A farce by British comedy legend Nigel Planer heads to St Helens Theatre Royal as part of its UK tour next week.

Chaos is guaranteed to reign in All Above Board, which is staged at the venue on Tuesday (September 14).

Nigel - who came to fame as hippy student Neil in cult 1980s BBC comedy The Young Ones and built up an accomplished TV and theatre career - is bringing All Above Board to the stage thanks to a collaboration with Northern Comedy Theatre.

The tour opened at the Gladstone Theatre in Port Sunlight, Wirral, on August 23.

The London-born actor, comedian, novelist, singer/songwriter and playwright doesn't appear in the play, but was at Liverpool's FACT cinema and The St Helens Royal Theatre recently to watch the cast read and rehearse.

St Helens Star:

In an interview with Star's sister paper, the Wirral Globe before going into the rehearsal room at FACT, Nigel said: "The play is a farce, not going to save the world; just make people laugh, which is what it's meant to do.

"I had the idea about four years ago, and this is about my fourth draft, so I think it's in working order. Hopefully, people will enjoy it.

"Also, Northern Comedy Theatre sounds very good to me - three of my favourite words - so I leapt at the chance to work with them."

The play features an unlikely bunch of modern-day do-gooders who try to make the world a better place, but lose the plot, their morals and even their clothes in all the best traditions of classic British farce.

Among them is Timothy Upton-Fell, who quits the world of banking and - for all the wrong reasons - wants to give something back and help those less fortunate.

Along with brazen and shameless PR agent, Florence he plans a charity auction to raise money for good causes. He misguidedly enlists the help of narcissist TV personality, Matthew Board - a man on the edge in more ways than one.

Matters are made worse by Sir Ommany John, a elderly world-famous artist who still has an eye for the ladies; Katia, a confused Finnish exchange student and not to mention Timothy’s crazed ex-wife, Cressida who is out for revenge.

The play touches on issues related to dementia and is dedicated to Michael Heaney, a friend of Nigel's who died from the condition.

It promises "double entendres flow and more misunderstandings and mayhem than you can shake a charity collection box at".

The play's first draft lay in a drawer for about 18 months, before David Spicer, a writer friend of Nigel, put him in touch with Shaun Chambers at Northern Comedy Theatre.

The eight-strong cast features Robert Stuart-Hudson as Timothy Upton-Fell, Kathryn Chambers as Florence Spink, Judith Martindale as Lady Claire John, Ray Sutton as Sir Ommany John, Connor Simkins as Matthew Board, Kieran Maleedy as Jason, Vikki Earle as Katia and Ash Gorsi as Walji.

On the possibility of returning to the stage again anytime soon, 68-year-old Nigel said: "I'm quite happy not to get on stage these days.

"I think I could probably do quite well in farce, but as you get older you come to realise what your performance limitations are.

"Watching other people perform your plays is, as satisfying.

"Writing plays, for me, is the absolute business at the moment. I like it more than anything.

"I love being the puppet master in charge of the actors."

Nigel has appeared in many West End musicals including the original casts of Evita, Chicago, We Will Rock You, Wicked, Hairspray and Charlie and the chocolate factory.

He won a BRIT award in 1984 and has been nominated for Olivier, TMA, WhatsOnStage and BAFTA awards.

TV work includes BBC comedy classic Blackadder alongside Rowan Atkinson and murder mystery series Death in Paradise. He also played Ralph Filthy in BBC comedy Filthy Rich and Catflap.

He also appeared in Channel Four's The Comic Strip presents - alongside Keith Allen, Robbie Coltrane, Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Rik Mayall, Alexi Sayle and Peter Richardson and Jennifer Saunders.

He is also due to play a sea captain in an episode of Diane Morgan's comedy series Mandy.

On Neil, he said: "Before Neil and The Comic Strip came along, I was always the guy who played weird characters.

"The Young Ones was such a big show, culturally, and Neil dominated so much - my fault too, because I exploited it a lot and I had a single, album and tour out of him, which was fun.

"But the aftermath of that meant that it took a while for me to readjust.

"The others - Ade and Rik, Alexei, Dawn and Jennifer and Peter - all came out of it with a tv series later on, moved onwards and upwards.

"But because I wanted to play different characters and do different things, I didn't come out with The Nigel Planer show.

"I have tried to stay as diverse as possible."

And he's also making waves on social media as a musician.

He explained: "On various websites there's something called bandcamp.com

"Because I was stuck at home, I got out my old guitar out and started playing some of the songs I wrote when I was a teenager.

"They're quite embarrassing, but I thought 'why not give the songs the belief you had when you wrote them and put them out there for others to hear?' and put them out bandcamp.

"That got me going, so I started writing new songs - so I've got jazz songs and pop songs all on 'Nigel Planer Bandcamp'.

"Am getting reviews from jazz fans in Moldova. It's nice that people are listening to it, but I have no idea who they are.

"As I always say, just go with it."

Full details on the show's UK tour from https://www.northerncomedytheatre.com/all-above-board