David Ja­son: My Life on screen

As a new se­ries cel­e­brates his in­cred­i­ble ca­reer, Sir David Ja­son tells TV Times why look­ing back has been bit­ter­sweet…

TV Times - - Contents - James Ramp­ton

Sat-mon / gold TV Times takes a trip down mem­ory lane with one of my favourite ac­tors, David Ja­son, as GOLD grant him a ca­reer ret­ro­spec­tive.

David Ja­son: My Life On Screen Sat, Sun, Mon / Gold / 6.00PM

Se­lect­ing ma­te­rial for the com­pre­hen­sive ca­reer ret­ro­spec­tive David Ja­son: My Life on Screen, must have been ter­ri­bly dif­fi­cult for its pro­duc­ers, be­cause there’s sim­ply so much great work to choose from.

The three-part se­ries on GOLD looks back on Sir David’s 50-year ca­reer, from cult ITV se­ries Do Not Ad­just Your Set in 1967 to tak­ing the lead role in the hit re­vival of BBC1 sit­com Open All Hours.

Here, David, 77, tells us more…

Your glo­ri­ous CV spans more than half a cen­tury and you’re still as pop­u­lar as ever. How does that make you feel?

I’ve been in the en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness all my adult life, so the idea of still reach­ing peo­ple through my work is a joy to be­hold. Did you en­joy mak­ing this se­ries? Ab­so­lutely. But the jour­ney has been a lit­tle dif­fi­cult at times be­cause you look at your­self now and then they keep show­ing you pic­tures of you when you were younger… That’s been quite a hard pill to swal­low. Your most pop­u­lar char­ac­ter is, per­haps, Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses. Why do you think the show’s fans love him so much?

We recog­nise peo­ple like him. We’ve all got a friend, a brother, a sis­ter or a cousin just like Del. The Trot­ters re­flect fam­i­lies all over the coun­try.

Another huge hit for you was The Dar­ling Buds of May. What do you think made that show so spe­cial? We had such a lovely cast. Pam Fer­ris was bril­liant – that goes with­out say­ing. Cather­ine Zeta-jones and Philip Franks were so good, too. Cather­ine was in­cred­i­bly beau­ti­ful and, of course, went to Hol­ly­wood. I taught her all she knows, but she never took me with her!

Another hit was the ITV de­tec­tive drama se­ries A Touch of Frost… Ev­ery­body loves the de­tec­tive genre. You watch on your sofa and go, ‘I reckon it’s him’, and your wife will say, ‘No, it can’t be. I bet it’s the other man’. We love noth­ing bet­ter than a who­dunit.

You starred in Open All Hours with Ron­nie Barker in the 1970s and 1980s. Are you sur­prised by the suc­cess of the fol­lowup se­ries Still Open All Hours?

I carry no il­lu­sions about the suc­cess of the show – it’s just sim­ple comic char­ac­ters be­ing silly and funny. That’s all there is to it. There are no mes­sages. I love bring­ing char­ac­ters to the screen that view­ers can re­ally en­joy. That’s what I’ve done all my life.

Have you en­joyed re­vis­it­ing all th­ese mem­o­ries while mak­ing My Life on Screen?

Yes. But I’m be­ing a bit care­ful about this, be­cause part of you is be­ing nos­tal­gic about the fun and plea­sure we had mak­ing th­ese pro­grammes. But, at the same time, you’re in­evitably ask­ing your­self, ‘Where has it all gone?’ and ‘Why aren’t we still do­ing it now?’ So look­ing back is a bit of six of one and half a dozen of the other. It’s a bit­ter­sweet ex­pe­ri­ence.

The idea of still reach­ing peo­ple through my work is a joy to be­hold

You have achieved more than most tele­vi­sion ac­tors could ever dream of. Any thoughts of wind­ing down and re­tir­ing from the busi­ness? Ab­so­lutely not: I ain’t done yet!

film / 11.55am / BBC2

made in the style of fel­low Dis­ney film Mary

Pop­pins, this has never been as pop­u­lar, but it’s not short of its own charms. An­gela Lans­bury and David Tom­lin­son ably lead the cast, but it’s prob­a­bly the car­toon se­quences that you re­mem­ber, es­pe­cially the foot­ball match fea­tur­ing a petu­lant lion king. Will it fea­ture in The World’s Great­est Kids’ Films to­mor­row (5.30pm,


Open All Hours

Only Fools and Horses

The Dar­ling Buds of May

A Touch of Frost

Vin­tage Dis­ney magic

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