Fans were disappointed to learn that Robbie Williams would no longer be taking part as a guest judge on BBC1 talent show Let it Shine last night, after the singer apparently suffered a back injury (though he was still able to perform with old bandmates Take That).
Still, it turned out his replacement – comedian Peter Kay – was a more than adequate stand-in, with the Phoenix Nights creator playing an enjoyably anarchic role in proceedings. Starting by turning up dressed as Honey G…
Yes, you read that right – perhaps playing on the oft-told jokes last year that the divisive X Factor rapper was a character played by him, the self-proclaimed “Honey P” took to the stage in full tracksuited regalia, before joining the panel alongside Gary Barlow, Dannii Minogue and Martin Kemp.
“I’m standing in for Robbie, who’s hurt his back, but he’ll be back singing and dancing later,” Kay opened, addressing the confusing state of events – and his mickey-taking didn’t stop there.
In fact, Kay spent the entire night “collecting for Robbie’s trip to Lourdes,” leaning into Gary Barlow’s camera shots while holding notes, suggesting the bands get into scaffolding and referencing rival TV talent shows like The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, with the live broadcast of the final allowing him more freedom to go off-message than a pre-recorded episode.
“Where’s my golden buzzer?” he asked after one performance to reference Britain’s Got Talent. “Get it pressed.”
“It’s gone to deadlock,” he later added once all the bands had performed (referencing The X Factor).
Later, he suggested that if bands “play their cards right” they could have a guest role on Holby City – just like fellow BBC1 talent show winner Lee Mead (who triumphed in Any Dream Will Do), who currently appears in the hospital series.
And even the return of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway didn’t avoid a sly reference, with Kay telling one act their performance was “worth missing Ant and Dec for.”
He added: Good thing I’ve got it on series link!”
Unsurprisingly, many viewers were tickled by Kay’s antics, with some even suggesting that his offbeat joking around had actually livened up the format.
Peter Kay dressed as Honey P is the best thing. #letitshine
— Jules ????☕️ (@mejuliejules) February 25, 2017
— Daniel Kraemer (@dcakraemer) February 25, 2017
Honey G suddenly a whole lot more entertaining played by Peter Kay ???????? #LetitShine
— Henry Gallagher (@HenryGallagherx) February 25, 2017
— Back the BBC ???????????????? (@back_the_BBC) February 25, 2017
— MR SUPERPIDGE (@superpidge) February 26, 2017
— Sarah Doran (@sarahisnothere) February 25, 2017
— naomi☾⁷ (@justnaomiyeh) February 25, 2017
— Sam Harper Ard (@HarperArd) February 25, 2017
Though of course, not everybody was a fan…
#LetItShine please make peter Kay stop! He's ruining weeks of lovely viewing
— ⭐️ Megan Johnson ???????????????????????????? (@starburst_mg) February 25, 2017
Awkward & uncomfortable having Peter Kay as a judge on #LetItShine – boys careers and dreams are on the line, not exactly a time for jokes?
— Charly Baxter (@charlybaxter) February 25, 2017
Still, overall we’d say Honey P was a big hit. And who knows? If Let it Shine gets another series, perhaps the ever-popular Kay could even find his way to a permanent slot on the judging panel.
Assuming, of course, the BBC execs have recovered from last night’s performance by then…