Fans left disappointed after popular comedian Peter Kay cancels first live tour in eight years due to "unforseen family circumstances"
MORE than 100,000 Irish fans of comedian Peter Kay have been left disappointed after his Dublin and Belfast shows were among those cancelled in his 112-date UK and Ireland tour.
The Lancashire-born star yesterday offered his "sincerest apologies" to the many thousands of fans who had booked tickets for eagerly awaited comeback tour, which had been due to start in Birmingham in April and run in to 2019.
The star of Phoenix Nights and Car Share currently holds the record for the biggest-selling comedy tour of all time after playing to 1.2 million people in 2010 and 2011.
The 44-year-old comedian had been due to perform six dates at the SSE Arena in Belfast on January 13,14,15,18,19 and 20. He was then due to return to Ireland in 2019 to appear at the 3Arena in Dublin on February 1,2,3,6,7 and 8.
It is estimated that around 120,000 fans would have booked tickets for his Belfast and Dublin shows.
In a statement yesterday, the star, whose mother hails from Coalisland in Co Tyrone said: "Due to unforeseen family circumstances I deeply regret that I am having to cancel all of my upcoming work projects.
"This unfortunately includes my upcoming stand-up tour, Dance For Life shows and any outstanding live work commitments".
The statement continued: "My sincerest apologies. This decision has not been taken lightly and I'm sure you'll understand my family must always come first.
"I've always endeavoured to protect my family's privacy from the media. I hope that the media and the public will continue to respect our privacy at this time. Once again I'm very sorry".
The news comes just weeks after the comedian tripled his original tour line-up due to popular demand, extending the original 26-gig schedule to more that 80 dates across cities.
Fans were last night told how they could receive full refunds for their ticket purchases.
Ticketmaster customers who purchased online or by telephone using debit or credit card are asked to take no action as their accounts will automatically be refunded within the next few days.
Customers who purchased in person from a Ticketmaster agent, outlet or venue will receive a full refund from the point of purchase from 10am today.
As Dance for Life is a charitable event in aid of Cancer Research UK, ticket holders may, if they wish, still donate to Cancer Research UK by visiting www.cancerresearchuk.org
Meanwhile, while the comedian announced the cancellation of all live work, the BBC last night confirmed that he would return next year in popular show, Car Share.
Fans of the show were left distraught when the comedian announced that he would not be creating a third run of the show, but were delighted when he later promised two extra one-off episodes - including an improvised show and a finale.
The BBC said last night that the planned finale and one-off special, Car Share: Unscripted will still go ahead next year.