Original ‘Phoenix Club’ sign from Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights auctioned for £3k

An unusual piece of comedy history has been sold at auction for GBP3,000. The original sign from the fictitious Phoenix Club – largely the setting of Peter Kay’s award-winning sitcom Phoenix Nights – went under the hammer at an auction house in Leyland, Lancashire, today. The prop was made for the front of the club – which is actually St Gregory’s Social Club on Church Street, Farnworth, Bolton.

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Phoenix Nights itself – which featured the likes of Kay as wheelchair-bound promoter and club owner Brian Potter, comedian Dave Spikey as compere Jerry St.

Clair and Paddy McGuinness as bouncer Paddy – ran for a total of 12 episodes to critical acclaim from 2001. The show was written by Kay together with Spikey and Neil Fitzmaurice, who also started as the club’s handyman and DJ Ray Von. The 460cm-long sign – complete with ‘Smithills’ logo – had a guide price of between GBP3,000 and GBP4,000.

It went under the hammer at Warren and Wignall Auctioneers today and fetched GBP3,000.

The sign at auction

A condition report published on the auction house’s website says of its provenance: “The props from the original series were sold off following the non payment of a storage container. “The sign was purchased by the current vendor from the original buyer of the container, contents which also included Sammy the Snake bouncy castle.” The new buyer wasn’t identified. Phoenix Nights began as a spin-off from the spoof documentary series called That Peter Kay Thing, which aired on Channel 4 in January 1999.

Episode two of That Peter Kay Thing featured a certain Brian Potter, who owned the Neptune Club. The first episode features the opening of the Phoenix Club – which has been rebuilt on the site of The Neptune Club after it burned down – and the final episode shows Brian getting the better of his nemesis, rival club owner Den Perry, The Tony Christie song (Is This The Way To) Amarillo? enjoyed a resurgence in popularity after it featured on the series and Kay later teamed up with the musician to re-record it for Comic Relief.

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