Raconteur Gyles Brandreth’s latest show one-man show exploring the peculiarities of language is nothing if not broad.

The Radio 4 regular and former MP told us: “It goes from Shakespeare to Miley Cyrus via PG Wodehouse and Oscar Wilde. We go everywhere.”

He added: “It is a celebration of words and language but it is a comedy show and it is also a celebration of theatre.”

Acclaimed in at the Edinburgh Fringe, his 45-date Word Power tour comes to Richmond Theatre on May 22 and it seems the venue was handpicked by Gyles.

He said: “I am collecting theatres around Great Britain, especially theatres designed by Frank Matcham, the great Victorian theatre designer.

“I think Richmond Theatre is the most beautiful of all of them so I wanted to bring the tour to a climax at Richmond because it is lovely.

“The 22nd of May is actually the birthday of Laurence Olivier so I shall possibly have a story about him.

“Part of the show is not only celebrating words but about how to put words across.

“I was lucky enough some great twentieth century actors, like Sir Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, John Gielgud – all of whom played at the Richmond Theatre.”

The two hour show is a mixture of comedy, music, anecdotes and audience participation which will clearly appeal to fans of shows on which he is a regular, such as Just a Minute and QI, and reflects a love of language that dates back to his childhood and also reflected in his presidency of the Oscar Wilde Society and the Association of British Scrabble Players.

Gyles said: “Words are what make us a human beings unique. It’s what makes us different from the monkeys.

“Our language, English, is the richest language in the World. I don’t wish to be controversial and I don’t take sides on the referendum but I can tell you English is the largest, richest of all the languages in the World.

“The poor French, we have 500,000 words in our dictionary and the French dictionary, 100,000 words. Our language is five times richer. And the French vocabulary includes words like Le Weekend: what kind of vocabulary is that, I ask you?”

And at a time when immigration and integration is such a hot topic, the former Tory MP also celebrates what makes our language so rich.

He said: “The reason it is the richest is because it is the most open.

“The French have tried to protect their language whereas we have not, we have taken words from all over the world.

“English actually includes words from India, from China, from France, Spain, Greek, Latin.

“Somebody described the English language as a great river into which so many tributaries have flowed. It is rich because it is a mongrel language.”

While writers such as Shakespeare and Dickens have been responsible for expanding our vocabularies, so too has modern technology.

Gyles admitted he was a fan of terms such as Ridic and Yolo and even taught Miley Cyrus about twerking when he happened to bump into her in a lift.

He said: “She thought she had invented this word ‘twerking’. I told her she hadn’t, it has been around since 1810. Maybe we’ll see her in the stalls in Richmond on May 22.

“It is a mixture of to twist and jerk. They are called portmanteau words like chillax or Brexit, where you combine two words. Lewis Carroll came up with a lot of words as well.”

He added: “There is a lot [in the show] about the world Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram. There is a lesson about the dangers of texting. Texting is fraught with danger.”

Gyles Brandreth – Word Power is at Richmond Theatre on May 22. Go to atgtickets.com/Richmond.

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