We still have a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, so Her Majesty ought to head to Keswick to pin a plaque on actor Eric Potts, a member of the summer company at Theatre by the Lake.

He arrived in April, will stay until November, and is on stage six nights a week in three plays and, in what spare time he has, he is also working on scripts for two pantomimes this Christmas. He has already written seven this year and his running panto script total has passed 300.

For someone so busy, Eric is pretty relaxed and is clearly having fun: “I’m working with a lovely bunch of people in a fantastic location. “I ummed and aahed a bit before I said yes to the job – seven months is quite a long time - but it was the right decision. I’m having a lovely time.”

He could have studied law at Glasgow University, but he had been bitten by the acting bug at school and in a local drama society and went off to Bristol to train for the stage instead.

After 31 years in the business, he has played roles ranging from Big Ears in a Noddy show to Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor. He has appeared in plays up and down the country and in the West End and has flounced around in frocks as a traditional pantomime dame at Christmas.

His TV shows range from Heartbeat and Last of the Summer Wine to Emmerdale and Casualty. He also played Mr Moore (briefly suspected of being a serial killer) in Brookside but is probably best known for his two years in Coronation Street playing Diggory Compton, the soap’s love-lorn baker.

“I had a great time. It was just a joy being part of such an iconic show and I never stopped getting a buzz as I walked down the cobbles to get to my little shop,” he says.

“Corrie is a remarkably well-oiled machine. The amount of work that has to be done to turn round the number of episodes they do these days is incredible. It’s done so efficiently but with such good spirit that I found it fun – despite being ready to start filming at 7am.”

The trick he perfected in Coronation Street was to learn the lines, say them – and then forget them.

The trick needed for a Keswick summer season is quite different: an actor has to learn three lots of lines and make sure they stay in separate brain compartments.

Eric has three contrasting roles, all in plays on the Main House stage: In The Ladykillers, he plays One Round, a dim-witted crook with a heart; in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, he is Mr Boo, a seedy, money-grabbing social club impresario; and from this weekend, he will take to the stage as Julian Touchweston-Smith, an upper-crust chinless wonder in Alan Ayckbourn’s Dear Uncle which transfers Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya from Russia to Ennerdale.

“It’s a varied set of parts and each one is nicely different,” says Eric. “And I’m given a plate of sandwiches in Dear Uncle every night.”

Eric admits to carrying what he calls “a little bit of extra weight” but has slimmed down since arriving in Keswick and finding little use for his car. “I’ve been doing lots of walking, nothing too strenuous, so I’ve lost some weight and it’s great to feel my knees are not quite so sore as they were.”

He doesn’t join company members who dive into the lake to cool off in the evenings, explaining: “I’m worried about the amount of water displacement I could cause.”

n Dear Uncle is on until November 2. Visit www.theatrebythelake.com or call 017687 74411