Oliver legend Ron Moody does a star turn in next week’s Holby City

Tell us about your Holby character, Vincent. He’s in hospital for a leg ulcer, isn’t he?

“Yes, Vincent’s a strong character but we find out he’s very frightened. He doesn’t want to be put into a home by social services. He doesn’t trust anybody and thinks he’ll be put into a home and lose his house because they think he’s not capable of looking after himself.”

Did you enjoy your time in the show?

“I enjoyed it enormously because I haven’t done much television for some time and this was a particularly friendly unit and I enjoyed working with them. I told them I was a bit shaky at remembering lines so could I have an idiot board and they produced one. I didn’t have to learn lines and I thought, my goodness this reopens my career. It was a rebirth!”

You are 89 next year – what keeps you working?

“I still love working; it is why I’m here, it is my purpose in life. I don’t want to take it easy; the thing I love about acting is finding out why characters do what they do.

Do you still get recognised in the street for playing Fagin?

“Now and again. I get people looking at me in a funny way. People walk over and say ‘Excuse me, are you Mr Moody?”. If people are polite and are saying nice things I don’t mind. The whole business is great fun.”

And the musical’s still going strong…

“That’s due to Cameron Mackintosh having bought the rights and put it on every now and again. Fifty years it’s been going strong, the film is being shown all over the world every Christmas.”

You were Oscar nominated for the role in 1969, what was your experience of Hollywood like?

“I loved it; it was my romantic youth coming to life. I went over there thinking it was film stars on every corner. I actually saw Fred Astaire get out of a Rolls Royce and tippie-toe up Rodeo Drive. I nearly went up and spoke to him but I didn’t have the nerve.”

Ron Moody appears in Holby City on Tuesday July 17 at 8pm on BBC1.