Basil is a busy fox. The vulpine children’s entertainer has a career stretching back to the early 60s, but remains as popular as ever, with a packed schedule of filming and live shows for adoring fans.

And while he cuts a distinguished figure in emerald green corduroy jacket and spotted red cravat, he still looks remarkably youthful, avoiding the ravages of showbiz without the need for plastic surgery. It’s all the more remarkable given the revival of his career – with an acclaimed Edinburgh Festival debut and appearances on television’s The Last Leg and Celebrity Juice.

So how old is he exactly?

“It’s very rude to ask a person their age but I’ll always tell you my age in fox years,” he says in mock indignation.

“I think I’m certainly in line to have a free TV licence (if they keep them) and also a free bus pass. In fox years I think I could probably be in the Guinness Books of Records; it’s somewhere in the couple of hundred.”

I caught up with the nation’s favourite fox on a rare day off, ahead of his appearance at The Cornerstone in Didcot on Saturday.

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“I’m recovering from an extremely busy few days, having done my Family Fun Show and my Unleashed show in Southampton and then having to drive overnight to CBBC to record a special couple of episodes for a new series that is coming on in January,” he says.

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“But I can’t tell you about it because I’ll have to kill you if I do. It’s all top secret and hush hush, but you’ll hear all about it soon. And you never know, some of the rumours about it might start circulating anyway.”

He goes on: “I’m just relaxing at the moment. I’m going to have a small bath, you know one of those natural jacuzzies where you eat several cans of baked beans and let nature take its course. Lying flat on my back and regaining the energy for coming to Didcot this weekend. It’s quite tiring on an old fox you know!”

And where is his den, exactly?

“Well I always say it is Brush Manor, but wherever I lay my brush, that’s my home. I’m doing so much touring at the moment that it feels like service stations, Travelodges and posh hotels. However, my current Mister, Martin Cabble-Reid is from Maidenhead – so just a quick trip over the hills from Didcot.”

So how long has he been in showbiz?

“As long as I can remember,” he chuckles. “The older I get, the less I can remember, so it only felt like a week ago but I know it stretches right back to 1962 when I was on the Three Scampis Show. I was on the David Nixon Show and then the Basil Brush Show which started in 1968. It has been over 50 years in showbusiness and I have had a raucous time. It’s been a rollercoaster all the way.”

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When I ask him for his highlights, he sits back and laughs. “One of the highlights was The Basil Brush Show, which had many millions and millions of viewers,” he says. “Then I had a brief respite in the 90s where I was lying on a beach in Puerto Banus, but then the BBC begged me to come back, bribing me with Jelly Babies in 2000, so I came back on CBBC and had six series.

“Then, of course, three years of doing Swap Shop and 40 episodes of Blue Peter. But there have been some wonderful times, such as meeting Lady Di and doing a special show for Prince Harry and Prince William when they were young – that was a big highlight! And of course, hosting the Comedy Proms at the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC was amazing as well. Are those enough highlights? If not, I could go have some highlights put into my brush!”

And did he always want to be a star? “People have said to me that I was born on stage and apparently I was – and the audience liked it so much that my mother kept it in the act. It is one of those things that fame just came with me being on the television and I sort of love it, so I have to go round incognito a lot of the time because of autograph hunters.

“No matter how hard I try, I never seem to find any. Nowadays it’s all selfies, so if I got paid a fiver for every selfie that I take then I’d be a multi-millionaire.”

Very few personalities have that kind of longevity. What, I ask him, is the appeal of his act that kids throughout the years still love?

“I think it’s silliness,” he says after a thoughtful pause. “We’re in a very serious world at the moment so there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of silliness. Cream pies on the face and falling on bottoms... basic comedy that kids love.

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“Adults also like a bit of silliness, so we have silliness for adults in the Unleashed show and silliness for the family in the afternoons. Also stick ‘boom boom’ at the end of any joke and people think it’s funny.”

How has he changed as a fox over the years? “I haven’t changed as a fox,” he replies. “I haven’t changed myself into a beaver or into a badger. I think I’ve weathered quite well but anyone who thinks I’ve had a facelift is talking out their botox. I’m the same very naughty fox.”

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And, finally, how does he continue to look so dapper?

“I’m a traditionalist at heart but I like to keep up with fashion,” he chortles. “I did ditch the flared trousers of the 70s because when I used to wear flares I kept on attracting rescue teams.

“I’ve got a fantastic wardrobe with over 200 outfits, though. I can be anything I like.

“I’m not so much an urban fox, as an urbane fox!”

See Basil Brush’s Family Fun Show and Basil Brush: Unleashed this Saturday at the Didcot Cornerstone. For tickets see