Corbett: I was close to giving up

Veteran funnyman Ronnie Corbett admitted he was ready to give up his dreams of a career in front of the camera and quit performing just as he got his big break.

The comic said he had planned to quit if he had not made it by the age of 37 – which is how old he was when he teamed up with comedy partner Ronnie Barker on television.

Corbett, who has just celebrated his 80th birthday, told the Christmas edition of the Radio Times: "I always had a little plan in my mind and gave myself until the frighteningly mature age of 37.

"If nothing had happened by then, I would stop performing and go into the business as an artist's agent or something.

"Fortunately, at the age of 37 I did The Frost Report – where I met Ronnie B – and that turned my life round."

The Scottish comedian, famous for his monologues on The Two Ronnies, said he would be tuning in to watch the Queen's Christmas Day speech.

He said: "I'm interested in what the poor lady thinks of saying each year."