His hair may be thinning, but Paddy McGuinness has loved stepping back in time as part of the Phoenix Nights Live experience.
The Lancashire comedian and presenter has recently been reunited with Peter Kay, Dave Spikey and co at Manchester arena in a special run of the hit TV show in aid of Comic Relief.
“It has been smashing, great,” Paddy says of Phoenix Nights Live, echoing fellow Lancashire funnyman Jim Bowen.
“Fifteen years ago it was on TV and it’s quite flattering really that we have got 14,000 people in every night shouting the catchphrases and dressing up as the characters, when you think people must have forgotten.”
And he’s quick to dismiss the rumours of rows between the show’s cast – which were said to be the reason it’s never been back on TV screens.
“The talk of rows was made up by the press,” he said. “We always got together at Christmas for a drink, which no-one knew about, and I remember there was a story about no-one speaking and we were all sat there.
“When we got together for the first rehearsals, it was like stepping back to being on set again, it was exactly the same.
“Nothing had really changed, except our hair’s dropped out a bit!”
Paddy’s own tour – which comes to Blackpool’s Opera House on Friday, January 29 2016 – was announced just as Phoenix Nights was getting underway at Manchester Arena.
This time out on the road, he’s going to be sharing stories of fatherhood to twins Leo and Penelope, with wife Christine Martin. His children are aged 19 months now and approaching the terrible twos.
“I have ideas and it will be great once Phoenix Nights is out of the way to start bringing it together,” the Bolton-born comedian and presenter said.
“I don’t know if it’s a man thing, but when they are first born all they do is sleep, eat, cry and poo. Now they’ve got more personality and get up to mischief – but don’t get me wrong, they’re great!”
And as is so often the case, Blackpool’s going to be one of Paddy’s key dates in the tour.
“I have done places like Blackpool Opera House lots of times, and there are certain venues you look forward to and it’s definitely one of those.
“I’ve toured arenas as a comedian, but there are places like the Opera House which you cannot beat. It’s such a lovely theatre, there’s so much history and heritage to enjoy when you’re there.
“Phoenix Nights Live worked in an arena as it was a big big show, but when it’s just you on stage with a mic it’s different. Some comedians can make it work, you hear a lot of laughter but you don’t get a connection like you do in a theatre, where you can have a one-to-one chat.”
With Take Me Out back on Saturday night ITV, Paddy’s been getting a taster of the Blackpool humour thanks to local girl Amy Parkinson appearing on the dating show.
The 34-year-old was one of the current series’ original line up of women, and her quirky personality saw her selected as one of its main characters featuring in additional promotion photos for the show.
“People like Amy are a dream on Take Me Out,” he said. “She came on the show, totally open and not pigeon holing herself by looking only for blokes with blond hair or blue eyes, just saying ‘I’d like to meet someone nice’. She was a really top girl.”
* Paddy McGuinness, Blackpool Opera House, Friday, January 29, 2016. Go to www.gigsandtours.com or www.ticketmaster.co.uk, or call 0844 811 0051 or 0844 826 2826.