Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Britain says "Happy Birthday" to a telelevision actor called David Jason who played old men when he was young and middle aged men when he was old

The actor, David Jason is 71 today. What you may not have known about David was, that he :

* was brought up in North Finchley in London and after leaving school trained as an electrician.

* joined a repertory theatre, where, when he was 15 years old in 1955, was spotted by a local drama critic, who praised his performance in a production as the highlight of the evening for 'looking like a young James Cagney, and playing, though only 16, with the ease of a born actor'.

* discovered that there was already a David 'White' as an actor and took the stage name 'Jason' from his favourite 1963 film at the time, 'Jason and the Argonauts.'

* at 24, started his tv career, in 1964 and got a break in the children's comedy series 'Do Not Adjust Your Set' along with Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Denise Coffey and Michael Palin.

* was considered for the role of Lance-Corporal Jack Jones in the comedy 'Dad's Army' becasuse because its scriptwriter, David Croft had been very impressed with his ability to play a man much older than his real age.

* was recruited in 1969 to appear as 'Dithers', the 100 year old gardener, in 'Hark At Barker', starring Ronnie Barker as Lord Rustless.

* in 1976, starred in 'Lucky Feller', about two brothers in South-East London in a series which was a forerunner to 'Only Fools And Horses', where he played the 'dopey' brother and drove around in a comical bubble car.

* while trying to impress a girl, casually leaned back against the bar, without his knowing that barman had just lifted it behind his back, and fell through and reenacted this later in 'Only Fools And Horses'.

* played junior employee 'Granville' in the 1976-85 comedy series 'Open All Hours', starring Barker as the miserly proprietor of a corner shop.

* featured in Ronnie Barker's prison-based comedy 'Porridge', as the elderly prisoner Blanco .

* in 1981, found his most enduring and popular role as Derek, 'Del-Boy' Trotter in the BBC situation comedy 'Only Fools and Horses' as a 'wide-boy' who made a dubious living in South London, trading in shoddy, stolen, and counterfeit goods, assisted by his brother Rodney and Grandad.

* popularised some cockney slang words and phrases such as the mild insults : "dipstick" and "plonker", and the celebratory "lovely jubbly" and, as the elder brother to Rodney, produced classic comic scenes and touching serious moments.

* played 'Pa Larkin' in the rural idyll 'The Darling Buds of May' with a young Catherine Zeta Jones which was based on the H. E. Bates novel.

* appeared as Detective Inspector Jack Frost in the long-running TV series 'A Touch of Frost'.

* lived with long-term partner Myfanwy Talog, a Welsh actress, for 18 years and nursed her through cancer until her death in 1995 and then organised his own charity, 'The David Jason Trust', for terminally ill children.

* in 1999, starred as 'Captain Frank Beck' in BBC's drama 'All the King's Men' about the Sandringham regiment lost in World War I.

* became a father for the first time in 2001 at the age of 61 when his girlfriend, gave birth to a baby girl.

* was given a knighthood by the Queen in 2005.

* in 2006, he was voted by the general public as 'Number 1' in ITV's poll of 'TV's Greatest Stars'.

* in 2008, announced that he would retire his role as Detectitive Inspector Jack Frost in 'Touch of Frost' after 16 years with the finale in 2010. The retirement age for a police officer is 55 and David was 70.


The photo I took last summer of David's car in 'Only Fools and Horses', in a local supermarket.

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