Paddy McGuinness On Northern Humour, Peter Kay, TV Success And Bolton Basics (INTERVIEW)
"I was walking down Oxford Street earlier in London, and I got the sense, if I were to fall down, everyone would just keep walking over me."
So speaks a true northerner, Paddy McGuinness, who reflects on his native land of Bolton:
"There's more humour in the north, probably because there's not so much money, fewer things going on, so the only thing you can do is have a laugh."
And laugh he has, all the way to TV bank. McGuinness has struck comic gold out of his dour Northern humour, from his days of stand-up, through the career-defining Phoenix Nights alongside his great pal Peter Kay, through to primetime small screen entertainment with Take Me Out and 71 Degrees North. According to the humble McGuiness, it's all been one stroke of luck after another:
"I did loads of jobs all the way through college, just for a bit of money in my pocket. There were some tough jobs, but I was lucky enough I enjoyed doing them. It was okay.
"I was working, and we did Phoenix Nights, and then I carried on working and we did another series, back to work again, and then it was only when (spin-off series) Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere came on I decided to quit my job and make a go of it, and touch wood, it's worked out."
The one thing that does sound genuinely 'lucky' in this played-down tale of hard work and talent is McGuinness's enduring friendship with Peter Kay:
"I'm great mates with Peter, and when we're together on our own, we always have a good laugh. Those two characters are a bit like us, just ramped up 500%. It was how our relationship used to be years ago, but we totally lampooned it. We had a lot of fun writing and doing
it. I have very sweet memories of it. It's ten years ago now - where does the time go?"
In that decade, McGuinness has climbed up the ladder of primetime TV, most recently with dating show Take Me Out and arctic reality show 71 Degrees North. Where does stand-up feature now in his canon?
"Stand-up was the first thing I did in this world, and I've just finished the tour. I love being on stage and getting instant audience feedback, but it is a very stressful game, nerve-wracking, and takes a lot out of you, TV is a lot more relaxing.
"I don't think it's necessary to do stand-up to be a presenter, but I like it, because it keeps me sharp, especially when something like Take Me Out is 80% is ad-libbed, so that works for me. And on 71 Degrees North, you've got to see the funny side especially after a month out there at -35 degrees."
If McGuinness appears to have taken London when it comes to telly slots, the newly-married presenter is only too happy to hand it back and skip up back to Bolton:
"I don't do the show business lifestyle, you'll never see me rolling out of parties with a goody bag in my hand. My night out is a night in, with friends round for dinner."
And what keeps him down to earth? "Friends and family. I feel lucky in this job, I still can't believe what I'm doing, even these interviews...
my life back home is exactly what is was ten years ago. I go home, play football. Apart from stopping for autographs or photos, it's pretty much the same. When it comes to cashing in, we've been looking at conservatories for the back of the house - does that count?"
Paddy McGuinness's Saturday Night Live is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD