David Walliams admits it was a shock to be asked to host this year’s 100th Royal Variety Performance (ITV1, Monday, Dec 3).

How did you react when you were invited to host the Royal Variety Show?
“I was really surprised, but this is the 100th year of the Royal Variety Show and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, so it’s a great one to be doing – a huge honour, and an even bigger responsibility. It’s a show I’ve watched every year from a young age.”

It’s a stellar line-up this year, isn’t it?
“Absolutely. The line-up is out of this world. I can’t believe I’ll be introducing acts such as Rod Stewart, Neil Diamond, One Direction, Girls Aloud, Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams, and Katherine Jenkins. Also, I can’t wait to see Ashleigh and Pudsey again. I know this dog-dancing duo very well from Britain’s Got Talent.”

How have you been preparing?
“I’ve been busily writing stuff. A lot depends on doing bits with other acts. I’ve watched past Royal Varieties and enjoyed the lovely moments for example between Peter Kay and Michael Buble. That sort of interaction is very important. You can’t just come on in a dinner jacket and tell jokes.”

Have you been asked to appear on the show before?
“Yes. Matt [Lucas] and I were asked when we were making Little Britain, but we politely declined. We felt our show was quite rude and maybe we weren’t quite right for the audience. So I’m very glad I’ve had another chance. Now I don’t have to look back with regret.”

So will you have to censor yourself?
“I hope not. You have to stay true to what you do, although that’s not easy for everyone. I remember the year Russell Brand hosted – I can’t believe they hired him! Also, Catherine Tate once made some jokes that got in the papers the next day.”

Could hosting The Royal Variety Show now mean a knighthood?
“Oooh I don’t think so! Of course, it would be lovely because I’d go to Buckingham Palace and take my mum along, but it’s not something you can ask for. It has to be offered to you and it hasn’t been offered to me, so it’s not something I can worry about.”

Do you think having the Royal stamp of approval would limit you as a comedian?
“Yes. I’m not sure that a knighthood is very helpful because as a comedian, you want to be able to say whatever you want about anyone at any point. Once you have an honour, you’re perceived as being part of the Establishment and speaking your mind might become more difficult. Also in entertainment, you have to wait till you’re 82 to get a knighthood – look at Brucie. So if I do ever get one, it won’t be for another 40 years!”