‘Amarillo’ suit heads to Showtown
The famous purple suit worn by comedian Peter Kay in the video for the 2005 Comic Relief single ‘(Is this the way to) Amarillo’ has been acquired by Showtown, the new museum of fun and entertainment coming to Blackpool.
Thanks to a grant from the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund to Blackpool Council, who is developing Showtown, this important item of comedy history will now be preserved in the resort – the home of British popular entertainment. It will go on display when Showtown opens in 2022.
After wearing the suit in the video for the charity re-release of Tony Christie’s ‘(Is this the way to) Amarillo’, it was sold in 2005 to raise funds for Bolton Hospice.
The suit remained in private hands and was then put up for sale earlier this year. Keen to secure it, and having got the suit verified by Peter Kay himself, the museum’s curator applied to the fund and received the news in October.
Showtown Curator, Emma Heslewood, said: “We were overjoyed to get the backing of the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund to enable us to bring the suit to Blackpool.
“Peter Kay never fails to make the nation laugh and his connection to Blackpool is significant. As the first museum of fun and entertainment securing the suit, the most recognisable outfit associated with Peter Kay, is a dream come true.”
Collecting the suit in 2020 made it even more special. Emma said: “A new version of the ‘Amarillo’ video was shown on 23 April 2020 for the BBC’s Big Night In.
“New sections featuring key workers and the general public miming to the song were added alongside the famous walking scenes with Peter Kay and a host of stars. This introduced the song and the suit to a new generation of viewers.
“Museums all across the country are documenting the pandemic and this suit is definitely now part of the story of 2020.”
Cllr Gillian Campbell, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Tourism and Culture, said: “Securing this grant is great news and adds to the support we have already received from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to develop Blackpool’s collections.
“We can now feature Peter Kay’s suit alongside other iconic, fun, and inspiring exhibits that celebrate British popular entertainment and Blackpool’s story.”
Michael Williams, Managing Director of the Winter Gardens, said: “I am delighted to hear that Peter Kay’s iconic purple suit is going to feature in Showtown – Blackpool’s new museum.
“Peter Kay’s connection to Blackpool goes back over 20 years including switching on the Illuminations in 2014.
“The Winter Gardens is a key part of his Blackpool story, his Mum wants a Bungalow Tour did 89 dates including 12 sell out nights at the Blackpool Opera House in 2002 and 2003. Then in 2009 he was the host of the Royal Variety Performance.
“He still regularly visits the Opera House for special charity events and so it’s fitting that his achievements as a comedian are celebrated here.”
Photo Copyright: Scott Wishart