Warning dear reader the following feature contains anecdotes - lots of anecdotes.

But then when you've been given the opportunity of talking to actor, author, ex-MP, broadcaster, and now acclaimed stand-up comedian, Gyles Brandreth, you'd expect nothing less.

It's just I wasn't expecting a raft of stories that would make Baron Munchausen blush.

Our chat included Frinton beach, Bond villains, June Whitfield and a man who wanted to learn about gutting a fish - I kid you not!

We should point out his new show, Break A Leg, is, how it sounds, about the world of theatre.

After a hugely successful five-star-rated run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last year, Gyles is taking the show to venues all across the UK, including two in Essex.

"Do you know something," he begins, "I knew very little about Essex until mid-life and when I brought my musical show, Zipp, to Southend, and I must say it was quite the revelation.

"Essex is portrayed so terribly badly in the media and yet, I discovered to my joy, it is one of the most beautiful counties in England, and I'm not joking. It's coastline is amazing."

So far so good, perfectly sound statement from Mr Brandreth that we can all agree with, but hang on and I must admit some blame here by talking about how Roger Moore was very find of Frinton beach, mainly has his father lived there later in life.

"I first met Roger when I was ten," he quickly interjects. "I was a huge fan of The Saint and got the chance to speak with him on set. Years later I met him again, now all grown up and I told him I had always wanted to go into the movies and he asked whether I could raise my eyebrows.

"While I had no problem raising the left, I just couldn't the right one up, at which point Roger turned around and said 'and that's why you'll only be half the actor I am'."

Break a Leg is Gyles’s riotous celebration of all things theatrical. This is Brandreth unleashed on the stars he’s known and the theatre stories that have made him laugh, and occasionally cry. Without hesitation or repetition (but just a touch of deviation), Just A Minute regular Gyles will be delivering all kinds of stories some of which may or may not include the following.

"I was brought up on the comedy of the Fifties," he continues, "people like June Whitfield, and she features in the show. Before she died she recorded a song for this production so each night she sings to us from heaven, which I think is rather lovely.

"I do love the movies but there is something special about the theatre. It's live, raw and electrifying, you never know what's going to happen.

"Take for example I was in the Isle of Wight for my last tour and I was happily bounding through the second half when this man at the back piped up 'what about the fish' at least that's what I thought he was saying.

"I ignored it for a while before after the fourth or fifth time I stopped the show and asked him what was the matter, and he called out again 'what about the fish'. So I asked him very politely 'what about the fish?' and he replied that while all my anecdotes were reasonably amusing and illuminating, he wanted to know how to gut a herring.

"The audience erupted but I wanted to get to the bottom of it and eventually we all discovered he was actually at the theatre to see Rick Stein. Apparently we look a little like each other, I can't see it myself, and dear old Rick was the following week. I never did discover whether he got the answer to his question."

A former Oxford Scholar, President of the Oxford Union and MP for the City of Chester, Gyles Brandreth’s career has ranged from being a Whip and Lord Commissioner of the Treasury in John Major’s government to starring in his own award-winning musical revue in London’s West End.

A prolific broadcaster, Gyles has appeared on QI, Have I Got News For You, Just A Minute and is a reporter and presenter for The One Show, as well as Dictionary Corner’s most frequent resident on Countdown.

On stage he has appeared most recently in Hamlet and The Importance of Being Earnest and is also the Chancellor of the University of Chester, a columnist for The Oldie and the author of seven Victorian murder mysteries featuring Oscar Wilde as his detective now published in 22 countries around the world.

His latest release is Break a Leg! A Dictionary of Theatrical Quotations (Notting Hill Editions), compiled by his wife Michele Brown and introduced by Gyles, which has been published to coincide with the new show.

He says: "All the stories are my memories but I like picking up other people's as well and after each show I'll be meeting with the audience to hear their anecdotes.

"I'm very much looking forward to it, although if that big movie break comes along, especially a part in the new Bond film, I'd make a good Bond villain, I'm ditching the lot of you."

I'm sure Roger would be very proud.

While Gyles Brandreth show at the Colchester Arts Centre on March 30 is sold out but there are still some tickets left for his show at the Palace Theatre in Southend.

That's takes place on Sunday June 9 5pm. For more details, or to book tickets go to southendtheatres.org.uk or call the box office on 01702 351135.