Peter Kay: How Car Share star ‘ruined acting performances’ for Sian Gibson
11th July 2020

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Peter Kay handpicked Sian Gibson to play his leading lady Kayleigh in the now-award winning BBC sitcom ‘Car Share’. He cast her over actresses, including Sheridan Smith, because he knew the show was guaranteed success if he could capture even a fraction of their friendship. Many fans fell in love with Kayleigh and John’s romance on the small screen, which ended with a hinted relationship between the TV coworkers. But while their bond appeared real on the show, unearthed accounts reveal Sian’s frustration over the star deliberately derailing a number of their early performances together. 

Peter and Sian paths first crossed more than two decades ago as they studied for a HND in Media Performance at the University of Salford.

She claimed they bonded over not taking acting too seriously and having a similar sense of humour. 

The Welsh-born star claimed to have never been an “arty farty” child and had no intention of being a serious performer in theatres, in a 2016 Independent article.

She said: “I always wanted to be an actress. I don’t think I’m ever going to be Judi Dench or anything like that, I just like making people laugh.”

Sian noted that similar trait in Peter, which was highlighted by his savage attempts to make everyone laugh during performances in class. 

One of the most notable moments was when they reenacted the play ‘Elektra’, one of the great Greek tragedies written by Sophocles around 420BC. 

She claimed Peter started to use “an inexplicable Northern Irish accent”, which “brought the house down at a climactic scene”.

With a simple “tut and a roll of his eyes” every member of the cast struggled to contain themselves until the audience suddenly cracked. 

Sian said: “The whole place erupted laughing. Our drama teacher was furious.”

This deliberate attempt to sabotage the performances was relished by some but future comedy co-star – who was in the midst of a serious scene – it was less than amusing. 

Once Sian graduated from university she got an agent and worked as an extra in a number of shows including ‘Peak Practice’, ITV period drama ‘The Grand’ and Channel 4 soap ‘Hollyoaks’.

She said: “I know everyone has a snobbery about things like Hollyoaks, but I just loved it. It’s a job isn’t it? 

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“I could have been doing that or I could have been temping in the Little Chef down the road.”

Eventually she gave up on her acting dreams after never securing her lucky break and instead settled down, got married, had a child, and began work at a call centre.

Sian said: “I was just sick of going to auditions for parts which were three lines. You know, ‘That’s £1.99 please, love’. I’ve got a mortgage to pay. 

“I was doing rubbish jobs and it was soul-destroying. There’s only so long you can go on.

“It had just run its course and I was getting on with my life as it was. I wasn’t waiting for the phone to ring – it had gone past that.”  

Little did she know, years later Peter would call her with an offer that would make her a national star and kickstar her TV career.

‘Car Share’ aired a final audio-only episode earlier this year after three series – it won three National Television Awards and two BAFTAs.

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