Having started successful chains of care homes and health clubs, Duncan Bannatyne is turning his back on money-making to concentrate on charity work and acting. Business Correspondent Jonathan Jones spoke to him about his future plans.

Self-made millionaire Duncan Bannatyne would appear to have done it all in his business career.

Leaving school at the age of 15, he joined the Navy, before starting his first business as an ice cream man.

Now, after starting a string of successful care homes, eventually sold to a US company, and fitness clubs, he has had enough of making money, and is looking for a fresh challenge.

He hopes that challenge will come from his growing charity work, and on stage and screen as an actor.

He recently paid about £7,000 at a charity auction for a walk-on part in the latest film to be directed by Madonna's husband, Guy Ritchie, the man behind the gangster movie Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

To prepare for the stage, Mr Bannatyne joined the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (Rada) for a summer school. Former pupils include Sir John Gielgud, Lord Richard Attenborough, Kenneth Brannagh, Anthony Hopkins and actress turned MP Glenda Jackson.

Although he is still waiting to make his big screen debut, Mr Bannatyne has already appeared on television as bar owner Ian Thompson, in ITV's Girls' Club screened in July.

He has also filmed a part in School for Seduction, which stars Kelly Brook and Tim Healy and was set in the North-East. The film will premiere at a festival in Milan later this year.

Mr Bannatyne said: "I have come into acting late in my life, and can only hope that it brings me as much satisfaction as the other successful areas of my life.

"Although I appear to have a talent for making money, I've grown bored of it. When I started out in business I didn't have an ambition to be rich, just not to be poor.

"Now I'm comfortable. I have a house worth £1.3m in Darlington, another in France and more than enough money.

"I thrive on challenges and that's what acting gives me, a fresh challenge."

He hopes acting will also give him the chance to extend his charity work, eventually becoming famous enough to encourage people to help the less fortunate.

The father of six, aged between two and 19, who is worth an estimated £115m, has already been made an honorary fellow of the global children's aid agency, Unicef.

Earlier this month he travelled to Malawi, in central Africa, to work with deprived children on behalf of Scottish International Relief (Sir).

His work with Sir has already seen him pledge £100,000 towards the cost of building an orphanage in Romania.

In April he was at the opening of the orphanage.

He said: "The genuine joy they showed to be moving in to the orphanage was extremely touching and I have committed myself to try and improve their lives and give them hope of some kind of future."

Ruth Black, a co-ordinator for the work of Sir, said: "Whenever possible, Sir delivers directly to those in need, using its own lorries to take the aid into refugee camps, hospitals and distribution centres.

"In this way, we ensure our aid reaches those who need it most and that we are delivering exactly the right type of aid.

"Duncan became involved with Sir through our work in Romania.

"He has since become involved in our other projects in Africa, in particular the Mary's Meal project in Malawi, which feeds about 5,000 children every day.

"He recently visited villages around the Malawian capital Lilongwe to see our work in the country, which has been ravaged by famine and Aids.

"Duncan is a very compassionate man.

"He wants to see for himself how he can help people, such as in the children's homes he has helped us to establish in Romania.

"In June, Duncan attended the opening of our second children's home in Romania, named Bannatyne House, in his honour.

"He has already committed money towards the £50,000 annual running costs of that home."

Sir is also involved in Liberia, and intends to extend its sphere of influence to South America with work in Peru later this year.

Mrs Black said: "We fully expect Duncan's involvement with our charity to continue, and we wouldn't be surprised if he joins us on a trip to Peru at some point in the future."