton accomplish what he has and bring such joy to audiences around the country.

“There are colleagues at the Octagon who remember Peter fondly from when he was a box office assistant here – and sense of humour was legendary then!

“I think audiences fell in love with Peter and his comedy as it is so playful, nostalgic, and relatable to so many people.

“He has always stayed true to his Bolton roots- his comedy has certainly helped put Bolton on the map and has inspired so many other comedians.

“We’re thrilled that he is getting such great reviews and selling out stadiums up and down the country.

“People have told me how brilliant the show is, and I can’t wait to see it.”

The Bolton News: Octagon Theatre and Bolton Little TheatreOctagon Theatre and Bolton Little Theatre (Image: Google)

Young theatre performers from Bolton are also being inspired by the record-breaking comedian.

Chairman of Bolton Little Theatre, David Smart, said: “Peter Kay – what an absolute amazing person and huge personality he is.

“His style of stand up comedy surely must be so inspirational to the local and national 'new kids on the block', taking everyday humour from the local community and presenting it back to the audience which can relate to that.

“A true classic in our own community.

“His style of comedy, local characteristic – situational – and personal perception all make a prime target for comedy.

“For example, the Car Share episode where Kayleigh described 'going dogging' to Peters character, thinking it was dog walking! That was so well-acted and the comedy timing was perfect.”

Bolton’s Paddy McGuinness has also shared a heartfelt message on Instagram about his former schoolmate's success recently.

In a statement he said: “I don’t often speak about Pete and his achievements on my socials. He’s been a mate since childhood and that’s how I always see him?

“Regardless of all the great things he’s achieved on television there’s literally no one who comes close to what he does live. 

“The amount of tickets he sells is unheard of in the comedy world and beyond! 

“He’s a one off folks, enjoy him, I don’t think you’ll see the likes of him again? Certainly not in our lifetime. I’m very proud you son.

“PS I haven’t got tickets. PPS I don’t need any. #peterkay.”