TV review: Sadly, the new Peter Kay Car Share episode suffered from the lack of a script

Peter Kay and Sian Gibson star as John and Kayleigh in Peter Kay's Car Share Unscripted. Picture by Matt Squire/ BBC

Peter Kay's Car Share Unscripted, BBC 1, Monday, 10pm

Comedian Peter Kay stepped out of the limelight last year, shelving his tour due to "unforeseen family circumstances".

So his return to our television screens this week has been eagerly awaited, particularly by those of us who had tickets for his cancelled shows.

More than three years after the first episode of the award-winning comedy hit our television screens and Kay and co-star Sian Gibson are back for the first of two final specials, entitled Car Share Unscripted.

They have reprised their roles as John and Kayleigh, the unlikely couple thrown together in their company's car share scheme, their paths crossing as they journey to their respective jobs at a major out-of-town supermarket.

Throw in lots of cheesy 1990s classics on the local radio station playing in the background and it has been comedy gold.

"What you're going to watch tonight is called Car Share Unscripted," said Kay as he appeared on screen at the start of the show.

"Basically, we decided to see what would happen if we took the script away and relied on just our chemistry alone, reacting to whatever came on the radio."

He added: "We used to drive around quite a bit and we wanted to see what would happen if we filmed the whole journey without a script.

"Just making it up, reacting to the radio and chatting and basically seeing what would happen. Here's the result, I hope you enjoy it."

Ahead of the show's last-ever episode later this month, John and Kayleigh set out in his red Fiat 500L for what could be their last journey together.

Of course, for devoted fans, there's the hope that finally love will blossom between the pair.

Amid the nostalgic classics playing on Forever FM, the programme began with the comedy sketches that Kay and Gibson do best - when the two enjoy meandering conversations about life.

There's everything from the Kayleigh's disbelief that John has never watched an episode of Friends to the more serious questions about what the 'S' stands for in 'Act FAST', which soon descends into laughter with Kayleigh's suggestion of 'shins' or 'shoes'.

Or the funny discussion between the pair about what the 'U' in club sandwich stands for - did you google it?

There were a few scripted cheeky references spotted along the journey too, including the Vengabus, or the sign offering complimentary moustaches for people unable to grow their own and the comical shop name 'Halaldi'.

But for me, that's where the highlights came to an end.

The long-winded story on the radio about a woman who discovers her husband has been dressing in her clothes and having an affair with other men did not sit well in what is usually a light-hearted, good natured type of show.

Not only did the segment go on a bit too long but John's disgusted reaction to the transsexual love triangle appeared to hit the wrong note with viewers.

It was the lack of a script that was the episode's downfall though and made for uneasy watching throughout.

It had been billed as a comedy experiment to see how much magic Kay and Gibson could bring to the screen unprompted and for me, it proved that a script is needed.

Some of the cheap gags were ill-judged and as a massive fan of Car Share have tainted what I regarded as comedy brilliance in the past.

While the penultimate episode did not have live up to my expectations, I'm still eager to see if John and Kayleigh drive off into the sunset together, so will watch the final show later this month.

Let's hope it's not as disappointing.

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