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…
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