HAVING spent a year touring the UK in the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Phill Jupitus was ready to return to his first love - stand-up comedy.

But for Phill, who comes to Darwen Library Theatre next Saturday, what had seemed like a well-planned return became a last minute scramble.

“I had been recording various ideas for stand-up on my phone during the Chitty tour,” he said, “Then when the tour finished I went to listen to the recordings I’d made over the year and they’d gone, they’d just disappeared because I’d done a software update and it deleted all my recordings.

“So I had a week-and-a-half to write a new show. I couldn’t remember any of what I’d lost as I’d just been recording little bits as I went along, small observations and half ideas for things.

“I was back to Ground Zero. In a way that sort of helped.”

With a tour to Australia, New Zealand and then Europe looming Phill put together the basis for what would become his Juplicity show.

“Those 10 days gave me the starting point,” he said. “The real work starts on the tour and everything becomes fleshed out when you have it in front of the punters – that’s certainly the way I work.

“I’m massively envious of comedians who are actual writers, people who can sit down and craft a whole show.

“I kind of have a starting point and the show then evolves through performance.”

The new show will see Phill bringing back his alter ego Porky the Poet as the warm-up act. Phill started out in the mid 80s as a performance poet, touring with the likes of Billy Bragg and the Style Council.

“This is the first time Porky and I toured together,” he said. “There is a little tension over delineation of duty. I do find myself tutting from the wings when he starts doing stand up comedy during his poetry slot but we iron everything out in the dressing room.”

Phill is enjoying bring poetry to a comedy audience.

“It is a very different energy which warms up the audience in a different way to having another comedian,” he said. “What I’ve found is that it kind of slingshots the stand-up.

“I know I’m really asking a lot of them by doing poetry because for lot of people poetry just means school and lessons.

“That’s why I don’t put it on the posters.,” he laughed.

“But I love the poetry and I love the stand-up, it’s just two different sides of the same bloke.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Phill is also introducing a third element into the show, singing some songs.

Although he’s performed in stage musicals including Hairspray and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and sung with Ian Dury’s band The Blockheads, it was touring with fellow comedians Ade Edmonson, Roland Rivron and Neil Innes as the Idiot Bastard Band which gave him the confidence to introduce music to his stand-up show.

“I owe a lot to those boys for that,” he said.

“What I like is having grown old with my audience. I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I quite like the fact that when they come in the room, that room is my space and I can give them a good time – I can do music and poetry and comedy and they all sit well together. It’s really good fun and I love it.”

So will Phill be lured back to the theatre?

“I gave theatre a good year and did some Shakespeare too so I’m certainly stepping back from the acting for a while.” he said. “It would have to be something very special for me to go back into that again because I’ve realised the huge commitment you need.

“I like the variety that stand-up allows you, I’m loving being out on the road again. I find it a very fulfilling form of making art. and it’s good for me personally.”

Phill Jupitus, Darwen Library Theatre, Saturday, September 23. Details from 0844 847 1664 or www.darwenlibrarytheatre.com