Peter Kay has appeared on stage for the first time since cancelling all future work projects, including his stand-up tour, for family reasons.
The comedian greeted almost 3,000 fans at Blackpool Opera House, during the last of three charity screenings of his BBC comedy Car Share.
The 44-year-old thanked the audience for coming to see the special finale of the sitcom plus an improvised episode.
The episodes were filmed before Kay’s announcement last December.
The second series of the Bafta-winning Car Share ended on an emotional cliffhanger in 2017 when Kay’s character John failed to reciprocate the advances of his car share colleague Kayleigh, played by Sian Gibson.
The final show reveals what happens between John and Kayleigh and will be aired by the BBC in May.
The opera house event was held to raise money for The Lily Foundation, which treats children with mitochondrial disease.
In footage of Kay’s brief appearance posted on Twitter, the Phoenix Nights star thanked people for supporting the charity before saying: “Enjoy the last ever episode of Car Share. Don’t tell anyone the end. Or tell anyone about any hedgehogs.”
And bowing as he left the stage, he added: “So thank you. Lots of love, enjoy, take care, bye-bye.”
Writing on Twitter, fans at the screening said it was “great” and “amazing” to see Kay, while praising the Car Share episode as “fantastic”.
@senttocoventry said: “Absolutely insanely brilliant final episode (my lips are sealed) and an appearance on stage by @peterkay_co_uk too! Oh what a night!”
“Absolutely loved it and the man himself stepping on stage abs blew us away,” wrote @karenhenrys.
Casey Hollis said the shows were “one of the funniest things I have ever seen”.
Kay had been due to start his first tour in eight years this month, but announced in December that he was pulling out of all commitments “due to unforeseen family circumstances”.
“This decision has not been taken lightly and I’m sure you’ll understand my family must always come first,” he wrote on Twitter.
Kay currently holds the record for the biggest-selling comedy tour of all time after playing to 1.2 million people in 2010 and 2011.
The (spoiler-free) review by entertainment reporter Ian Youngs
What can I say about the finale that doesn’t give too much away? John and Kayleigh are in it. As are Take That, Guy Garvey (again) and a hedgehog. It takes place the day after the final episode of the second series.
It’s poignant and it’s very, very funny. A bit near the end (the hedgehog bit) is up there with the monkey scene in the last series.
To find out more, you’ll have to wait.
The lucky fans at the Opera House also saw the new unscripted episode, which is a bit more rambling, but still hilarious – and proves what naturally funny people Peter Kay and Sian Gibson are – and what rapport they have.