LES Dennis is sitting in the bar at the Lowry, a broad grin on his face, the light glinting off his bald head.

The fully-shorn look is something Les has been sporting for the past five months as he tours the country with the hit musical The Addams Family which opens at Salford Quays on Tuesday.

Les plays Uncle Fester in the famously dysfunctional family and had his head shaved live on TV’s Loose Women by celebrity hairdresser Nicky Clarke before the tour started.

“It would have taken a lot of time in make-up every night to create the bald look so I just said to the director ‘wouldn’t it be easier if I just had it shaved off?’ which is what I did,” said Les.

The new look came as surprise to Les’s children Tom and Eleanor.

“They were both in bed the night I got home so the first time they saw it was when they came in in the morning and saw me in bed. They laughed,” he said. “My little boy Tom came over and kissed it.

“It can be useful sometimes if I want a bit of privacy but once I speak and people hear the voice they realise it’s me.”

Les and his wife Claire recently took advantage in a break in the tour to grab a quick holiday.

“We’d be sitting round the pool and Claire would be getting a lot of sympathetic glances. I think people thought she’d taken me for one last holiday before it was too late!” he joked.

After winning the talent show New Faces in 1974, Les has been a familiar face on our TV screens virtually ever since.

A 15-year run as host of the quiz show Family Fortunes made him one of the most popular personalities on TV and more recently Les has been firmly establishing himself as an actor both on stage and on screen.

“I always wanted to act,” he said. “I always wanted to be a comedy impressionist and to be on stage in variety too which I did but that desire to be an actor has never left me.

“It began when I used to go to the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool when I was young and I loved everything I saw. I just thought ‘I want to do that’.

“I think it was the ability to be somebody else and to be able to tell a story that really appealed to me. I saw Jonathan Price and Julie Walters and all these great people at the Everyman and they held me spellbound with their storytelling.”

Although he was in Coronation Street for two years and has appeared in a number of stage productions Les finds that audiences are often surprised to see him as an actor.

“If you are known for one particular thing, like Family Fortunes which I did for such a long time, then people don’t realise you can do other things,” he said. “But in a way, that’s the ace up my sleeve because in a way people don’t always expect it and they are surprised.

“With the Addams Family, apart from the fact that they say I’m unrecognisable in the show, all the comment are things like ‘Les Dennis is a revelation’ - to be honest I’ve spent my career being a revelation,” he laughed.

Coming to Manchester for the first time, The Addams Family is a musical based on the characters from the cult Sixties’ TV show.

“Fester is a great part,” he said. “He’s the narrator, the guy who tells you what’s going on. For me, he’s the best part but everyone will say that they have the best role.”

Les thinks that his grounding in comedy is a bonus when it comes to playing a part like Uncle Fester.

“I think comics do make good actors because it is the flip side of the coin,” he said. “If you can make people laugh you should be able to make them cry as well. I love that I get the chance to do that.

“You certainly have to bring comic sensibilities to this role.

“Fester is the most eccentric member of the Addams Family but also the most normal. He is the least likely to go to the dark side. He’s fallen in love with the moon which is quite a dark idea but he’s playful and childlike and that’s what I like about him. He’s like Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream, he navigates us through the story.”

Many comedians have gone on to play Shakespeare with great success and it’s something Les would love to do.

“That’s still on my bucket list,” he said. “It’s very much something I’d like to do, that or some Chekov or some Arthur Miller, I’d like to do some classical theatre.

“My first big drama role was David Hare’s Skylight which was a massive stage role and I think people were sitting there waiting for me to fail and when I didn’t they were like ‘oh, OK we’ll let him in’. It’s like being let into a club.

“I used to put entertainer on my passport but now I put actor. I’m not trained but there are a lot of great actors who weren’t trained either.

“They learned through rep and for me, the Russ Abbott Show was rep, we got to play different characters all the time in different sketches, it just happened to be on the TV.”

The Addams Family, the Lowry, Salford Quays, Tuesday, August 29 to Saturday, September 9. Details from 0843 208 6000 or www.thelowry.com