WHEN I telephone Peter Sallis for our interview it's not so much a case of the wrong trousers as no trousers at all.

The voice of Wallace from Nick Park's Oscar winning Wallace and Grommit TV films tells me hasn't got any trousers on. "I'm in a mess and I'm halfway through my breakfast," admits the 86-year-old star of stage and screen.

Is he eating cheese for breakfast?

"No. I don't eat it at all. I'm not against it, I used to be very fond of dolcelatte until I heard how bad it was for you. I guess I'm anti-cholesterol. Oh dear that sounds a bit like a windscreen cleaner."

So when did his career as a voice-over for a clay model all begin? "I first met Nick Park when he was a student in Beaconsfield," says Peter. "He was preparing this cartoon film and I liked him enormously. That was in 1983. He was shy and diffident but full of ideas. I think of him as a mini genius. His cartoons are masterpieces."

Given his stellar career of which the Oscar-winning Wallace is only a part, I feel Peter has won the right to make a mess in his own home. Living with macular disintegration might have induced lesser men to retire, but not Peter. He is as busy as ever and was recently seen in the ITV drama Belonging with Blenda Blethyn, Kevin Whateley and Anna Massey. He has also guested on BBC's Doctors and recently completed a cameo role in the feature film Colour Me Kubrick starring John Malkovich. He is still filming Last Of The Summer Wine, the series that made him a household name, and has just published his autobiography Fading Into The Limelight.

Peter Sallis' long and distinguished career began as an amateur in The Little Theatre while stationed at RAF Cranwell during World War Two. He went on to train at RADA and made his West End debut at The Arts Theatre, London in Sheridan's The Scheming Lieutenant in 1946. Other West End appearances followed, including Orson Welles' production of Moby Dick, Look After Lulu with Vivien Leigh and Rhinoceros with Laurence Olivier. He also spent two seasons at the Lyric, Hammersmith: with John Gielgud in 1953 and The Fifty Nine Theatre Company in 1959. "I've been very lucky," says Peter. "I've worked with every leading member of the profession except Michael Redgrave."

His forthcoming An Audience With... appearance at The Radlett Centre will touch upon the choicest snippets from the book. Peter tells me he lived in Potters Bar for six years before he divorced and has good memories of Hertfordshire. "It's a marvellous county. We even had a little cottage in Thaxted."

So who will he be talking about on the night?

"Orson Welles always draws the public interest, but he was no better than anyone else," says Peter drily. "John Gielgud was a personal favourite because he was such a stickler for the truth. When he saw me outside the Strand Theatre with Honor Blackman when we were in Wait Until Dark he said hello and asked me what I was doing and I said, I'm in this'. He said, Ah, ah, I hear the girl is very good'. I could have been playing the butler for all he knew. "Gielgud was such a bad director. I got away with murder, which is why I got the sack. It was for being too funny in a play called Nude with Violins. He said in this loud voice, Oh Peter Sallis is quite wrong for this', and everyone said that means you'll get the part and of course I did, but then I was sacked."

Join Peter Sallis for a host of other witty anecdotes at The Radlett Centre, Aldenham Avenue on Wednesday, October 10 at 8pm.

Tickets: 01923 859291 (£14-£15)