By Smyth Harper
BBC News Online, Manchester
One of the biggest stars in showbiz is searching for new material.
Basil was happy to spare his valuable time for BBC News Online
Basil Brush is on a whistlestop tour of the UK to find new jokes for his BBC show.
And the youngster with the best joke will even get a walk-on part.
Basil dropped into the offices of BBC News Online in Manchester during his visit to the North West, where he exclusively revealed the bins of Coronation Street are much better than those on Albert Square.
Basil has been in the business since 1963, but was retired by the BBC in the early 1980s - to the distress of children everywhere.
But Basil told BBC News Online he did not have to raid any chicken coops to put food on the table.
"The BBC sent me round the world you know, starting with two weeks in Bognor, half board," he said.
One day something woke me up and there, on the mat, by the front door was a letter from the BBC begging me to come back to help their flagging ratings
"Actually after two weeks in Bognor and you're completely bored.
"After that I just went to sleep from about 1979 to 1994."
He has now returned to the BBC as its self-proclaimed saviour.
"One day something woke me up and there, on the mat, by the front door was a letter from the BBC begging me to come back to help their flagging ratings.
Basil has smartened up his act
"Oh, and there was a little bag of jelly babies as well.
Basil has changed since his comeback.
Notably, his rather scruffy tweed jacket has been replaced by a whole wardrobe of new outfits.
"I have a personal stylist now you see," he said. "And the things she says are very personal indeed.
"You probably remember me from the seventies when I was wearing flares.
"The trouble with that is I kept on attracting rescue teams."
He may be one of the few true A-list stars in the United Kingdom, but Basil still believes Johnny-come-lately celebs should have the chance to shine.
I have a personal stylist now. And the things she says are very personal indeed.
"I've got the confidence to share the stage with any up and coming youngster. So, you know, I will allow them to have their 15 minutes of fame.
"Actually, make it about 15 seconds, shall we?
"OK, 10 seconds, no five seconds.
"Actually, cut. Get them all off the stage, they're rubbish.
"I'm not going to have anyone on the stage except me, Basil Brush."
The shy star was in Manchester to visit the Trafford Centre for the Basil Brush Boom Boom Roadshow.
As well as searching for jokes, the week-long tour is also promoting his new DVD and album.
Basil always has a joke to hand, and kindly obliged BBC News Online when asked for a good one for a sophisticated dinner party.
"How many actors does it take to change a lightbulb?" he asks.
"Ten - one to change a lightbulb and nine to say that should be me up there."