David Jason

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David Jason

David Jason millies (cropped).jpg
Jason in 2012
Born
David John White

(1940-02-02) 2 February 1940 (age 81)
OccupationActor, comedian, screenwriter, executive producer
Years active1963–present
Spouse(s)
Gill Hinchcliffe
(m. 2005)
[1]
Partner(s)Myfanwy Talog (1977–1995, her death)[2]
Children1
Parent(s)Arthur Robert White
Olwen Jones
RelativesArthur White (brother)

Sir David John White OBE (born 2 February 1940), known professionally by his stage name David Jason, is an English actor, comedian, screenwriter and executive producer.

He is best known for his roles as Derek "Del Boy" Trotter in the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses, Detective Inspector Jack Frost in A Touch of Frost, Granville in Open All Hours and Still Open All Hours, and Pop Larkin in The Darling Buds of May, as well as voicing Mr. Toad in The Wind in the Willows and the title characters of Danger Mouse and Count Duckula. His most recent appearance in the role of Del Boy was in 2014; he retired his role as Frost in 2010. He voices Captain Skipper, the uncle of Pip in the preschool, young adult, and adult focused series Pip Ahoy!

In September 2006, Jason topped the poll to find TV's 50 Greatest Stars, as part of ITV's 50th anniversary celebrations.[3] He was knighted in 2005 for services to acting and comedy. Jason has won four British Academy Television Awards (BAFTAs), (1988, 1991, 1997, 2003), four British Comedy Awards (1990, 1992, 1997, 2001) and seven National Television Awards (1996 twice, 1997, 2001 twice, 2002 and 2011).

Early life[edit]

Jason's father, Arthur Robert White, was a porter at Billingsgate Fish Market, and his Welsh mother, Olwen Jones, was from Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan (now Merthyr Tydfil County Borough), Wales, and worked as a charwoman. She gave birth to twin boys at North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton, London, in February 1940, but Jason's twin brother died during childbirth, making him a twinless twin. He chose the stage name Jason because he liked Jason and the Argonauts, as the stage name "David White" was already taken, and not in tribute to his dead twin as has sometimes been claimed.[4]

Jason lived at Lodge Lane, North Finchley, and attended Northfield Secondary Modern school after failing the 11-plus in 1951.[5] Upon leaving school, Jason wanted to be an actor, influenced by his brother, but their father advised that he first learn a trade. He trained as an electrician for six years, before retiring and becoming a struggling actor.

Jason's elder brother is the actor Arthur White, born in 1933. The two appeared together in the crime drama A Touch of Frost, with Arthur playing police archivist Ernie Trigg; and again in 2008, in the comic fantasy The Colour of Magic, where Arthur starred as a character called "Rerpf". He also appeared briefly with his brother in two episodes of The Darling Buds of May.

Radio and TV career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Jason started his television career in 1964 playing the part of Bert Bradshaw in Crossroads. In 1967, he played spoof super-hero Captain Fantastic, among other roles, in the children's comedy series Do Not Adjust Your Set (Rediffusion London/ITV) with Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Denise Coffey, and Michael Palin. Humphrey Barclay, who recruited Jason to appear in Do Not Adjust Your Set (partly to counter the more highbrow style of Idle, Jones, and Palin),[6] admired his sense of timing. The programme ended in 1969, and the character then appeared for a time in the Thames Television children's programme Magpie. Jason appeared in the BBC comedy series Hugh and I in 1967, which starred Hugh Lloyd and Terry Scott as two friends who lived together in South London. He appeared in the Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) episode "That's How Murder Snowballs" (1969) as Abel, a framed performer in a major London theatre.

In 1968, Jason was initially cast in the role of Lance Corporal Jones in the Jimmy Perry and David Croft BBC comedy Dad's Army. Croft had been very impressed with the actor and knew that he had the talent to play a man much older than his real age. However, BBC executive Bill Cotton overruled him, casting Clive Dunn because he was better known. According to Jason, "I was cast at 12 o'clock and sacked by three."[7] Jason also subsequently missed out on the starring role of Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em in 1973 because BBC executives at the time believed that he lacked "star quality".[8]

In the 1970s, he also acted in radio comedies, including the weekly topical satire Week Ending (in which he regularly played such figures as then UK Foreign Secretary Dr David Owen) and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (as the "B Ark Captain" in the sixth episode, in an in-joking reference to his Week Ending role as Owen[citation needed]). Jason also appeared in The Next Programme Follows Almost Immediately and made appearances on panel games such as The Impressionists as well as his own series, The Jason Explanation. In the early 1970s, he appeared in Mostly Monkhouse.

Jason appeared on stage in the West End in the farce No Sex Please, We're British playing Brian Runnicles for 18 months in 1973. He also starred with Valerie Leon in a stage comedy "Darling Mr London" which toured in 1975.

Jason appeared in variety shows as the supporting act of Dick Emery and his performances caught the attention of Ronnie Barker. Jason was recruited to appear in Hark at Barker (LWT, 1969), starring opposite Barker's Lord Rustless, as Dithers, the 100-year old gardener. There was also a sequel, His Lordship Entertains (1972) for the BBC. Jason played idealistic employee Granville in the first programme of the comedy anthology Seven of One (1973), called Open All Hours (BBC) and starring Barker as the curmudgeonly proprietor of a corner shop.

Four series of Open All Hours were made from 1976 to 1985. He featured in Barker's Porridge (BBC), a prison comedy, as the elderly Blanco in three episodes. Jason also appeared with Barker in various disguises in The Two Ronnies, including providing the "raspberry" sound effect for The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town.

Jason starred in London Weekend Television's Lucky Feller (1975–76), written by Terence Frisby and produced by Humphrey Barclay. About two brothers in south-east London, the series was in many ways a forerunner to Only Fools And Horses, only Jason was in the more dopey 'Rodney' role with Peter Armitage playing the cleverer of the two. The brothers drove around in a comical bubble car, a precursor to the famous Trotters' van; and there was even the joke where, just as he was trying to impress the girl (Cheryl Hall), Jason casually leaned back against the bar, without his knowing that barman had just lifted it behind his back, and fell through. This situation was re-enacted in Only Fools And Horses.[9] He played the lead role of Peter Barnes in the ATV sitcom A Sharp Intake of Breath (1977–81), alongside Alun Armstrong and Richard Wilson. In 1979, he appeared as Buttons in the pantomime Cinderella at Newcastle's Theatre Royal, starring Leah Bell and Bobby Thompson, produced by Michael Grayson and directed by John Blackmore.

Children's television[edit]

In the 1980s, Jason developed a working partnership with Cosgrove Hall, and was a voice-over artist for a number of children's television productions. This included voices for Danger Mouse, The BFG, Count Duckula, Hugo from Victor and Hugo, and Toad from The Wind in the Willows, all produced by Cosgrove Hall for Thames Television/ITV. He provided the voice of Father Christmas in Father Christmas and the Missing Reindeer, Rola Polar in The Adventures of Dawdle the Donkey, Angelmouse, and did voices in animated films including Wombling Free and The Water Babies.[10]

Transition into a leading man[edit]

Jason with Corporal Oliver Kennedy and Hermione Norris at the Sun Military Awards in 2012

In 1981, Jason found his most famous role, Del Boy Trotter in the BBC situation comedy Only Fools and Horses, created by John Sullivan. Del is a wide boy who makes a dishonest living in Peckham, south London, trading in broken, stolen, and counterfeit goods. He is assisted by his brother Rodney (played by Nicholas Lyndhurst) and Grandad (played by Lennard Pearce) and, in later episodes, Uncle Albert (played by Buster Merryfield).

In 1989 Jason starred as Ted Simcock in the ITV drama series A Bit of a Do, aired from January to December.

In 1999, Jason starred as Captain Frank Beck in BBC's feature-length drama All the King's Men about the Sandringham regiment lost in World War I. He earned acclaim for a string of serious roles. These include Skullion in Porterhouse Blue (for Channel 4), Sidney "Pop" Larkin in the rural idyll The Darling Buds of May (Yorkshire Television/ITV) and based on the H. E. Bates novel, which featured Catherine Zeta-Jones.

In 1992, he signed a golden handcuffs deal with ITV to star as Detective Inspector Jack Frost in the long-running TV series A Touch of Frost (Yorkshire Television/ITV). In September 2006, he was voted by the general public as No. 1 in ITV's poll of TV's Greatest Stars.[citation needed] In December 2006, he starred in Terry Pratchett's Hogfather on Sky1 as Albert. In early 2007, he starred in Diamond Geezer (Granada Television/ITV). This series ran for 3 episodes of 90 minutes each. There was a pilot in 2005. In March 2008, he starred as Rincewind in Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic, and in the two part ITV drama Ghostboat.

On 16 September 2008, Jason announced that he would step-down from his role as Jack Frost after 16 years.[11] Three new episodes of the show were shown in autumn 2008, and were followed by a two-part finale in 2010. Approached by BBC1 controller Danny Cohen in early 2011, he read three scripts and agreed to shoot a pilot for The Royal Bodyguard, which was shown at the Edinburgh Film Festival. The pilot episode aired on the BBC on Boxing Day but received a poor critical response. The series was axed after six episodes. In 2010, Jason starred in a made-for-TV movie Come Rain Come Shine with Alison Steadman for ITV about an elderly Millwall supporter.[12]

Since 2013 he has starred in Still Open All Hours. It features many original cast members (and a portrait of Ronnie Barker as Arkwright) and is still written by Roy Clarke, the original writer and creator of the show. He has also starred as Captain Skipper, a sea captain, sea dog and Pip's uncle in the animated series Pip Ahoy!.

Honours[edit]

In 1993, Jason was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), and 12 years later, in the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 2005, he was knighted for services to acting and comedy.[13] On the day it was announced, many British newspapers used the headline "Arise Sir Del Boy" or similar, in reference to his most famous role. Upon receiving the knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on 1 December 2005, he said he was "humbled" by the "fantastic tribute".[14][15]

Personal life[edit]

Jason lived with his long-term girlfriend, Welsh actress Myfanwy Talog, for 18 years and nursed her through breast cancer until she died in 1995. It mirrored a situation portrayed in A Touch of Frost in which the character's wife died after a long illness.

On 26 February 2001, Jason became a father for the first time at the age of 61 when his girlfriend, 41-year-old Gill Hinchcliffe, gave birth to a baby girl, Sophie Mae, born in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury.[16] Jason and Hinchcliffe married in 2005 and live in Ellesborough, Buckinghamshire.

Jason is a patron of the Shark Trust,[17] a United Kingdom registered charity working to advance the worldwide conservation of sharks through science, education, influence and action. He has also been Honorary Vice Patron of the Royal International Air Tattoo since 1999, and on 29 May 2014, presented a cheque on behalf of the Fairford-based RAF Charitable Trust for £125,000 to the British RAF Air Cadet Organisation, to fund flight simulators for Air Cadets.[18]

Jason is a qualified helicopter pilot.[19] In October 2013, he released his autobiography called David Jason: My Life.[20] It was shortlisted for the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards "Best Book of the Year".[21] A second volume, Only Fools and Stories: From Del Boy to Granville, Pop Larkin to Frost was published in October 2017. Penguin Books announced A Del Of A Life, which is Jason's third autobiography and was published in October 2020.[22]

In September 2017, it was reported that a "credible threat was made to his life", although it is not known why Jason had been targeted.[23]

Works[edit]

Books[edit]

  • David Jason: My Life. Random House. 2013. ISBN 978-1448164202.
  • Only Fools and Stories. Century. 2017. ISBN 978-1780897950.
  • A Del of A Life: Lessons I've Learned. Century. 2020. ISBN 978-1529125115.

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1964 Crossroads Bert Bradshaw
1965 BBC Christmas Pantomime King Goose
1966 Softly, Softly Smith Episode: "Overtake"
1967–1969 Do Not Adjust Your Set Various
1968 Randall and Hopkirk Abel Episode: "That's How Murder Snowballs"
1969 Counterstrike Taffy Sadler Episode: "On Ice"
1969 Canada Goose Unknown
1969–1970 Hark at Barker Various characters
1970 Doctor in the House Mr. Drobnic Episode: "What Seems to be the Trouble?"
1970 Two D's and a Dog Dingle Bell
1971 Six Dates With Barker (voice of the Phantom) Episode: "The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town"
1971 Six Dates With Barker Odd Job Man Episode: "The Odd Job"
1971 Doctor at Large Victor Bligh Episode: "Let's Start at the Beginning"
1972 His Lordship Entertains Dithers
1973 Seven of One Various 2 Episodes: "Open All Hours" and "I'll Fly You for a Quid"
1973 White Cargo Albert Director:Ray Selfe
1974 Doctor at Sea Manuel Sanchez
1974 It's Only Me: Whoever I Am Quentin
1974 The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs Edgar Briggs
1975; 1977 Porridge Blanco Webb Episodes: "Happy Release", "No Peace for the Wicked", and "Pardon Me"[24]
1976 Lucky Feller Shorty Mopstead
1976–1985 Open All Hours Granville
1977–1981 A Sharp Intake of Breath Peter Barnes
1981–2014 Only Fools and Horses Derek "Del Boy" Trotter
1987 Porterhouse Blue Skullion
1989 A Bit of a Do Ted Simcock
1990 Amongst Barbarians George
1991–1993 The Darling Buds of May Pop Larkin
1991 Only Fools and Horses Don Vincenzo Occhetti Episode: "Miami Twice Part 2: Oh to Be in England"
1992–2010 A Touch of Frost DI Jack Frost
1993 The Bullion Boys Billy Mac
1998 March in Windy City Steven March
2001 Dora the Explorer The Echo Bush (UK Dub) [25] Episode: The Chocolate Tree
2001 Micawber Micawber
2002–2004 The Quest Dave
2005–2007 Diamond Geezer Des
2005–2018 Doraemon Additional Voices[25]
2005–2009 Little Einsteins Additional Voices [25]
2006 Ghostboat Jack Hardy
2006 Terry Pratchett's Hogfather Alberto Malich
2006 Cartoon Kings Narrator
2006 Prehistoric Park Narrator
2008 Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic Rincewind
2009 Albert's Memorial Harry
2010 David Jason: The Battle of Britain Presenter
2010 Come Rain Come Shine Don
2011 David Jason's Great Escapes Himself
2011–2012 The Royal Bodyguard Captain Guy Hubble
2013– Still Open All Hours Granville A revival of the original series, featuring original cast members Lynda Baron and Maggie Ollerenshaw.
2017 The Story of Only Fools and Horses Himself Six-part documentary series about the sitcom Only Fools and Horses.
2017 David Jason: My Life On Screen Himself Three-part documentary series where Sir David Jason embarks on a journey across Britain to explore his career in television.
2017 David Jason's Secret Service Himself
2019 David Jason: Planes, Trains and Automobiles Himself Five-part documentary series about motor vehicles.
2020 David Jason's Great British Inventions Himself Four-part documentary series exploring his favourite British inventions.
Flying For Britain with David Jason Himself 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain documentary.
David Jason: Britain's Favourite TV Star Himself Channel 5 documentary; a retrospective look at David Jason's career.
2021 The Lancaster Bomber at 80 with David Jason Himself & Narrator Documentary celebrating the history of the iconic World War II bomber.[26]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1972 Under Milk Wood Nogood Boyo
1973 White Cargo Albert Toddey
1975 Royal Flash The Mayor
1977 Wombling Free Womble Voice
1978 The Odd Job Odd Job Man
1999 All the King's Men Captain Frank Beck
2010 All the Way Up Director

Animation[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1978 The Water Babies Various characters
1981–1992 Danger Mouse Danger Mouse
Isambard Sinclair (narrator)
Buggles Pigeon
Count Duckula
Various characters
1983–1990 The Wind in the Willows Toad
Chief Weasel
Billy Rabbit
1988–1993 Count Duckula Count Duckula
Various characters
1989 The BFG The BFG
1991–1992 Victor and Hugo Hugo
Interpol
Count Duckula (1 episode)
Danger Mouse (1 episode)
1993 The Adventures of Dawdle the Donkey Rola Polar
1994 Felidae Jesaja English dub
1995 The Snow Queen Eric
1998 Father Christmas and the Missing Reindeer Father Christmas
1999 Angelmouse Quilly and Character Voices
2010 Muddle Earth Randalf
2014–2018 Pip Ahoy! Skipper
Pasty

Radio[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
Unknown Mostly Monkhouse Various characters
1970–1998 Week Ending Various characters
1977–1981 The Jason Explanation Various characters
1978 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Captain of the "B" Ark
Caveman
2008 Book at Bedtime: A Christmas Carol Narrator BBC Radio 4[27]
2016-7 Desolation Jests BBC Radio 4

Awards and nominations[edit]

Jason has won a total of eighteen awards between 1986 and 2011. His hit comedy show, Only Fools and Horses won many awards. His crime drama, A Touch of Frost, has also won and been nominated numerous times. Porterhouse Blue, The Second Quest, All the King's Men and A Bit of a Do have won David Jason one award each.

Year Group Award Film/Show Result
1985 BAFTA TV Award Best Light Entertainment Performance Only Fools and Horses Nominated
1986 BAFTA TV Award Best Light Entertainment Performance Only Fools and Horses Nominated
1987 BAFTA TV Award Best Actor Porterhouse Blue Won
1988 BAFTA TV Award Best Light Entertainment Performance Only Fools and Horses Nominated
1989 BAFTA TV Award Best Light Entertainment Performance Only Fools and Horses Nominated
1990 British Comedy Award Best TV Comedy Actor A Bit of a Do Won
1990 BAFTA TV Award Best Light Entertainment Performance Only Fools and Horses Won
1992 British Comedy Award Best TV Comedy Actor The Darling Buds of May Won
1996 National Television Award Most Popular Comedy Performer Only Fools and Horses Won
1996 National Television Award Special Recognition Award N/a Won
1996 BAFTA TV Award Best Comedy Performance Only Fools and Horses Won
1997 British Comedy Award Best TV Comedy Actor Only Fools and Horses Won
1997 National Television Award Most Popular Actor Only Fools and Horses Won
1999 National Television Award Most Popular Actor A Touch of Frost Nominated
2000 National Television Award Most Popular Actor A Touch of Frost Nominated
2000 TV Quick Award Best Actor A Touch of Frost
All the King's Men
Won
2001 British Comedy Award Lifetime Achievement Award N/a Won
2001 TV Quick Award Best Actor A Touch of Frost Won
2001 National Television Award Most Popular Actor A Touch of Frost Won
2001 National Television Award Most Popular Comedy Performer Only Fools and Horses Won
2002 National Television Award Most Popular Actor A Touch of Frost Won
2002 National Television Award Most Popular Comedy Performance Only Fools and Horses Nominated
2002 TV Quick Award Best Actor A Touch of Frost Won
2003 National Television Award Most Popular Actor A Touch of Frost Nominated
2003 BAFTA TV Award BAFTA Academy Fellowship N/a Won
2003 National Television Award Most Popular Actor The Second Quest
A Touch of Frost
Nominated
2011 National Television Award Outstanding Drama Performance A Touch of Frost Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ News, Manchester Evening; 17:01, 1 Dec 2005Updated18:48 (1 December 2005). "David Jason marries in secret". Manchester Evening News.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Morgan, Sion; 07:01, 13 Oct 2013Updated17:15 (13 October 2013). "Sir David Jason opens up on tragic romance with Welsh actress". WalesOnline.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "David Jason". bradleywalsh.co.uk. 9 September 2006. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  4. ^ Hughes, Heather. "David Jason". TV.com. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  5. ^ Jardine, Cassandra (4 August 2004). "The return of the secondary modern". The Daily Telegraph.
  6. ^ Wilmut, Roger (1980). From Fringe to Flying Circus: Celebrating a Unique Generation of Comedy 1960–1980. Eyre Methuen. p. 181.
  7. ^ "Jason to receive this year's BAFTA Fellowship". BBC Online. 7 April 2003. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  8. ^ "David Jason rejected for lead role in Some Mothers Do 'Ave Em because BBC execs thought he lacked 'star quality'". The Daily Telegraph. 26 March 2021. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  9. ^ "Del Boy Falls Through the Bar | Only Fools and Horses | BBC Comedy Greats" – via www.youtube.com.
  10. ^ Jason, David (2013). David Jason: My Life. Random House. p. 1216. ISBN 9781448164202.
  11. ^ "Sir David quitting Touch of Frost". BBC News. 16 September 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
  12. ^ "Come Rain Come Shine".
  13. ^ "No. 58099". The London Gazette. 15 September 2006. p. 12615.
  14. ^ "Del Boy knighted in Queen's list". BBC News. 11 June 2005. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
  15. ^ "David Jason collects knighthood". BBC News. 1 December 2005. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
  16. ^ Alleyne, Richard (27 February 2001). "David Jason's new role as father at 61". The Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
  17. ^ "The Shark Trust – Sir David Jason". sharktrust.org.
  18. ^ Leigh, Jane (30 May 2014). "'Del Boy' Marks Trust's £1 Million Moment". raf.mod.uk. Archived from the original on 29 August 2017. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
  19. ^ Deacon, Michael (11 October 2008). "David Jason: Interview". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  20. ^ "David Jason shares his Only Fools and Horses secrets". The Daily Telegraph. 10 October 2013. Archived from the original on 13 October 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  21. ^ "Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane named 2013 Book of the Year". 27 December 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  22. ^ "A Del Of A Life". 2 April 2020.
  23. ^ Deen, Sarah (24 September 2017). "David Jason pictured arriving on set with two security guards after 'credible threat' on his life". Metro. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  24. ^ Hildred, Stafford; Ewbank, Tim (2012). Sir David Jason – A Life of Laughter. John Blake Publishing. ISBN 9781782190721.
  25. ^ a b c "David Jason". IMDb. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  26. ^ "The Lancaster Bomber at 80 with David Jason". radiotimes.com. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  27. ^ – 17:00. "Radio 4 Programmes – Book at Bedtime: A Christmas Carol". BBC. Retrieved 13 June 2012.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)

External links[edit]