David Jason

Sir David John White, OBE (born 2 February 1940), known professionally by his stage name David Jason, is an English actor, comedian, screenwriter and television producer. He is best known for his roles as Derek "Del Boy" Trotter in the BBC comedy series 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 last original appearance as Del Boy was in 2014, while Jason retired his role as Frost in 2010.


David Jason

OBE
Born
David John White

(1940-02-02) 2 February 1940
Edmonton, Middlesex, England, UK
ResidenceEllesborough, Buckinghamshire, England, UK
OccupationActor
Years active1962–present
Notable work
Open All Hours (1973-1985)
Porridge (1975–1977)
Lucky Feller (1976)
Only Fools and Horses (1981–2003)
The Darling Buds of May (1991–1993)
A Touch of Frost (1992–2010)
Still Open All Hours (2013–present)
Partner(s)
Myfanwy Talog
(m. 1977; died 1995)

Gill Hinchcliffe (m. 2005)
Children1
RelativesArthur White (brother)

In September 2006 Jason topped the poll to find TV's 50 Greatest Stars, as part of ITV's 50th anniversary celebrations.[1] He was knighted in 2005 for services to drama. 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

Jason's father, Arthur R White, was a porter at Billingsgate Fish Market, and his Welsh mother, Olwen Jones, worked as a charwoman. She gave birth to twin boys at North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton, Middlesex, in February 1940, but Jason's twin brother died during childbirth, making him a twinless twin. It is an urban myth that he chose the name Jason as a tribute to his dead twin:[2] David Jason himself has denied this. In 1984, during an interview on TV-am, David Jason admitted that the name David Jason was taken from his like of Jason and the Argonauts, as the stage name "David White" was already taken.

Jason lived at Lodge Lane, North Finchley, and attended Northfield Secondary Modern school after failing the 11-plus in 1951.[3] Upon leaving school, Jason wanted to follow in his brother's footsteps as an actor, but their father insisted that he first get a trade. So, for six years, he trained as an electrician, before giving up his girlfriend at the time, and becoming a jobbing 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

Early years

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 offset the rather intellectual style of Idle, Jones, and Palin), 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 was going to be 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 ability to play a man much older than his real age. However, Bill Cotton overruled him, casting Clive Dunn. Jason appeared in the BBC comedy series Hugh and I, which starred Hugh Lloyd and Terry Scott as two friends who lived together in south London. He appeared in Randall and Hopkirk ("That's How Murder Snowballs", 1969) as Abel, a framed performer in a major London theatre.

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). 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 London in the farce, "No Sex Please, We're British!" playing Brian Runnicles for 18 months in 1973

Jason appeared in variety shows in support of stars such as 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 hundred-year old gardener. There was also a sequel, His Lordship Entertains (1972) for the BBC. Jason played junior employee Granville in the first programme of the comedy anthology Seven of One (1973), called Open All Hours (BBC) and starring Barker as the miserly proprietor of a corner shop.

Four series of Open All Hours were made from 1976–85. 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[4]. 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

In the 1980s, Jason developed an association with Cosgrove Hall, and was a voice artist for a number of children's television productions. This included voices for Danger Mouse with Terry Scott, The BFG, Count Duckula, Hugo from Victor and Hugo, Mr. Mert from Truckers, 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.[5]

Maturity and success as a leading man

In 1981, Jason found his most popular role, Del Boy Trotter in the BBC situation comedy Only Fools and Horses, created by John Sullivan. Del-Boy is a wide-boy who makes a dubious living in Peckham, south London, trading in shoddy, 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 straight 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 an early role.

In 1992, he signed a golden handcuffs deal at 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. 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 retire his role as Jack Frost after 16 years.[6] 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 a retired Millwall supporter.[7]

As of 2018 he is starring in Still Open All Hours which started in 2013. It features many original cast members (and a portrait of Ronnie Barker in Arkwright mode) and is still written by Roy Clarke, the original writer and creator of the show.

Honours

In 1993, Jason was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), and twelve years later, in the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 2005, he was knighted for services to acting and comedy.[8] 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".[9][10]

Personal life

Jason lived with his long-term girlfriend, Welsh actress Myfanwy Talog, for eighteen years and nursed her through breast cancer until she died in 1995. This experience inspired him to create his own charity, The David Jason Trust for terminally ill children.. It also mirrored the situation 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, born in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury.[11] Jason and Hinchcliffe married in 2005.

Jason is a patron of the Shark Trust,[12] 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.[13]

Jason is a qualified helicopter pilot.[14] In October 2013, he released his autobiography called David Jason: My Life.[15] It was shortlisted for the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards "Best Book of the Year".[16] A second volume, Only Fools and Stories: From Del Boy to Granville, Pop Larkin to Frost was published in October 2017.

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.[17]

Works

Books

  • David Jason : My Life. Random House. 2013. ISBN 978-1448164202.
  • Only fools and stories. Century. 2017. ISBN 978-1780897950.

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1964CrossroadsBert Bradshaw
1966Softly, SoftlySmithEpisode: "Overtake"
1967–1969Do Not Adjust Your SetVarious
1968Randall and HopkirkAbelEpisode: "That's How Murder Snowballs"
1969CounterstrikeTaffy SadlerEpisode: "On Ice"
1969Canada GooseUnknown
1969–1970Hark at BarkerVarious characters
1970Doctor in the HouseMr. DrobnicEpisode: "What Seems to be the Trouble?"
1970Two D's and a DogDingle Bell
1971Six Dates With Barker(voice of the Phantom)Episode: "The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town"
1971Six Dates With BarkerOdd Job ManEpisode: "The Odd Job"
1971Doctor at LargeVictor BlighEpisode: "Let's Start at the Beginning"
1972His Lordship EntertainsDithers
1973Seven of OneVarious2 Episodes: "Open All Hours" and "I'll Fly You for a Quid"
1974Doctor at SeaManuel Sanchez
1974It's Only Me: Whoever I AmQuentin
1974The Top Secret Life of Edgar BriggsEdgar Briggs
1975; 1977PorridgeBlanco WebbEpisodes: "Happy Release", "No Peace for the Wicked", and "Pardon Me"[18]
1976Lucky FellerShorty Mopstead
1976–1985Open All HoursGranville
1977–1981A Sharp Intake of BreathPeter Barnes
1981–2014Only Fools and HorsesDerek "Del Boy" Trotter
1987Porterhouse BlueSkullion
1989A Bit of a DoTed Simcock
1990Amongst BarbariansGeorge
1991–1993The Darling Buds of MayPop Larkin
1992–2010A Touch of FrostDI Jack Frost
1993The Bullion BoysBilly Mac
1998March in Windy CitySteven March
2001MicawberMicawber
2002–2004The QuestDave
2005–2007Diamond GeezerDes
2006GhostboatJack Hardy
2006Terry Pratchett's HogfatherAlberto Malich
2006Cartoon KingsNarrator
2006Prehistoric ParkNarrator
2008Terry Pratchett's The Colour of MagicRincewind
2009Albert's MemorialHarry
2010David Jason: The Battle of BritainPresenter
2010Come Rain Come ShineDon
2011David Jason's Great EscapesHimself
2011–2012The Royal BodyguardCaptain Guy Hubble
2013–presentStill Open All HoursGranvilleA revival of the original series, featuring original cast members Lynda Baron and Maggie Ollerenshaw.
2017The Story of Only Fools and HorsesHimselfSix-part documentary series about the sitcom Only Fools and Horses.
2017David Jason: My Life On ScreenHimselfThree-part documentary series where Sir David Jason embarks on a journey across Britain to explore his career in television.
2017David Jason's Secret ServiceHimself
2019David Jason: Planes, Trains and AutomobilesHimselfFive-part documentary series about motor vehicles

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1972Under Milk WoodNogood Boyo
1973White CargoAlbert Toddey
1975Royal FlashThe Mayor
1977Wombling FreeWombleVoice
1978The Odd JobOdd Job Man
1999All the King's MenCaptain Frank Beck
2010All the Way UpDirector

Animation

Year Title Role Notes
1978The Water BabiesVarious characters
1981–1992Danger MouseDanger Mouse
Isambard Sinclair (narrator)
Buggles Pigeon
Count Duckula
Various characters
1983–1990The Wind in the WillowsToad
Chief Weasel
Billy Rabbit
1988–1993Count DuckulaCount Duckula
Various characters
1989The BFGThe BFG
1991–1992Victor and HugoHugo
Interpol
Count Duckula (1 episode)
Danger Mouse (1 episode)
1992TruckersMr. Mert
1993The Adventures of Dawdle the DonkeyRola Polar
1994FelidaeJesajaEnglish dub
1995The Snow QueenEric
1998Father Christmas and the Missing ReindeerFather Christmas
1999AngelmouseQuilly and Character Voices
2010Muddle EarthRandalf
2014–presentPip Ahoy!Skipper
Pasty

Radio

Year Title Role Notes
UnknownMostly MonkhouseVarious characters
1970–1998Week EndingVarious characters
1977–1981The Jason ExplanationVarious characters
1978The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyCaptain of the "B" Ark
Caveman
2008Book at Bedtime: A Christmas CarolNarratorBBC Radio 4[19]

Awards and nominations

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.

YearGroupAwardFilm/ShowResult
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

  1. "David Jason". www.bradleywalsh.co.uk. 9 September 2006. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  2. Hughes, Heather. "David Jason". TV.com. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  3. Jardine, Cassandra (4 August 2004). "The return of the secondary modern". telegraph.co.uk.
  4. Del Boy Falls Through the Bar – Only Fools and Horses – BBC Comedy Greats.
  5. Jason, David (2013). David Jason: My Life. Random House. p. 1216. ISBN 9781448164202.
  6. "Sir David quitting Touch of Frost". BBC News. 16 September 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
  7. "Come Rain Come Shine".
  8. "No. 58099". The London Gazette. 15 September 2006. p. 12615.
  9. "Del Boy knighted in Queen's list". BBC News. 11 June 2005. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
  10. "David Jason collects knighthood". BBC News. 1 December 2005. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
  11. Alleyne, Richard (27 February 2001). "David Jason's new role as father at 61". The Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
  12. "The Shark Trust – Sir David Jason". www.sharktrust.org.
  13. Leigh, Jane (30 May 2014). "'Del Boy' Marks Trust's £1 Million Moment". www.raf.mod.uk. Archived from the original on 29 August 2017. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
  14. Deacon, Michael (11 October 2008). "David Jason: Interview". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  15. "David Jason shares his Only Fools and Horses secrets". Daily Telegraph. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  16. "Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane named 2013 Book of the Year". 27 December 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  17. 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.
  18. Hildred, Stafford; Ewbank, Tim (2012). Sir David Jason – A Life of Laughter. John Blake Publishing. ISBN 9781782190721.
  19. – 17:00. "Radio 4 Programmes – Book at Bedtime: A Christmas Carol". BBC. Retrieved 13 June 2012.

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