RARELY has there been a more divisive figure in comedy than Roy Chubby Brown.

To some his work is grossly offensive but to others his act is a breath of fresh air in an increasingly politically correct world.

That’s why – despite not appearing on television screens for more than a decade – his live shows consistently sell out.

Over the years Roy has maintained a loyal fanbase, particularly in the north, something he feels his down to his working class roots.

Roy – real name Royston Vasey – grew up in Grangetown in Yorkshire.

At 14 he was living on the streets, went from job to job, including a stint in the Merchant Navy, and even spent time in borstal and prison

“As a young man I was a bit of a renegade. I was getting in trouble a lot, picking fights and going out with different women,” he said.

“I had lots of jobs. At one point I had a fruit and veg stall. I would always have that humorous element to my armour, that’s why the women would always come to my stall, because I would make them laugh.”

He fell into comedy after being encouraged to take to the stage and crack some jokes. Back then his act was unrecognisable from what it is today.

He said: “The bottom line is a long time ago I was a clean comic. I never said anything bad. I was going into work and getting £15 for doing half an hour on stage.

“Then I started going into clubs in the 70s, I was backstage and this fella said: ‘You’re going to have to smut your act up’.”

He did just that, and quickly began to make a name for himself within the comedy circuit.

Roy decided to stick with his risqué act after his first encounter with Bernard Manning, who he was supporting in Stoke.

He claims Manning – who was also known for material involving ethnic stereotypes and minority groups – was shocked and impressed with the act.

“We became good friends after that,” Roy said.

“He would ring me every other day. He even started telling everybody I was his love child.”

Like Roy, the controversy surrounding his act meant that Manning was rarely seen on television in the later part of his career. He continued to perform in pubs and theatres up until his death, a day Roy remembers well.

“The day he died he’d rung my house,” Roy said. “I saw the message later in the day and he’d said: ‘It’s Bernard mate, I feel a bit down and I thought you could cheer me up’.

“He died at 12 o’clock that day. That’s the sad part.”

Like Manning, Roy has frequently come into criticism over the years that his act is racist, something he has always denied.

“Political correctness has knackered comedy up,” he said. “It’s unbelievable how much the world has changed.”

The controversial comic also dismissed claims that women were sexually harassed at the recent men-only Presidents Club fundraiser, where hostesses were reportedly groped

He said: “It’s pathetic. It maddens me, people have forgotten how to laugh, how to enjoy themselves.

"What they are trying to put across is that men don’t know the difference between putting their arm around women and raping them.

"They’re making out that they don’t know what they’re doing.”

Despite his outspoken views, Roy said he prefers to stay out of the limelight when he’s not performing.

He said: “I try not to be that character when I’m off stage.

"There’s thousands of comedians who when they come off stage they try to be funny. I try to stay in the background.

"I wouldn’t want a group of lads to see me at the bar with me cracking a joke and them saying, ‘that’s Roy Chubby Brown, he’s not funny’.

“I keep my mouth shut.”

Roy Chubby Brown will perform at Northwich Memorial Court on June 1