DANNY John-Jules brings his touring tribute to Sammy Davis Jr to the Wyvern stage on Monday, November 4

The Red Dwarf and Strictly... star’s show takes its name, I’ve Gotta Be Me from perhaps the most iconic of the Rat Pack legend’s songs.

He sang: “Whether I’m right or whether I’m wrong/ Whether I find a place in this world or never belong/ I gotta be me/ I gotta be me.”

He also once revealed: I have to be a star like another man has to breathe.”

Sammy Davis Jr, who died in 1990, was one of the most prominent members of the Rat Pack, the informal name for a group of entertainers who included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Peter Lawford.

He overcame many challenges during his life, not least the challenges facing African Americans during an era of widespread legalised segregation and injustice.

Danny’s fascination with him began many years ago.

“I was in Second Generation, a big dance troupe back in the old variety days.

“In my first show, at Sandown on the Isle of Wight, I did Rhythm of Life from Sweet Charity.”

The 1969 musical was one of Sammy Davis Jr’s many hit films, and Danny’s musical director suggested he look at songs from Golden Boy, a 1964 stage musical for which the American received a Tony nomination.

“I just started finding out all about this guy,” said Danny, “learning more and more about him and finding what everybody else found – that he was an amazing performer.

“His first movie was at the age of seven, but he was on stage at three, on the Vaudeville circuit.

“The thing about those people in variety, all those old performers, was that it was not a business to them; it was a lifestyle.

“There are other people who go to stage school and get crow-barred into the industry, but for these guys it was a lifestyle.

“A lot of them grew up in travelling theatre families. They were not scared to go out and say, ‘Here I am!’”

In I’ve Gotta Be Me, Danny sings and dances his way through many of the songs immortalised by the showbiz giant sometimes nicknamed Mr Wonderful, but it is no word-for-word, move-for-move imitation.

“There’s no bigger challenge in showbusiness than trying to emulate Sammy Davis Jr – that’s why I don’t try to emulate him or play him!

“What I’m doing is telling the story the way that he would tell it, through song and dance. It was just something that these guys did.”

Danny promised the Wyvern audience: “You can look forward to listening to a real story of a real person, and stuff that really happened.

“You can look forward to appreciating where he got to and how he got there, and the adversity he had to go through to get there.”

Danny fondly remembers another visit to Swindon, which gave the town a place in the history of Red Dwarf, the beloved sci-fi comedy in which he plays Cat.

It was in 2006 at an autograph and memorabilia shop in the Brunel Centre called Infinitely Better, which closed some years ago.

“That was the last time that the entire Red Dwarf cast were in the same photograph, including the director, Ed Bye.”

I’ve Gotta Be Me has two acts of 50 minute each, with a 20-minute interval.

Tickets are priced at £29, with various concessions available including group discounts of up to £3 per person for groups of 40 or more.

The box office can be contacted on 01793 524481 and via swindontheatres.co.uk