Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. TV & Radio
7 May 2017updated 02 Aug 2021 11:38am

An ode to Forever FM, the fictional local radio station from Peter Kay’s Car Share

The brilliance of Forever FM sounds like a response to all those who claimed that Kay was merely a nostalgia peddler.

By Antonia Quirke

At the faint risk of overegging (see the calls for yet more Baftas, and the meritorious Rachel Cooke already calling it “utterly endearing”), allow me, if you would, a quick appreciation of series two of Peter Kay’s BBC1 comedy series Car Share. Or more specifically, the marvellous fictional local radio station that features in every episode, whose millions of fans (so many that they broke iPlayer) are calling for a “real” Forever FM to be established.

Oh, that it could be so. Endless early Lloyd Cole and REO Speedwagon. Ingenious ads for life insurance (“For when tomorrow doesn’t come”). And a pants-wetting Guess the Year slot. “When was it?” challenges the breakfast-show DJ, “that Ikea opened its first store in the UK and Terry Waite was abducted in Beirut and tied to a radiator for four years?”

Quintessentially Bolton. A humour very distinct from Mancunian, which is more abrasive, metropolitan, tougher. Boltonians are more likely to combine self-deprecation with a love of the general silliness of people trying to get above themselves.

The brilliance of Forever FM sounds like an answer to all those who claimed that Kay was merely a nostalgia peddler, around the time that Phoenix Nights started going off the boil. (The pretend radio station in that show, Chorley FM, was a hoot, too. Kay for controller of BBC Radio?) The clear implication was that he was just one of those guys who talk about space hoppers and garlic bread at Wembley Arena. Less comedy, more “reassurance” and “chuckles” (the opposite of comedy, in fact). But Kay was always better than that. As backlashes go, it was about as inaccurate as when punk turned up and the Stones got lumped in with the Eagles.

Still, UK comedy, huh! Where’s the edge? Basically, we have Stewart Lee (untouchable), Frankie Boyle (there to say f*** off to everything) and the vaunted, super-aggressive values of Fleabag (surely too arrogant to be properly funny, as any of its jokes is about how charismatic and to-be-feared its writer/star Phoebe Waller-Bridge is).

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
THANK YOU

I guess Kay might argue that edge is overrated. Listening to Forever FM, I’m mostly inclined to agree. 

Content from our partners
How industry is key for net zero
How to ensure net zero brings good growth and green jobs
Flooding is a major risk for our homes

Forever FM, Peter Kay’s Car Share

This article appears in the 03 May 2017 issue of the New Statesman, The Russian Revolution