John Cleese was bullied at school because his surname was cheese.

The 72-year-old actor was born with a different moniker to his stage name which resulted in him being mercilessly teased during his time in private education in the UK.

He said: ''I went to a private school, my parents didn't have much money and they spent what they did on giving me a private education.

''I can still remember walking up the stairs to the matron's room upstairs where I had to have a sort of basic medical examination and I can still remember the boys shouting, 'Cheese, cheese, cheese,' after me.''

His surname was not the only thing John - who is famous for roles in 'A Fish Called Wanda' and 'Monty Python' - was mocked for; bullies were also interested in the state of his manhood.

He added to Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper: ''I remember on the stairs down to the changing room the boys asking me whether I was a Cavalier or a Roundhead and I had no idea what they were talking about, because I had never heard of the civil war, and then I realised they were asking me if I was circumcised or not.''