Hundreds of thousands of Britons have been queueing online to try to buy Peter Kay tickets, with the comedian having put on more than 20 extra dates to meet the demand.
After thousands of pre-sale tickets for Peter Kay Live sold on Thursday and Friday, the Manchester Evening News reported that up to 2 million people had queued on Saturday.
Many fans reported seeing messages on the Ticketmaster website telling them there were more than 300,000 people ahead of them in the virtual line – roughly the population of Nottingham.
The tour was originally set to end in August 2023, but the additional dates mean it will now run until November 2024.
Ticketmaster tweeted: “As expected, Peter Kay is super popular this morning. To make it as fair as possible, we have put everyone in a queue. Be patient and don’t refresh or you’ll lose your place.”
A number of extra dates were added to the tour after “unprecedented” demand left many fans unable to access apps and websites offering pre-sale tickets. These included two new shows in Birmingham, four in London and six in Manchester.
Channel 5 News host Dan Walker was among those in the queue, tweeting: “Trying to get Peter Kay tickets is like trying to get an appointment at the GP! ‘Please hold … there are currently 170,000 people ahead of you in the queue’.”
Fellow comic Jason Manford joked: “Phew lucky enough to get 2x Peter Kay tickets. For sale 2x Peter Kay tickets, £3500 each ono.”
Shortly before 11am, the Liverpool Echo reported that all tickets for the city’s M&S Bank arena were sold out.
Some ticket resale sites, such as Viagogo, had seats available for as much as £1,000, with many people calling for more to be done to stop touts and to control the number of purchases.
Others reported that the site had crashed due to the high demand.
Kay’s comeback from a five-year hiatus was announced during an ad break in the series launch of ITV’s I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! during which Kay was seen carrying a rolled-up carpet into a house.
The advert concluded with the fans asking Kay whether he had finally bought his mother a bungalow – a reference to the comic’s previous Mum Wants a Bungalow tour. Kay replied that he had, and that his mother now wanted a new carpet to go in it.
Kay appeared on Zoe Ball’s BBC Radio 2 breakfast show on Wednesday and said he had been “overwhelmed” by the response to his return, even before his tickets had gone on sale.
Announcing his new dates, the 49-year-old from Bolton said: “It’s good to get back to what I love doing best, standup comedy, and if there’s ever a time people need a laugh it’s now.”
After successfully securing his tickets for a date in London next summer, comedy fan Ben Andrews, from London, said: “The pressure was on to get tickets – especially as I’m married to a northerner.
“I was in the digital waiting room from 9.45am, and immediately had 50k people ahead of me. With 20k capacity, I had to cross my fingers.”
His wife, Sarah Farrell, from Manchester, added: “To give us a better chance, I joined the queue too, but I did so late, panicked, and ended up queueing for 2024. At one point there were a quarter of a million people ahead of me so I just went and put the kettle on.”
As well as touring the UK, Kay will become the first comedian to be given his own residency at the O2 Arena in London. He will perform there once a month between December 2022 and November 2023.
In 2010, Kay achieved a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the biggest selling standup tour of all time, playing to more than 1.2 million people.
He had been due to go on the road in 2017, but cancelled those shows because of “unforeseen family circumstances”.