Before becoming a professional comedian Peter Kay held many part time jobs which provided a lot of his early material. He says in his autobiography that one of his worst jobs was working in a top rank bingo Hall.
Do you remember the series That Peter Kay Thing? It was a series of six spoof documentaries shown on Channel 4 in January 2000. Set in and around Bolton, these followed the lives of different characters and starred Peter Kay as the subject of each documentary. The series was narrated by Andrew Sachs. Many of the plot lines were based around actual events from Kay's life. One of them was named Tom Dale. He was an unpleasant Liverpudlian bingo caller known for his bizarre pre-show preparations and his catchphrase "Let's tickle those balls". He is based on Roy Diamond, a bingo caller Peter worked with. The episode was called Eyes Down and was set in the Apollo Bingo Hall. It charted a day in the life of the customers and employees, including Patrick O'Neil - a rebellious teenage employee who would rather not be there, his friends Yvonne and Sparky, Tom Dale - a self-obsessed bingo caller, Ron Hibbert - the owner (who is afraid of Tom) and the various old women who inhabit the club.
In his autobiography Peter gives away more information about the character Tom Dale was based on, Roy Diamond. Apparently, he didn't like Peter and his new ideas for trying to boost Bingo, and was disparaging about what he called "the new blood" poisoning and rotting Bingo!
Peter tells us that after a couple of minor indiscretions Peter Kay was fired from his job. Amongst other things he had been caught on CCTV cycling his mountain bike through the Bingo Hall. But Peter was determined to have the last laugh:
"I have no choice but to terminate your employment." Roy said
"When you say terminate my employment, what do you mean?"
"I mean as from today you are no longer an employee of Top Rank Bingo."
But Peter still I quizzed him. "when you say terminate does that mean I can't even come into the building for a game of Bingo? Are my family terminated? Or are they allowed to play Bingo?"
They discussed this for 20 mins. An exasperated Roy exclaimed
"your employment is no more and still you persist in discussing it. Why?
"Because I've not clocked off yet and I've just got another 25 mins out of you."
That Bingo Hall later shut down. One wonders what might have happened if Roy had been more receptive to Peter's ideas. We may have gained a thriving Bingo Hall in Bolton, but we would have lost one of our finest comedians!
Be you in Bolton or not, online or live, I wish you the best of luck in your next game - Eyes Down!