HE may be a veteran of stage and screen, but Robin Askwith confesses to being racked with nerves whenever he delivers one of his acclaimed one-man shows.

The actor, most famous for his role as Timothy Lea in the bawdy Confessions series of the 1970s, has embarked on a 10-date national tour.

Askwith was such a success when he appeared at Darlington Film Club last year that organisers have invited him back – and he has no fears about returning to the venue where he was so warmly received last time.

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He may be best known for his roles in those fondly remembered sex comedies, but he has a string of film, stage and TV credits to his name – including a Carry On Film, appearances in Eastenders and Coronation Street and, most recently, the sitcom Benidorm.

Last year the film club showed Confessions of a Window Cleaner, after which Askwith entertained the audience with his high energy stage show, romping through anecdotes about the film, his life and his career.

This time the club is screening Horror Hospital, made in 1973 and which has since acquired cult status.

The comedy-horror was written and director Antony Balch – described by Askwith as “an extraordinary man" – who intended it to be an affectionate send-up of Bela Lugosi/Boris Karloff movies.

Askwith said his shows, organised by the Misty Moon Film Society, are "nerve-racking and exhausting" for him. He does plan them in advance, but he enjoys interacting with the audience and, as a result, around 20 per cent of what happens on stage is unrehearsed.

“Every one of my shows is completely individual," he said. "I try to tailor each one to the venue, rather than just stand up and waffle.

“It does have structure, perhaps a little bit more than I pretend it is, but I do go off on tangents and really I just hope for the best – last year in Darlington, for example, I ended up doing a Mick Jagger impression. I'm not sure how that happened.”

Askwith takes inspiration from his friend, comedian Billy Connolly – “the master of streams of consciousness” – drawing from a “filing cabinet in his head” for his wealth of material.

“What I do not really stand up,” he said. "Mind you, I don’t know what it is. They’re stories of their time and they’re very personal, whereas stand up is more of a series of set pieces.”

The actor described Horror Hospital as "a curio" and "very camp" – and ripe for some of his suggestive tales. It was his own idea to screen it for the Darlington date.

Labelled "bonkers" by one reviewer, the film features Michael Gough as a wheelchair-bound doctor whose health farm is a front for lobotomy experiments on wayward hippies.

Askwith describes the film as "a curio" and says it is "very camp" – ripe material for some suggestive tales.

“It’s one of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite films," he said. "I do have a very funny Tarantino story and I’ll absolutely tell it on the night – but I don’t want to give too much away now.”

  • Horror Hospital, featuring Robin Askwith, will be screened at The Forum on Borough Road, Darlington, on Monday, July 10 at 7pm. Tickets are £10, more details from 01325-363135 or email info@theforumonline.co.uk.