British humour doesn't always travel too well.

And Liverpudlian comedian Craig Charles is racking his brains for ways of adapting his act for Norway, Canada and Australia, just three of the places he will be touring soon.

"I'll have to do 'A funny thing happened to my moose on my way here tonight, ladies and gentlemen' - that kind of thing," joked Charles.

Before heading abroad, the 34-year-old Scouser will be performing at Bradford University as part of the massive 44-date UK leg of his tour.

It is his role as Dave Lister, the curry-munching last human on earth in the hit sitcom Red Dwarf, which Charles is best known for.

But although his humour is peculiarly English, the show's success has made him a famous name all over the world.

"I was 22 when it started and it's been 12 years now. It's been my whole adult life," said Charles.

"We thought the show would be a hit but in those days people did three series and that was it. We didn't realise it was going to be global. It's very spooky when I'm in a place where I've never been before and people shout 'Smeghead' at me."

When Charles first starting doing live stand-up work again after the initial success of the BBC sitcom, his shows attracted a lot of Red Dwarf fans, but he says that has now died down.

"You'd be amazed how many people used to turn up in Red Dwarf T-shirts. But people come to see Craig Charles now, I think," he said.

"They're kind and gentle, Red Dwarf fans, anyway. They wouldn't heckle."

Nevertheless, he sometimes wonders just where his career would have gone had it not been for the adventures of Lister, Rimmer, Kryten and co.

"It's that fate thing. If Red Dwarf hadn't been a hit what would have happened? Maybe it could have held me back," he said.

"In many ways you're very grateful and proud but also it does allow people to pigeonhole you."

He does talk about Red Dwarf in his stand-up show but anyone expecting a stage version of the programme will be disappointed.

"My stand-up show is very different. It's a lot harder and racier and very rude," said Charles, who cites outrageous American comedian Richard Pryor as one of his biggest influences.

Simon Ashberry

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