Berkshire Life - - CELEBRITY INTERVIEW -

is a nice me­mo­rial to him and his work. They picked an ex­cel­lent school for me in send­ing me to board at Leighton Park. It was cre­ated for Quak­ers in the late 19th cen­tury and set in what seemed to me to be a huge and lovely park. Com­ing from Lin­colnshire it was ideal for me re­ally be­cause I was used to open coun­try­side and Leighton Park cer­tainly had that. I don’t think I could have coped with go­ing to a school in the mid­dle of a city at that stage in my life.

“The school was quite strict but prob­a­bly no more than I was used to at home, but for some rea­son, I did rebel. Per­haps it was home­sick­ness or just grow­ing up, but I was a bad lad for a while. Aca­dem­i­cally I was do­ing all right, but I did tend to talk back at the teach­ers and was of­ten in trou­ble for that – quite rightly.

“I was caught drink­ing and that was the end of it. I was ex­pelled and as a re­sult I didn’t get to take my A lev­els, for which I was study­ing. It was all out of char­ac­ter. The school did their best but I was go­ing through a strange phase. I wasn’t like that be­fore and I don’t think I could ever be de­scribed as a rebel dur­ing my life since then.

“I don’t look back and re­gret things very much be­cause you

“Yes, it’s true,” says Jim. “I was of­fered the part of Del Boy but I didn’t feel that it was quite right for me. I was prob­a­bly too tall for a start and the Jack the Lad char­ac­ter was not quite my style. As it turned out, David Ja­son was per­fect and he played Del Boy far bet­ter than I could have done. I was happy as [bent cop­per] Roy Slater. Only Fools and Horses was a great se­ries. For me it was an hon­our to have been part of one of the most suc­cess­ful com­edy shows in tele­vi­sion his­tory and work along­side

David Ja­son and Ni­cholas Lyn­d­hurst; a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence and a lot of fun. When­ever I went back it was like vis­it­ing the fam­ily again. There was al­ways a great at­mos­phere.” can­not change what was, only what might be, but I think I could have en­joyed Leighton Park more and prob­a­bly would have been suc­cess­ful with my ex­ams be­cause they did make a big effort for me. I have some good mem­o­ries of be­ing at Leighton Park and from what I gather there have been many suc­cess­ful pupils who have emerged from there and gone on to great things.”

Jim did, of course, go on to great things. He is of­ten spot­ted in the street these days but be­cause he tends to keep a low pro­file many peo­ple are not quite sure if they have spot­ted the Os­car win­ner and the star of so many movies, or some­one who just looks like that bloke who played Roy Slater in Only Fools and Horses. “I have never been in­ter­ested in be­ing fa­mous for the sake of it,” says Jim. “I am just grate­ful that it all worked out and that I’m an ac­tor.”

He cer­tainly is. To Hol­ly­wood he is a cel­e­brated Os­car win­ner, to tele­vi­sion view­ers he will al­ways be Roy Slater, the bent cop­per, but Jim Broad­bent just sees him­self as an ac­tor try­ing his best to do his job.

LEFT: Jim Broad­bent at the world pre­miere of King of Thieves, held at the Vue West End in 2018

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