Veteran British comedian RONNIE CORBETT has denied long-running rumours he played one of the apes in sci-fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The diminutive funnyman was rumoured to have portrayed a pre-historic beast in the 'Dawn of Man' segment in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 movie.

However, he has now revealed he was offered a role after the director saw him performing a comedy routine on a British variety show, but he turned it down.

Corbett tells U.K. talk show host Graham Norton, "Stanley Kubrick saw me doing a little spot on Sunday Night at the Palladium and said, 'He would be ideal for one of my apes.' I turned it down!"