Remembering ‘Eyes Down’ — That Peter Kay Thing


Peter Kay’s comedy is firmly rooted in the North — especially loved by the working class. Phoenix Nights isn’t just a set of gags, it’s an accurate and witty portrayal of Northern ‘run-of-the-mill’ social clubs. Its predecessor, That Peter Kay, was the series that kicked everything off.  Let’s take a look at one of the most hilarious episodes available, ‘Eye’s Down’. 

‘Eyes Down’ — a hilarious take on British bingo halls!

‘Eyes Down’ was part of the six part series That Peter Kay Thing, which was made in the mould of Ronnie Barker’s Seven of One. This show was to be a prime example of Kay’s ability as a writer, and not just a comedian. Every episode focuses on a specific character — all played by Kay — exploring the lives of Bolton’s working class. Running gags occurred as several of the characters crossed paths during the series — ‘Eyes Down’, saw the screen debut of the now infamous Keith Lard character — the man who loves dogs a little too much!

The episode that followed is the one we all love though — set at the fictional Apollo Bingo Club in Manchester. Kay’s character in this episode was bingo called Tom Dale, but Keith Lard made an appearance also, providing some rather humorous fire safety tips. Unfortunately, his apparent affliction towards dogs came out in this episode as well.

A day in the life of a bingo caller!

That Peter Kay thing wasn’t exactly concerned with the plot. No, the characters were the most important element of the show. The ‘fly on the wall’ element of the show allowed cameramen to follow the employees about, viewing their rivalries and laughing at their petty squabbles. Head honcho in this episode was Tom Dale, bingo-called extraordinaire!

Introducing Tom Dale!

The centre of attention in this episode is Tom Dale, the club’s ‘celebrity’ bingo caller. Something of at ‘lad’, he snarls at other members of staff, making off-colour comments about their ability to work within the intense bingo environment. Although he comes across as a ‘tough-man’, he is unwilling to confront them directly and gets the owners to take action against staff members who he dislikes. He’s the egomaniac bingo caller that we all know and love — hilarious!

Enter Keith Lard, the fireman!

One of the most memorable characters has to be Keith Lard, the fireman with an *alleged* inclination towards dogs. This character not only appeared in That Peter Kay Thing, but also in Phoenix Nights. Unfortunately for Kay, Keith Lard was also the name of a real-life Bolton firefighter Keith Laird, who claimed the character was based on him. This was not the case though, just a hilarious coincidence!

Some of his best quotes include:

  • ‘Fire! Smoke kills in seconds, fire kills in minutes and there’s no smoke without fire!’
  • ‘If you’re not careful it’ll go up like that. Woof!’

If you’re looking for a painfully true representation of bingo halls from the 90s, then you can’t miss ‘Eyes Down.’ It’s witty, hilarious and down right entertaining! If you’re looking to avoid the cheesiness of real-life bingo, might we recommend that you browse our range of online bingo games.

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