Peter Kay’s Car Share isn’t a musical, but it’s half way there. In every episode, John (played by Kay) and Kayleigh (Sian Gibson) commute to work, listening to Forever FM, playing “timeless hits, now and forever”.
Its playlist (62 songs over the six episodes of the first series, which Radio Times has analysed) was meticulously chosen by writers and old friends Kay and Gibson, who met 23 years ago at the University of Salford where they both studied drama.
“We did spend a lot of time selecting the music,” says Kay, “probably more than writing!” “It was the most enjoyable part. We spent ages going through the music and reminiscing,” explains Gibson. “We both have the same taste.”
“No we don’t!” Kay interjects. “We do mostly,” smiles Gibson. It seems life imitates art.
John and Kayleigh’s bickering about music defines their relationship, from their favourite albums (Rumours by Fleetwood Mac for John, Now 48 for Kayleigh) to the songs they want at their funeral (Kayleigh wants someone “to read the words to S Club 7’s Reach”, whereas John wants “Kenny G or a bit of Enya”).
Similarly, Kay and Gibson are not going to be swapping iPods any time soon. “She always says if I was any more middle of the road I’d get knocked down,” Kay jokes.
Carefully curated soundtracks aren’t rare on television these days, but one of the differences between Car Share and, say, Peaky Blinders is its love of “guilty pleasures” or… well, rubbish. From MMMbop by Hanson to Blue and B*Witched, you’re not going to be buying this on vinyl.
Most of Forever FM’s output is pop from the late 1980s, but this nostalgia is the driving force behind one of TV’s great will they/ won’t they couples – or “the modern-day Terry and June” as Kay refers to them.
John and Kayleigh talk almost entirely in musical references, from her “Carol Decker” hairdo to his encyclopaedic knowledge of Enya. The pair sing along to the songs on Forever, and it feels natural when we dive into their imaginations to watch them star in their own music videos.
The last series saw Kayleigh dress up as Anastasia and Cindy Lauper although, “Rush Hour by Jane Wiedlin would be my favourite, as we were in the video together,” says Kay.
Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), Beyoncé, 2008
Martika’s Kitchen, Martika, 1991
Call Me, Spagna, 1987
I Love to Love, Tina Charles, 1993
When We Are Together, Texas, 1999
Losing My Religion, REM, 1991
C’est La Vie, B*Witched, 1998
A Little Respect, Erasure, 1988
I’m Outta Love, Anastacia, 2000
Every Day Hurts, Sad Café, 1979
Birdhouse in Your Soul ,They Might Be Giants, 1990
Ignition, R Kelly, 2003
Turn Back the Clock, Johnny Hates Jazz, 1988
Ordinary World, Duran Duran, 1993
Inside, Stiltskin, 1994
All Rise, Blue, 2001
A Thousand Miles, Vaness Carlton, 2001
True Colors, Cyndi Lauper, 1986
I Love the Nightlife, Alicia Bridges, 1978
Gloria Laura Branigan, 1982
I Believe in You, Kylie Minogue, 2007
Can You Dig It, The Mock Turtles, 1991
Xanadu, Olivia Newton- John, 1980
How Will I Know, Whitney Houston, 1985
Here Comes the Hotstepper, Ini Kamoze, 1994
I Wanna Sex You Up, Color Me Badd, 1991
The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Prefab Sprout, 1988
Waiting for a Star to Fall, Boy Meets Girl, 1988
Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want, The Smiths, 1986
Keep On Movin, Five, 1999
Mmmbop, Hanson, 1997
Bump N’ Grind, R. Kelly 1994
How Bizarre, OMC,1996
If Only I Could, Sydney Youngblood, 1989
Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Tears for Fears, 1985
Love Shack, The B52s, 1989
Cherish, Madonna, 1989
When Smokey Sings, ABC, 1987
Put Yourself in My Place, Kylie Minogue, 1994
New Sensation, INXS, 1987
Have a Nice Day, Stereophonics, 2001
Hero, Enrique Iglesias, 2001
Picture of You, Boyzone, 1996
Devil Woman, Cliff Richard, 1983
Drive, The Cars, 1984
I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), Aretha Franklin, 1987
Somewhere in My Heart, Aztec Camera, 1987
This Time I Know It’s for Real, Donna Summer, 1989
A Thing Called Love, Johnny Cash, 1971
Valerie, Steve Winwood, 1982
Cry for Help, Rick Astley, 1991
Don’t Talk Just Kiss (feat. Jocelyn Brown), Right Said Fred, 1991
Love Plus One, Haircut One Hundred, 1982
Ebony & Ivory, Paul McCartney, 1982
I Love Rock ‘n Roll, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, 1981