Now Scots comedian Ronnie Corbett, who played the lead role in the TV classic, has revealed one of his strange habits – getting locked in the loo when attending major events.
The 83-year-old even confessed that during his most recent encounter he suffered the indignity of having to be passed a screwdriver to free himself in time to give a reading at a memorial service.
The former Two Ronnies star has admitted he has become stranded in some of the plushest lavatorial settings.
He said: “I have been trapped in some posh toilets including those in Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, and at Victor Spinetti’s memorial at St Paul’s Covent Garden, I got locked in the loo.
“I had to scream and shout and eventually someone threw a screwdriver over the door and luckily I was out in time for my reading.”
In a digression worthy of one of his famous Two Ronnies monologues, the star also put to rest an urban myth that he had appeared as one of the apes in the opening scenes of movie classic 2001: A Space Odyssey – but admitted he had been approached.
“Stanley Kubrick, the film’s director, saw me doing a little spot on Sunday Night at the London Palladium and said, ‘He would be ideal for one of my apes’. I turned it down.”
Appearing on the Graham Norton Show, funnyman Corbett also took the opportunity to scotch fears about his health following reports last month that he was retiring due to illness.
He said: “It was absolute nonsense. It was very annoying. I got a major apology but not matching the size of the error. It was irresponsible.” He said the newspaper which made the claim had since apologised to him and made a payment.
He added: “They sent me some booze and plenty of money, which I’m dividing among a number of care homes.”
It had been reported that the comedian had been rushed to hospital in London with chest pains and nausea.
However, Edinburgh-born Corbett made it clear the reports were some way off the mark.
“I’m in rude health,” he said. “I was in hospital with a gall bladder problem, but these things happen as you get older.
“I am, however, still breathing, despite what you might have read.”
His wife Anne had been quoted as saying Corbett “won’t be doing any more TV”, and that he was “no Bruce Forsyth” – something she has since denied.
She said her husband was still working away and had a number of projects on the go, adding: “He’s got contracts and commercials he is working on. Life goes on for Ronnie, as it always has done.”
Corbett is currently working on a TV pilot with fellow comedian Rob Brydon, it was revealed.
The comedian was appointed a CBE in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to entertainment and charity.
• The Graham Norton Show, tonight, BBC1, 10:20pm.