NEARLY 40 years after starring in the hit TV comedy Rising Damp, Don Warrington is now calling the shots from the director’s chair.

The 61-year-old actor is in charge of the stage version of the show he helped turn into a cult classic.

He played student Philip Smith alongside Leonard Rossiter and Richard Beckinsale in the stage and TV original, which focused on seedy landlord Rupert Rigsby (Rossiter) and the tenants of his bedsit in a run-down Victorian town house.

But Warrington said the new production is very different to anything he has done before.

“I had to think about doing the new version because it is an unusual way to approach something. It came to me as a package — I did not cast it so that was unusual for a director.”

It may be nearly four decades since his acting break with Rising Damp, but it is something Warrington remembers well.

“I was just out of drama school and the opportunity came along,” he said Since then he has film, stage and TV credits to his name, including Dr Who, Waking the Dead, Trial and Retribution, Judge John Deed and Death in Paradise.

n Rising Damp is at the Lowry from Tuesday, May 28, until Saturday, June 1.