If I was expecting Julian Clary to turn up to our interview in a fanfare of sequins, make-up and high camp, I’d have been sorely disappointed.

When we meet, Julian slips into the room unnoticed, apologises for being a couple of minutes late, and slides into a seat before ordering a pot of tea and a plate of good quality biscuits.

I’ve read interviews describing Julian as shy. but after meeting him I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate.

He’s softly spoken and unassuming, yes, and he insists that it’s just me and him in the interview as an audience makes him feel self-conscious.

But he also holds eye contact and is confident and forthright on his opinions. He’s also, as you’d expect, very funny. And no question is out of bounds…

I ask him about his tour: Born To Mince.

“Yes,” he says. “The last one was The Joy of Mincing. Before that was Natural Born Mincer, Lord of the Mince, Mincing Machine. You get the general idea. I just like to get ‘mincing’ in the title. I like the word. Mincing, mince, in any formula!”

It’s only three years since he last toured. Why did he want to do another so soon?

“Because I miss it, and what I have to do with my life is rotate various activities,” he says. “So children’s books are lovely, and I really enjoy making children laugh, but a part of me wants to talk filth... and I’m not one for depriving myself of that pleasure!”

And how does he feel about the writing process?

“I like it,” he says. “It gathers pace. The quality of the writing gets better as I get closer to it, through fear probably. The best stuff rises to the surface when I’m in the car on my way to the gig.”

The Oxford Times:

“I wake up in the night. The brain is a funny thing, you know – a random, completely formed 20-minute section just comes to me just before dawn. Why is that?

“For example, I’ve been reading a lot about gay aversion therapy recently, so I had this idea that we could try heterosexual aversion therapy and get some men out in the audience, wire up their genitals, and show them pictures of Coleen Nolan.

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“If there’s any twinge of arousal they’ll get 40 volts through the testicles. Is that legal?”

He goes on: “My husband doubles as my secretary so I dictate and he has to write it all down. He’s also my gardener, house keeper and nurse. I enjoy an enema before breakfast most days.”

The tour – which he was going to call Bed Knobs and Knee Pads before he was advised it might not sell too well in the more genteel theatres - reaches the Oxford Playhouse on Sunday.

It will see him murder well-known songs, read a sneak preview from his next memoir A Night At the Lubricant and make withering remarks about punters foolish enough to sit in the front row.

Is that part of the pleasure? “It rather depends on what they’re wearing,” he says. “It’s a spring tour so I’m hoping for some cheerful floral print dresses with maybe a light pashmina.

“That’s just the men. And did you know one in five of the general public are mad? I have to be careful who I hold eye contact with. Among celebrities the percentage is higher, of course…more like one in three. Have you ever interviewed Richard Osman? Barking!”

He seems to court controversy and outrage.

“It’s one of life’s pleasures, in my opinion,” he admits. “It’s one of the reasons people come to see me: they desperately want to hear graphic descriptions of homosexual sex acts. They want to see if I’ll go too far. It livens up their otherwise dreary lives I expect.

“It gets the heart rate going, much like fairground rides or watching a horror movie.”

It must have been more extreme when he started out in the 80s?

The Oxford Times:

“Yes… because prejudice, ignorance and fear were rife back then,” he says. “I felt if you talked about the mechanics of gay sex, for example, it would be shocking to them but it would demystify it. They would leave better people than when they arrived.”

So does he feel like he has achieved that now?

“Well it’s not just me, it’s just, you know, we’ve all grown up. The world’s a better place these days.”

They do get more easily offended though...

“There’s this new word, ‘snowflake’, isn’t there? I would blame social media, where there’s people who spend all day arguing. Be very careful what you say.

“But I’ve been around the block a few times and if people buy a ticket to see me, the chances are they quite like me or they’ve been before. There is a warmth and affection, but there is a sort of expectation of the boundaries being pushed a bit. So I’m happy to oblige!”

And it might be the last chance to see Julian – who turned 60 last week – in this capacity.

“I’m quite fanciful of a change of direction and doing something different,” he says. “I think it’s important to stretch yourself. But what I don’t want to do is say ‘This is the final tour’ then everyone will say, ‘Oh I’d better go and see him before he dies’, then five years later I’m back. I always feel slightly conned when people do that.

So what I’m thinking is don’t be surprised if it is my last tour, but then again, the old age mincer might be coming your way in five years time. If I’ve got a tax bill I can’t afford or my husband has run off with Christopher Biggins.

And how does he feel about heckling?

“I think if you’ve paid for your ticket, you can do whatever you want. I often have a set-to with the theatre staff because people take photos, and you see the ushers creeping down the aisles and shh-ing and wagging their fingers and telling people they can’t, so then I go down and say ‘yes you can’, and pose for photos with them.

“Of course you can take a photo, you paid £25. I mean, why not? It’s not a Chekov play. You can eat, drink, take photos, you can shout out. You can urinate in an empty cider can if you must, I don’t care.”

Julian Clary’s Born to Mince comes to the Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont Street, on Sunday. Go to oxfordplayhouse.com.