BEN Elton is to return to the comedy circuit next year after a 14-year hiatus, playing York Barbican on October 14.

"The Godfather of modern stand-up", now 59, will perform further Yorkshire gigs at Hull City Hall on October 8, Bridlington Spa, October 12, and Leeds Town Hall, October 16, on his 53-date tour, preceded by nine work-in-progress shows in September.

"The last time I toured I was still smarter than my phone. Things have definitely taken a funny turn," says Elton, who promises to try to make sense of a world that appears to have gone stark raving mad.

Tour tickets go on sale on December 10 at; York tickets on 0844 854 2757, at or in person from the Barbican box office.

More than 30 years ago, Londoner Elton exploded into the national consciousness when hosting Channel 4’s Saturday Live in his shiny-suited Eighties days. His diverse career since reading Drama at Manchester University has taken in being a novelist, playwright, television writer, screen writer and lyricist; theatre, screen and television director; stand-up comedian and very occasional actor.

He last played York in January 2006, at the Grand Opera House on his Get A Grip tour, itself his first country-wide travels in ten years, when he discussed apathy, reality TV, body image, politics under a Labour government, children's homework and spouting ear and nasal hair in middle age.