John returns to his roots

Undated UKTV Handout Photo from Legends Of Stand-Up And Bernard Righton. Pictured: John Thomson as Bernard Righton. See PA Feature TV Thomson. Picture Credit should read: PA Photo/UKTV/Des Willie. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature TV Thomson. WARNING: The is photograph is the copyright of UKTV and can only be used for UKTV editorial use only.

Undated UKTV Handout Photo from Legends Of Stand-Up And Bernard Righton. Pictured: John Thomson as Bernard Righton. See PA Feature TV Thomson. Picture Credit should read: PA Photo/UKTV/Des Willie. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature TV Thomson. WARNING: The is photograph is the copyright of UKTV and can only be used for UKTV editorial use only.

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It seems the Nineties are enjoying something of a renaissance on screens. Shane Meadows has been revisiting the dawn of the decade in This Is England ‘90, Danny Boyle has confirmed the Trainspotting crew will be reuniting for a sequel, and a pop-up exhibition of the iconic Friends set proved a huge hit recently.

Now there are rumours that the cast of much-loved late-Nineties series Cold Feet - which includes James Nesbitt, Hermione Norris and Fay Ripley - will be reprising their roles.

“It’s not 100 per cent lit, it’s subject to contract,” reveals John Thomson, who played Pete Gifford in the seminal show. “It might start next year. I’s likely, but the deals aren’t done.”

The 46-year-old, who lives in Manchester, says he “would love to do it” - “I’m genuinely excited if it goes again, because it’s probably the best thing I’ve done” - but in the meantime new Gold series, Legends Of Stand-Up And Bernard Righton, has been keeping him busy.

In the five-parter (a sixth programme will air at Christmas), Thomson appears as his stand-up alter ego, the ‘legendary club comedian’ Bernard Righton, to compere programmes celebrating the world’s greatest comedians.

The character - which was created around 1990 when Thomson and fellow funny man Steve Coogan were at Manchester Polytechnic (now Manchester Metropolitan University) together - is based on a politically correct version of the late comedian Bernard Manning.

“Imagine if he’d seen the light and he wasn’t offensive any more?” explains Thomson, who was born in Salford and used to work in one of the working men’s clubs where many comedians of Manning’s generation honed their craft.

Describing his own stand-up style as “a bit pick and mix”, Thomson recalls how a five-minute stint as Bernard Righton prompted the audience to start chanting, ‘Bernard! Bernard!’

“It really took off, and I thought, ‘I’m missing a trick here’. So I knuckled down, wrote a set, got the costumes and that’s how he started.”

The character appeared as a compere in Coogan’s live show, and the pair won the Perrier Comedy Award at Edinburgh in 1992.

The funny man, who’s contributed to the likes of Spitting Image and The Fast Show, reveals he never intended to become a comedian, and only did stand-up to get his equity card.

“I wanted to be an actor, but they’ve [comedy and acting] worked beautifully hand-in-hand.