What inspired you to become an actor?
"At school I wasn't a very bright lad. I was also rather shy but was forced by the headmaster to be in the school play. To my surprise I found I enjoyed it. Making the other kids and the audience laugh was a revelation to me. So I joined an amateur theatre group and the rest is history as they say."
How did you get the part of Granville in Open All Hours?
"I had been working with Ronnie Barker on Porridge and he asked if I'd like to be in a new series he was involved in. He sent me the script for Open All Hours, and told him I loved it. He said if I wanted to be in it and play Granville, the part was mine. And that was that!"
Where did the character of Del Boy come from?
"I was an electrician before I became an actor and worked with a wonderful man from east London. He was always immaculate, smartly dressed, and hugely charismatic. A real force of nature! So when I was putting together Derek Trotter, I thought of him and emulated some of his memorable characteristics."
Who has influenced you the most over the years?
"Well apart from Ronnie Barker I have always been a great fan of old silent movies. So Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy have also been two big influences on me. But Ronnie Barker was always the great mentor and teacher. I learnt a lot by working with him."
What was it like becoming a father so late in life?
"I suppose it's the same as being a father at any time: earth-shattering! It was an amazing experience. I no longer want to stay away from home or travel as much because I'd rather be at home watching my daughter grow up. After all, it's always wonderful to watch children develop, and see just how much they take after you."
How did it feel to win the British Comedy Lifetime Achievement award?
"Well, the most rewarding thing is knowing the work that makes you laugh reaches across to an audience and makes them laugh as well. That's what we performers are doing it for, to entertain people, not to get ourselves prizes. But if they do come along then it's a very nice cherry on top of the cake."