HE signed up to do the job for five years but when Fred MacAulay completes the last of his successful BBC Scotland morning radio shows next week he will have notched up nearly 18 years on the airwaves.

No wonder there is a tinge of sadness as he contemplates the end of an era.

"The last show is Comic Relief day so there will be no excuse for any maudlin feelings," he smiles. "I'm not thinking about it.

"The good thing about doing a radio show, a live chat show, is that once you get in and you're concentrating, what is happening outside the four walls and in the real world doesn't count.

"Yes, the thought of leaving after 18 years could play heavily."

He won't be disappearing from BBC Scotland; the stand-up comic turned presenter will be hosting a panel show called Breaking the News and is involved in other projects.

Meanwhile he's going back on the road with a new comedy show, Twenty Fifteen, kicking off at the King's Theatre for Glasgow International Comedy Festival on March 28.

"I'm looking forward to doing much more stand up," he says " I've always been able to keep my hand in. When you look at 2012, for example, I did a full run at the Fringe, then a tour of England and Wales in the autumn."

What keeps him coming back to perform is the sheer buzz of working in front of a live audience. There's nothing like it, he says.

"There is no secret that when you're in the Stand Comedy Club and it is going well it is an unbelievable feeling.

"I've not had the same experience of arenas that a lot of the other comics have had. I would imagine that the buzz is just even greater."

This heralds the start of a new era for MacAulay, with a stand up tour of England and Wales in the diary this year and 20 dates pencilled in across Scotland next year.

In the meantime he is shoehorning in as many of his favourite guests as possible onto the radio show before he leaves.

Writer, comedian and editor of Private Eye Ian Hislop has already been on, and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth will also make an appearance.

"Nicola Benedetti has played in my studio three times. If we could squeeze another couple of tunes out of her that would be amazing," he says.

"We have been trying to get on John Lloyd, Mr QI, but I don't think he's going to manage. He is amazing and has become a friend over the years. I said to him, it's the Truman Show. On Monday, March 16 people will switch on and say, 'Fred's not there. Oh well, I wonder who else is on then?'"