At the ripe old age of 84, seasoned actor Roy Dotrice is far from putting his feet up - in fact he's now reprising a role that he first performed back in 1967.

The Guernsey-born star of stage and screen, who recently received an OBE and is father to actresses Michele, Yvette and Karen, is currently playing lovable eccentric John Aubrey in Brief Lives. The one man show arrives at Theatre Royal Windsor on Monday.

During its original run, Brief Lives attracted critical acclaim with Roy appearing in 1,782 shows around the world - a statistic that earned him the Guinness World Record for the greatest number of solo performances.

Now 40 years on, Roy has returned to what he sees as his "career defining role", partly as a tribute to his late wife, actress Kay Newman, who passed away three months ago.

Roy explains: "My wife and I had talked about doing a revival a while ago.

"Although I had travelled all over the world with this show, she told me that the more I did it, the more over the top I became. She felt I was playing it purely for the comedy and asked if I would do it again, more naturalistically, so I could get it right'."

The one-man show, which sees Roy reunited with original director Patrick Garland, revolves around the writings of 17th Century author and antiquarian John Aubrey.

Blessed with a natural charm, Aubrey became acquainted with many celebrated writers, scientists, politicians and aristocrats of his day, collecting some acerbic and hysterical pieces of gossip in the process.

Oliver Cromwell, William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raleigh and even Queen Elizabeth were not exempt from Aubrey's colourful anecdotes.

"He was an extraordinary man, who loved to mix with high society," says Roy, who researched into Aubrey's life before taking on the role. "He was quite well off, but he squandered his money and by the end he had to throw himself at the mercy of other people's generosity to exist.

"The last day of his life was spent at a lodging house, yet here was a man who personally took King Charles on a visit to Stonehenge."

Roy's career as an actor has spanned roles as varied as the Father in Beauty and the Beast, Zeus in Hercules and Roger Wyndham-Pryce in Buffy and Angel, as well as nine years with the Royal Shakespeare Company and 12 lead roles on Broadway.

But few might know he actually received his first taste of acting while imprisoned in a German POW camp during World War Two. Having lied about his age to serve with the RAF, Roy was just 17 when he was captured.

"There were 5,000 men at our camp and we had to entertain ourselves the best we could," he tells me. "Of course, I got roped into doing all the female roles, because I hadn't even started shaving yet! But thankfully I progressed onto playing men."

Since then, Roy says he has developed something of a "forte" for playing older men, adding, "now that I'm old myself I can do it more naturally."

With that, he's more than looking forward to reprising his John Aubrey, though he adds somewhat wryly: "The first time I performed Brief Lives I was in my 40s and needed heavy make-up, which took two-and-a-half hours to make me look older. But now I have one-and-a-half hours of make-up to try and make me look younger! Oh, how things change."

Brief Lives runs at Theatre Royal Windsor from Monday, March 17 to Saturday, March 22. Tickets: 01753 853888 or