Only Fools and Horses

David Jason wanted to distance himself from Del Boy role: ‘Gets you down’

Sir David Jason is best known for starring as Derek “Del Boy” Trotter in the hit ‘80s sit-com Only Fools and Horses. He is one of the most beloved actors on British TV, with people rewatching his performances on the show to this day. However, the actor has revealed being Del Boy hasn’t been a blessing on his career.

Sir David has admitted there have been times when he wanted to distance himself from the Del Boy character.

“Del did cost me a few pieces of work along the way,” he recalled.

He added “in other cases, I had to fight really hard just to be able to get into the room and start persuading people that there was more to me than a south London wheeler-dealer”.

At times in his career he couldn’t go anywhere without people shouting at him “Oi, Del!”.

David Jason wanted to distance himself from Del Boy role: ‘Gets you down’
Only Fools and Horses: David Jason’s role as Del Boy has been a set back in his career (Image: BBC, Getty)

“It does get you down a little bit,” he said. “I’m delighted it’s brought so much pleasure to so many people.”

But being confronted by fans of the hit comedy can be “tiring” he admitted to Bucks Free Press.

“There are only so many times that you can talk about falling through a bar or trying to not catch a chandelier,” added David.

That is why for decades he has avoided appearing at Only Fools and Horses conventions, which have been held since 1998, despite strong demand by fans.

David Jason wanted to distance himself from Del Boy role: ‘Gets you down’
Only Fools and Horses: David Jason rose to fame with his role as Del Boy (Image: BBC)

He wrote in his memoir: “Over the years I felt that it was a bit exposing.

“I never realised how important it was to so many people.

“I thought it was just a few serious fans who would gather and want to talk about the show.”

But he realised how much more meaningful his role as Del Boy was to fans when he attended his first convention in February of 2020.

“I didn’t realise how it had changed so many people’s lives, and once I started to realise that, I thought perhaps I should go and see them and thank them for being such loyal viewers.”

Sir David declined invitations in the past because he feared he would disappoint fans.

Fearing not being able to hide behind a John Sullivan script, the star felt fans would still expect him to behave as Del Boy.

It comes after David admitted he isn’t a fan of one of the show’s icons – the Reliant Robin

Sir David has said his character Del Boy’s famous yellow Reliant Regal “was probably the most uncomfortable, noisy, smelly car ever,” likening it to “hell on three wheels”.

“It had a crashed gearbox and the seats were all ripped but we had an affection for it” he said, adding he “wouldn’t drive one now if you paid me”.

Fortunately not everyone thinks about the iconic motor the same way as Sir David.

The one used by the Trotters has attained cult status and is currently on display at the Cars of the Stars exhibition at the National Motor Museum, in the village of Beaulieu in Hampshire.

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