He may speak more slowly than he used to, and occasionally forgets a word or needs prompting with a recollection.
But Sir Roger Moore is in pretty good shape for 86.
And although I can’t see him – sadly expenses wouldn’t stretch to sending me to Monaco to meet him in person – the voice is as rich as ever, and I can just visualise his iconic raise of the eyebrow as we speak on the phone.
I can also imagine his eyes twinkling mischievously as he talks about his fourth wife, who seems to share his racy sense of humour.
I ask the legend why, at an age when he really deserves to be putting his feet up, he is bothering to go on an 11-date UK speaking tour, which includes Birmingham as well as Leeds, Guildford, Watford, Reading, Salford, Milton Keynes and Glasgow.
Is it perhaps because he would get bored at home, even if those homes are in Monaco and Switzerland?
“Oh I rarely get bored, I always have things to do,” he declares, as his wife of 11 years, 71-year-old Kristina “Kiki” Tholstrup, shouts out “Including me!”.
“I beg your pardon!” says Sir Roger, eyebrow no doubt rocketing skywards. “You’ll have to excuse my wife, she’s Swedish you know.”
His wife is one of the reasons why he’s embarking on another tour, called An Evening With Sir Roger Moore, which includes Birmingham’s New Alexandra Theatre on November 6.
He tried it last year, stopping off at places including Bath, Basingstoke and Malvern.
The film star chats with his biographer Gareth Owen about his life and career, offering witty anecdotes about his time in Hollywood and then answering questions from the audience.
“My wife wants to see some of the places where we’re going,” he confides.
“I enjoy getting out and about, and it’s interesting that people still remember me and want to ask me questions.”
As if we could forget him!
Sir Roger is keen to visit Birmingham as he would like to see our spectacular new library.
“I’ve seen lots on the news about it and it looks splendid,” he says.
“The last time I was in Birmingham was when I came up to see my daughter Deborah, who was doing a TV series there – Doctors, I think.
“I know Birmingham is close to Lichfield, and I had lots of aunties who lived there. I remember going up there from time to time as a child to be paraded before them.”
The father-of-three paints a picture of what he can see out of the window of his Monte Carlo apartment.
“Directly in front of us are the Japanese Gardens. To my right is the beginning of the port and to the left is the coast.”
Sir Roger is, of course, most famous for being the longest-serving James Bond in seven films between 1973 and 1985. But he’s also become such iconic figures as Ivanhoe, Simon Templar in The Saint and Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders! opposite Tony Curtis.
Not to mention movies such as The Wild Geese (with Richards Burton and Harris), The Sea Wolves (with Gregory Peck and David Niven) and Bullseye! (with Michael Caine).
He was knighted in 2003 for his charity work, which mainly consists of his dedication to UNICEF. Following in the footsteps of his friend Audrey Hepburn, he’s an ambassador for the United Nations’ children’s charity.
Uppermost in his mind at the moment is the conflict in Syria, the use of chemical weapons and the fate of two million refugees who have fled the country.
“I’m very concerned about the situation there,” he says. “It’s just ghastly.
“It’s hellishly expensive in terms of funds needed for the displaced children, whose education has been foully interrupted.
“I don’t think Britain and America should intervene with air strikes. I don’t think bombs should be used anywhere.
“I have friends on both sides of the conflict. Everybody has a point but nobody has the rights, it’s a very difficult situation.”
Sir Roger moves in elevated circles, mixing with diplomats and European royals. In 2011 he was a guest at the wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco, and is friendly with the Danish and the Swedish royal families.
In fact, he has not long returned from the state funeral of Princess Lilian of Sweden, where he gave a eulogy. The Welsh-born beauty, wife of the late Prince Bertil, died at the age of 97.
“She was a very dear friend and a wonderful lady,” say Sir Roger, who admits that a great deal of his social life now revolves around funerals.
He was last in Britain in June for a memorial service for his friend Michael Winner.
“That reminds me of a story Albert Finney told me,” he says. “About four theatrical knights had died in the same year and he did three of their eulogies. John Gielgud came up after one and told him how good it was.
“Albie replied ‘If you want me to do yours, you’d better get your name down because I’m getting booked up!’.”
With any luck, Sir Roger’s own funeral is a way off yet. Last year he had a nasty bout of pneumonia but he has come through that, as well as recovering from prostate cancer and having a pacemaker fitted in 2003 after he collapsed on stage in New York.
“My health is OK at the moment,” says Sir Roger. “Do I make any concessions to age? Well, I don’t jump out of bed any more. I find you just end up further along the floor if you do.
“I have become a little lazier. I should walk more, but I always remember my father’s views on that. He was in the police force and retired at 56. My mother would say ‘Come on George, let’s go for a walk’ and he would say ‘I’ve done enough walking in my time, woman!’.”
He doesn’t have quite enough energy to take part in a show like Strictly Come Dancing, but he’s still a fan – especially this year, as he is cheering on his Bond girl Fiona Fullerton, his co-star in his last 007 film, 1985’s A View To A Kill.
“We get British television out here,” he reveals. “I don’t know if it’s legal, but everyone has a satellite dish.
“We love Strictly. For my wife’s birthday last September, I asked her what she would like to do, and she said she’d like to have dinner with Bruce Forsyth and his wife Winnie.
“I’ve known him for 100 years but my wife had never met him. So I wrote to Bruce and said ‘What do you think?’, he said yes and we all had a very nice dinner at Scott’s in Mayfair.”
* An Audience With Sir Roger Moore comes to Birmingham’s New Alexandra Theatre on November 6. For tickets ring 0844 871 3011 or visit www.atgtickets.com/birmingham.