18 APRIL 2006

For many years he has enjoyed huge popularity in Britain where he is well-known for playing affable English gents, but on Monday night the irrepressible Hugh Laurie was honoured across the pond for a rather less gracious character.

The 46-year-old was centre of everyone's attention at a glitzy bash thrown in Los Angeles' Academy Of Television Arts And Sciences to celebrate his hit series House. And despite becoming the toast of the showbiz industry, the self-effacing actor says he still can't get used to his newfound success.

"I'm just convinced that the day that we put down a deposit on a house, the show gets cancelled," he said. "You know, the first season I was in a hotel for the first three months. I was just so convinced we were going to be gone. I had a half-empty suitcase."

Fans of the series will already be familiar with his role as conflictive doctor Gregory House. Hugh is obviously a more sensitive soul in real life, though, as he admitted to pining for his three teenage children back in Britain. "I worry about parenting at this sort of distance, but they are being so generous and so cool about it," he explained. "Maybe it's because they're English. Maybe they won't reveal their psychological damage until their late 40s."

And even though the hit drama continues to enjoy rave reviews and top ratings in the US, the humble actor insists the bubble will eventually burst. "The character may be too unstable - it's like a guy standing on a window ledge," he joked. "You either have to jump or get back in the building. You can't stand there for 15 years, because the audience will start going, 'Oh, come on, jump!'."

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Hugh meets up with costars Lisa Edelstein and Jennifer Morrison on Monday night. "You know, the first season, I was in a hotel for the first three months," he confessed. "I was just so convinced we were going to be gone"Photo: © Getty ImagesClick on photos for gallery
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His role as the grumpy but enormously talented medic has made the former Blackadder actor the toast of the US showbiz industry, however Photo: © Getty Images