List of Phoenix Nights characters

This is a list of characters in Phoenix Nights.

Brian Potter

Played by Peter Kay, Potter (nicknamed Ironside by others) is the club's owner and licensee of the Phoenix Club. After an accident involving a fruit machine, he began using a wheelchair. He is known for taking the easy option, his stingy nature with money, and general hostility towards his staff. His trademarks include picking his nose, drinking spirits from a tall vase (which allows him to reach the spirit optic) and his brown cardigan.

Potter's first appearance in That Peter Kay Thing (during the episode 'In The Club') expanded on his past. Before the Phoenix, he managed three other clubs, two of which burned down while the other flooded. During the flooding, Potter (during a misguided attempt to save the night's takings) found himself pinned against the wall by a fruit machine which apparently paralysed him. The club he managed immediately before the Phoenix was called the Neptune. His attempt to rewire old Christmas lights instead of buying new ones backfired, and the resulting short-circuit saw the Neptune burn to the ground. As firefighters tried to put out the blaze, Potter was seen getting out of his wheelchair and walking, suggesting he may have been cheating to obtain sympathy and benefits. This was later described by Peter Kay as a mistake, and later episodes of Phoenix Nights suggest the paralysis was genuine.

The first series of Phoenix Nights showed Potter struggling to get the club going after its grand opening, following the burning down of the Neptune. His biggest desire is to earn the right to host the finals of local club competition 'Talent Trek', (which he manages to get after falsely claiming that Jerry was dying). Despite many mishaps (which include hiring a Das Boot German-speaking fruit machine, booking a racist band for the grand opening, getting a horse drunk during a western night and hiring a psychic who insulted the audience), the Phoenix did indeed become successful, only for local rival Den Perry to drop a cigar into a waste bin. The resulting fire burnt out the majority of the club, thanks in part to Brian not putting batteries in the smoke alarms.

The second series concerns Brian trying to get back on his feet following the fire, only for him to be blacklisted by the brewery as well as getting his alcohol licence revoked. Eventually he worked out a way to get around his licence ban, by appointing Jerry as licensee (knowing he could be easily manipulated) while buying alcohol wholesale to serve to customers. Despite the usual blunders, the Phoenix once again thrived under pressure.

Like many of Peter Kay's main characters, Potter is often cast in an unsympathetic light. He is extremely stingy with money, refusing to take out any kind of insurance on the club or follow basic fire safety procedures. Although he does care about his staff, he doesn't think twice before using them to get what he wants, as his ultimate ambition is to see the Phoenix thrive. He also doesn't hesitate to sack Les and Alan when they are unable to act as backing band during Talent Trek (although they quickly get their jobs back when their replacements, local tribute band Right Said Frank, were caught breaking into cars during the show). When Max and Paddy returned from France with two Chinese immigrants who had stowed away in their lorry, rather than report them, Brian immediately put them to work in the kitchen. He is also willing to resort to bribery and blackmail, as he did to ensure Keith Lard gave the club a glowing review by threatening to show a manipulated picture supposedly of Keith naked with an Alsatian (knowing Keith's penchant for bestiality would ensure the picture would be believed).

In the post-credits scene of In The Club, it was revealed during a trailer for the (fake) following episode that Potter could actually walk. Although Kay admitted in the commentary that this was a mistake, the first series of Phoenix Nights did have a couple of minor hints that Potter was faking his disability (for instance, in the first episode he moves from his shop mobility to his wheelchair off-screen in a matter of seconds with no assistance). He was also being investigated by the Department of Social Security for possible benefit fraud. However, in the second series Potter was trapped on his stair lift for several hours after a power cut (during which it is implied he soiled himself), eventually having to be rescued by Jerry, seemingly proving his paralysis was genuine.

Jerry 'The Saint' St.Clair/Dignan

Played by Dave Spikey, Jerry Dignan is the club's compere and (in the second series) the club's licensee. He uses the stage name, "Jerry St. Clair", both on and off the stage, although Brian Potter is occasionally known to refer to him by his real name. Jerry is the fall guy of the programme, receiving more than his fair share of bad luck including scalding, cancer scares and speeding fines. He suffered from illness in the first series and became addicted to herbal medication in series two. He takes great pride in organising the bingo, and his "Free & Easy" night at the club, both of which are popular with the local pensioners, as is his singing act in conjunction with Les Alanos, the club's in-house band. A recurring joke in the show is Jerry singing "easy listening", pensioner-friendly versions of recent chart hits. Although Jerry is arguably the closest the show has to a 'straight man', he is also prone to blunders. These include booking acts on the recommendation of rival club owner Den Perry, and an incident in which he got high on a mixture of herbal medication and alcohol, resulting in him losing control during a "Free & Easy" and urinating on the bar dressed as a woman before fainting.

When Brian loses his licence to run the club in series 2, Jerry takes a job at Asda singing songs such as "Black Binbags" (based on "Forget Me Nots" by Patrice Rushen) and "Corned Beef" (based on "Call Me" by Petula Clark) to make money. Jerry is then unwittingly talked into becoming the "puppet" licensee, which is in truth a cover for Brian to run the club.

Jerry is frequently seen chauffeuring Brian Potter to and from the club as well as to meetings in his Rover 800. He receives a driving fine after evading the police when pursued for speeding following Brian's encouragement to return to the club quickly to cover up lax fire safety precautions.

Ray Von

Played by Neil Fitzmaurice, Ray is a former fairground gypsy and the club's general handyman and DJ. His name – possibly a stage name – is a play on "Rave On!". He is one of the 'backbone' characters within the club and something of a standout among the hangers-on with his hard work and common sense.

Ray first starred in series one after he helped keep the club open following a power cut by rigging the electrics up to a street lamp. He is recognisable by his 1980s clothing and mullet hairstyle, and noted for his habit of calling out "Shabba!" as a catchphrase when DJing – no matter how inappropriate this is to the song.

He was the subject of a prank played on Brian Potter by Les and Alan (the club's backing musicians), who told Potter that Ray Von had spent time in prison for killing his girlfriend, Tracy Burns. Potter fell for the story, even though it was totally out of character for Ray's easy-going, cool nature. Duped, Potter was fearful of Ray until, to his great relief, he met Tracy in person in the club.

Potter referred to Ray as "The Yorkshire Rapper".

Patrick 'Paddy' O'Shea

Played by Paddy McGuinness, Paddy is one half of the club's doorstaff. Known for his 'cheeky chappie' image, his sex-obsessed attitude and gullible persona, Paddy tends to be quite successful with girls, unlike colleague Max. In the first series, due to some cruel remarks from other members of staff (especially Max), he was paranoid about his hair, believing he was starting to go bald (though he seemingly has a full head of hair).

Maxwell 'Max' Bygraves

Played by Peter Kay, Max is the other half of the doorstaff. Known for his no-nonsense approach he claims to be a serious bouncer and a bit of a hard-man, which in reality is far from the truth. He also claims to have had more life experience than he has actually had; for example, he claims to have had a stint in the army. In series two he was (unsuccessfully) employed as a hitman.

Kenny 'Dalglish' Senior

Played by Archie Kelly, Kenny Senior (not to be confused with the footballer Kenny Dalglish) is Bolton's biggest liar. Most of his statements are either vastly exaggerated or complete lies, he is something of a Walter Mitty. According to him, amongst other things he has played swingball in Pwllheli with Robert De Niro, slept with Bonnie Langford, appeared on Centre Court at Wimbledon despite being unseeded, and got Jackie Chan a price for some paint. However, there is some ambiguity about whether all of his claims are false; for example, when he claimed to have been a firefighter in Mexico, fire warden Keith Lard challenged him to speak Spanish to prove it, and Kenny did in fact speak fluent Spanish. His role within the club is unclear; however, in the first episode in series 1, he is seen on the roof, getting the lights ready, and he also sits on the club's committee.

Les Campbell

Les (played by Toby Foster) forms one half of the club's backing band, Les Alanos (whose name they explain comes from the two members – "Les, Alan: us"). The resident keyboardist and drummer, he is looking for a way into the entertainment business. From playing at the Phoenix Club, to staging a play with Alan and the local youth group (based on The Karate Kid), Les strives to make it in the business.

Alan Johnson

Alan (played by Steve Edge) is the other half of Les Alanos, the resident organ player. Quieter than Les, he is somewhat the "sidekick" of the duo. He mixes his musical work with a job as a lorry driver for haulage company Sweet Truck Haul, meaning he has to travel to places such as Stranraer, much to Brian's annoyance. It is unclear what Alan's surname is. During the first series, he is referred to as Alan Johnson; however, in the second series, on a poster for Les and Alan's production of The Karate Kid, he is listed as 'Alan Dalton'.

In the pilot episode ("In The Club", which debuted on "The Peter Kay Thing") Paddy O'Shea claims to have slept with Alan's wife, Debra. In a later episode of "The Peter Kay Thing" ("The Ice Cream Man Cometh") Alan is seen trying to purchase pornography from his local ice cream man, "Mr Softy Top". Alan explains to Mr Softy Top that he had left his wife after finding out she was having an affair with Paddy, as well as with several other men.

In That Peter Kay Thing he was played by Mark Jackson. However, in "That Peter Kay Thing", Steve Edge does appear as a different character called Alan.

Young Kenny

Young Kenny (played by Justin Moorhouse) is a quietly spoken handyman at the club. Not seen as the sharpest knife in the drawer, he frequently misunderstands questions posed by other characters, or makes completely irrelevant diversions in the middle of conversations. He is a supporter of Manchester City, and is always seen wearing the club's shirt. From episode 8 onwards his face is permanently made up to look like a tiger, the result of a botched face-painting job at Brian's family fun day.

Holy Mary

Holy Mary (played by Janice Connolly) is a cleaner and member of the bar staff at the club. A devout Catholic, her kindly, hardworking nature makes her a popular addition to the club. She is often seen wearing a sky-blue Princess Diana sweatshirt. Her daughter, also named Mary (played by Sian Foulkes), a part-time worker at the club, is dating ladies-man club bouncer Paddy, something Holy Mary is not too happy about, although she puts on a brave face about it. She has an unseen son, Joseph, who is studying woodwork.


Spencer (played by Daniel Kitson) is one of the bar staff at the club, whose previous bar experience includes watching the film Cocktail six times. A likable but naive young man, Spencer's first appearance in the series was as the club's DJ, before quitting after a short, disastrous spell and being replaced as DJ by Ray Von. Spencer then returned to the club as an actor, in Les and Alan's musical production of "The Karate Kid". Finally, despite not impressing at the interview, he was hired by Jerry St.Clair as a barman after revealing that his wages will be paid by the DSS.

Den Perry

Den Perry (played by Ted Robbins) is the owner of rival club "The Banana Grove", and is the 'bad guy' of the series. He prides himself on running the best social club in Bolton, and ruthlessly finds ways of sabotaging the Phoenix Club. At the end of series one, he sets fire to the club by throwing his cigar into a paper towel bin. Like all bad guys, though, he eventually gets his comeuppance. It is unclear what Perry's full first name is, since Brian Potter refers to him as both Dennis and Denzel.

Tracey Burns

Tracey Burns (played by Sally Lindsay) is a minor character and a former winner of "Junior Talent Trek". The members of the Phoenix Club's backing band, Les and Alan, tell Brian Potter she was murdered by her boyfriend, Ray Von. However, their deception is revealed when Tracy turns up with Ray at the club's "Singles Night", much to Brian Potter's amazement.

Ant and Dec

Ant and Dec (played by Julian Sua and Wai Kee Chan) are two illegal immigrants from Asia, who appear in the second series. They are unwittingly smuggled into the country by Max and Paddy, who are returning to Bolton after a 'booze cruise' from Calais. Despite being illegal immigrants, and being unable to speak a word of English, Brian Potter's thrifty ways soon sees them being employed as chefs at the club. Potter also christens them Ant & Dec (after the famous Geordie duo). Their cheerful nature and cooking skill (after learning not to stir fry chips), makes them a success.

Other characters

Keith Lard is portrayed as an overzealous jobsworth who takes immense pride in his work raising awareness of fire safety through training seminars and safety inspections. He despises people's apathy and seemingly ignorant attitude toward fire safety, often scaring his bored audience with an air horn. He was accused numerous times of interfering with dogs, but was acquitted.
Dodgy Eric appears in episode 2 of both series 1 and series 2. In series 1, Eric sells a bucking bronco to Brian Potter as a replacement for a faulty snooker table. In series 2, Eric brings Brian an inflatable bouncy castle, which appears to be shaped like an erect penis when inflated, but is disguised as a snake by Eric.
  • Marion – Beatrice Kelley Marion is a barmaid and chef at The Phoenix Club. She is replaced by Joyce in series 2. She is good friends with Holy Mary, and they are usually seen gossiping. Marion is a hard working member of staff who the customers like.
  • Joyce – Enid Dunn
  • Beverley – Jo Enright
  • Crimetime Host – Stuart Maconie
  • Gavin 'The Captain' Gladstone (played by Ced Beaumont) is a former doorman to the club, who is known to have charged people 20p to get into the club. He only had one eye, the other having been blown out in the Normandy D-Day invasion. He died of an asthma attack in episode two of series one, following the malfunction of a smoke machine.
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