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David Jason

David Jason millies (cropped).jpg
Jason in 2012
David John White

(1940-02-02) 2 February 1940 (age 84)
Occupation Actor
Years active 1963–present
Gill Hinchcliffe
(m. 2005)
Partner(s) Myfanwy Talog (1977–1995; her death)
Children 2
Relatives Arthur White (brother)

Sir David John White OBE (born 2 February 1940), known professionally by his stage name David Jason, is an English actor. He is best known for his roles as Derek "Del Boy" Trotter in the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses, Detective Inspector Jack Frost in A Touch of Frost, Granville in Open All Hours and Still Open All Hours, and Pop Larkin in The Darling Buds of May, as well as voicing Mr. Toad in The Wind in the Willows, the BFG in the 1989 film, and the title characters of Danger Mouse and Count Duckula.

In September 2006, Jason topped the poll to find TV's 50 Greatest Stars, as part of ITV's 50th anniversary celebrations. He was knighted in 2005 for services to acting and comedy. Jason has won four British Academy Television Awards (BAFTAs), (1988, 1991, 1997, 2003), four British Comedy Awards (1990, 1992, 1997, 2001) and seven National Television Awards (1996 twice, 1997, 2001 twice, 2002 and 2011).

Early life

Jason's father, Arthur Robert White, was a porter at Billingsgate Fish Market, and his mother, Olwen Jones, was from Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, Wales, and worked as a charwoman. She gave birth to twin boys at North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton, London, in February 1940, but Jason's twin brother died, making him a twinless twin. He chose the stage name Jason because he liked Jason and the Argonauts, as the stage name "David White" was already taken, and not in tribute to his dead twin as has sometimes been claimed.

Jason lived at Lodge Lane, North Finchley, and attended Northfield Secondary Modern school after failing the 11-plus in 1951. Upon leaving school, Jason wanted to be an actor, influenced by his brother, but their father advised that he first learn a trade. He trained as an electrician for six years, before retiring and becoming a struggling actor.

Jason's elder brother is the actor Arthur White, born in 1933. The two appeared together in the crime drama A Touch of Frost, with Arthur playing police archivist Ernie Trigg; and again in 2008, in the comic fantasy The Colour of Magic, where Arthur played a character called "Rerpf". He also appeared briefly with his brother in two episodes of The Darling Buds of May.

When Jason was 15, he spent a year working as a mechanic's assistant. When he turned 16, he was eligible to register for an apprenticeship, but decided against it.

Radio and TV career

Early years

Jason started his television career in 1964 playing the part of Bert Bradshaw in Crossroads. In 1967, he played spoof super-hero Captain Fantastic, among other roles, in the children's comedy series Do Not Adjust Your Set (Rediffusion London/ITV) with Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Denise Coffey, and Michael Palin. Humphrey Barclay, who recruited Jason to appear in Do Not Adjust Your Set (partly to counter the more highbrow style of Idle, Jones, and Palin), admired his sense of timing. The programme ended in 1969, and the character then appeared for a time in the Thames Television children's programme Magpie. Jason appeared in the BBC comedy series Hugh and I in 1967, which starred Hugh Lloyd and Terry Scott as two friends who lived together in South London. He appeared in the Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) episode "That's How Murder Snowballs" (1969) as Abel, a framed performer in a major London theatre.

In 1968, Jason was initially cast in the role of Lance Corporal Jones in the Jimmy Perry and David Croft BBC comedy Dad's Army. Croft had been very impressed with the actor and knew that he had the talent to play a man much older than his real age. However, BBC executive Bill Cotton overruled him, casting Clive Dunn because he was better known. According to Jason, "I was cast at 12 o'clock and sacked by three." Jason also subsequently missed out on the starring role of Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em in 1973 because BBC executives at the time believed that he lacked "star quality".

In the 1970s, he also acted in radio comedies, including the weekly topical satire Week Ending (in which he regularly played such figures as then UK Foreign Secretary Dr David Owen) and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (as the "B Ark Captain" in the sixth episode). Jason also appeared in The Next Programme Follows Almost Immediately and made appearances on panel games such as The Impressionists as well as his own series, The Jason Explanation. In the early 1970s, he appeared in Mostly Monkhouse.

Jason appeared on stage in the West End in the farce No ... Please, We're British playing Brian Runnicles for 18 months in 1973. He also starred with Valerie Leon in a stage comedy "Darling Mr London" which toured in 1975.

Jason appeared in variety shows as the supporting act of Dick Emery and his performances caught the attention of Ronnie Barker. Jason was recruited to appear in Hark at Barker (LWT, 1969), starring opposite Barker's Lord Rustless, as Dithers, the 100-year old gardener. There was also a sequel, His Lordship Entertains (1972) for the BBC. Jason played idealistic employee Granville in the first programme of the comedy anthology Seven of One (1973), called Open All Hours (BBC) and starring Barker as the curmudgeonly proprietor of a corner shop.

Four series of Open All Hours were made from 1976 to 1985. He featured in Barker's Porridge (BBC), a prison comedy, as the elderly Blanco in three episodes. Jason also appeared with Barker in various disguises in The Two Ronnies, including providing the "raspberry" sound effect for The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town.

Jason starred in London Weekend Television's Lucky Feller (1975–76), written by Terence Frisby and produced by Humphrey Barclay. About two brothers in south-east London, the series was in many ways a forerunner to Only Fools And Horses, only Jason was in the more dopey 'Rodney' role with Peter Armitage playing the cleverer of the two. The brothers drove around in a comical bubble car, a precursor to the famous Trotters' van; and there was even the joke where, just as he was trying to impress the girl (Cheryl Hall), Jason casually leaned back against the bar, without his knowing that barman had just lifted it behind his back, and fell through. This situation was re-enacted in Only Fools And Horses. He played the lead role of Peter Barnes in the ATV sitcom A Sharp Intake of Breath (1977–81), alongside Alun Armstrong and Richard Wilson. In 1979, he appeared as Buttons in the pantomime Cinderella at Newcastle's Theatre Royal, starring Leah Bell and Bobby Thompson, produced by Michael Grayson and directed by John Blackmore.

Children's television

In the 1980s, Jason developed a working partnership with Cosgrove Hall, and was a voice-over artist for a number of children's television productions. This included voices for Danger Mouse, The BFG, Count Duckula, Hugo from Victor and Hugo, and Toad from The Wind in the Willows, all produced by Cosgrove Hall for Thames Television/ITV. He provided the voice of Father Christmas in Father Christmas and the Missing Reindeer, Rola Polar in The Adventures of Dawdle the Donkey, Angelmouse, and did voices in animated films including Wombling Free and The Water Babies.

Transition into a leading man

David Jason millies
Jason with Corporal Oliver Kennedy and Hermione Norris at the Sun Military Awards in 2012

In 1981, Jason found his best known role, Del Boy Trotter in the BBC situation comedy Only Fools and Horses, created by John Sullivan. Del is a wide boy who makes a dishonest living in Peckham, south London, trading in broken, stolen, and counterfeit goods. He is assisted by his brother Rodney (played by Nicholas Lyndhurst) and Grandad (played by Lennard Pearce) and, in later episodes, Uncle Albert (played by Buster Merryfield).

In 1989, Jason starred as Ted Simcock in the ITV drama series A Bit of a Do, aired from January to December.

In 1999, Jason starred as Captain Frank Beck in BBC's feature-length drama All the King's Men about the Sandringham regiment lost in World War I. He earned acclaim for a string of serious roles. These include Skullion in Porterhouse Blue (for Channel 4), Sidney "Pop" Larkin in the rural idyll The Darling Buds of May (Yorkshire Television/ITV), based on the H. E. Bates novel, which also featured Catherine Zeta-Jones.

In 1992, he signed a golden handcuffs deal with ITV to star as Detective Inspector Jack Frost in the long-running TV series A Touch of Frost (Yorkshire Television/ITV). In September 2006, he was voted by the general public as No. 1 in ITV's poll of TV's Greatest Stars. In December 2006, he starred in Terry Pratchett's Hogfather on Sky1 as Albert. In early 2007, he starred in Diamond Geezer (Granada Television/ITV). This series ran for 3 episodes of 90 minutes each. There was a pilot in 2005. In March 2008, he starred as Rincewind in Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic, and in the two part ITV drama Ghostboat.

On 16 September 2008, Jason announced that he would step down from his role as Jack Frost after 16 years. Three new episodes of the show were shown in autumn 2008, and were followed by a two-part finale in 2010. Approached by BBC1 controller Danny Cohen in early 2011, he read three scripts and agreed to shoot a pilot for The Royal Bodyguard, which was shown at the Edinburgh Film Festival. The pilot episode aired on the BBC on Boxing Day but received a poor critical response. The series was axed after six episodes. In 2010, Jason starred in a made-for-TV movie Come Rain Come Shine with Alison Steadman for ITV about an elderly Millwall supporter.

Since 2013, he has starred in Still Open All Hours. It features many original cast members (and a portrait of Ronnie Barker as Arkwright) and is still written by Roy Clarke, the original writer and creator of the show. He has also starred as Captain Skipper, a sea captain, sea dog and Pip's uncle in the animated series Pip Ahoy!.

In December 2021, Jason made a surprise cameo appearance on the Christmas Special of Strictly Come Dancing in the role of Del Boy to pass on a special message to The Repair Shop's Jay Blades, who was performing to the Only Fools and Horses theme tune.


In 1993, Jason was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), and 12 years later, in the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 2005, he was knighted for services to acting and comedy. On the day it was announced, many British newspapers used the headline "Arise Sir Del Boy" or similar, in reference to his most famous role. Upon receiving the knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on 1 December 2005, he said he was "humbled" by the "fantastic tribute".

Personal life

Jason lived with his long-term girlfriend, Welsh actress Myfanwy Talog, for 18 years and nursed her through breast cancer until she died in 1995.

On 26 February 2001, Jason became a father at the age of 61 when his girlfriend, 41-year-old Gill Hinchcliffe, gave birth to a baby girl, Sophie Mae, born in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury. Jason and Hinchcliffe married in 2005 and live in Ellesborough, Buckinghamshire.

In 2022, Jason discovered that he had a daughter, Abi Harris, of whom he had been previously unaware, who was born in 1970 following a brief relationship with actress Jennifer Hill.

Jason is a patron of the Shark Trust, a United Kingdom registered charity working to advance the worldwide conservation of sharks through science, education, influence and action. He has also been Honorary Vice Patron of the Royal International Air Tattoo since 1999, and on 29 May 2014, presented a cheque on behalf of the Fairford-based RAF Charitable Trust for £125,000 to the British RAF Air Cadet Organisation, to fund flight simulators for Air Cadets. Jason is a qualified helicopter pilot.

Jason has expressed a negative opinion of the European Union, being quoted in a 2012 interview with "the Germans want to run Europe. The irony is that here we are, the world has changed, and the Germans want to run Europe. They failed to do it by war, twice. What is it? Is this the Fourth Reich?"

In October 2013, he released his autobiography called David Jason: My Life. It was shortlisted for the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards "Best Book of the Year". A second volume, Only Fools and Stories: From Del Boy to Granville, Pop Larkin to Frost was published in October 2017. Penguin Books announced A Del Of A Life, which is Jason's third autobiography and was published in October 2020.



Year Title Role Notes
1965 Mother Goose King Goose Television film
1966 Softly, Softly Smith Episode: "Over Take..."
1966 Crossroads King's Oak Bert Bradshaw 18 episodes
1967 Hugh and I Unknown Episode: "Chinese Crackers"
1968 Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Abel Episode: "That's How Murder Snowballs"
1969 Galton and Simpson Comedy Gordon Episode: "Don't Dilly Dally on the Way"
1967–1969 Do Not Adjust Your Set Various 21 episodes
1969 Counterstrike Taffy Sadler Episode: "On Ice"
1969 Canada Goose Unknown Television film
1970 Doctor in the House Mr. Drobnic Episode: "What Seems to be the Trouble?"
1970 Two D's and a Dog Dingle Bell 6 episodes
1969–1970 Hark at Barker Various characters 11 episodes
1971 Six Dates With Barker Clive Episode: "The Odd Job"
1971 Doctor at Large Victor Bligh

The Toad

2 episodes
1972 His Lordship Entertains Dithers 7 episodes
1973 Seven of One Granville Episode: "Open All Hours"
1974 Doctor at Sea Manuel Sanchez Episode: "Go Away Stowaway!"
1974 Comedy Playhouse Quentin Episode: "It's Only Me: Whoever I Am"
1974 The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs Edgar Briggs 13 episodes
1975–1976 Lucky Feller Shorty Mopstead 14 episodes
1975–1977 Porridge Blanco 3 episodes
1977 The Sound of Laughter Peter Barnes Episode: "A Sharp Intake of Breath"
1978 The Les Dawson Show Various Episode: #1.1
1967–1979 The Dick Emery Show Unknown 2 episodes
1977–1981 A Sharp Intake of Breath Peter Barnes 22 episodes
1982 Only Fools and Horses: "Christmas Trees" Derek "Del Boy" Trotter TV short
1982 The Funny Side of Christmas Derek "Del Boy" Trotter


Television film
1984 Dramarama Mr. Stabs Episode: "Mr. Stabs"
1976–1985 Open All Hours Granville 25 episodes
1987 Porterhouse Blue Skullion 4 episodes
1988 Ariel Liquid (advertisement) Mrs B With his co-star, Nicholas Lyndhurst, as Mr H
1989 Jackanory Storyteller 4 episodes
1989 A Bit of a Do Ted Simcock 13 episodes
1990 Single Voices The Chemist Episode: "The Chemist"
1990 ScreenPlay George Episode: "Amongst Barbarians"
1991–1993 The Darling Buds of May Pop Larkin 20 episodes
1993 Screen One Billy Mac Episode: "The Bullion Boys"
1997 Only Fools and Horses: "Only Fools Cutaway" Derek "Del Boy" Trotter TV short
1998 March in Windy City Steven March Television film
1999 All the King's Men Captain Frank Beck Television film
2001–2002 Micawber Wilkins Micawber 4 episodes
2002 The Quest Dave
1981–2003 Only Fools and Horses Derek "Del Boy" Trotter

Don Vincenzo Occhetti

64 episodes
2004 The Second Quest Dave Television film
2004 The Final Quest Dave Television film
2006 Ghostboat Jack Hardy Television film
2006 Prehistoric Park Narrator 6 episodes
2006 Terry Pratchett's Hogfather Alberto Malich Television film
2005–2007 Diamond Geezer Des 4 episodes
2008 Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic Rincewind 2 episodes
2009 Albert's Memorial Harry Television film
1992–2010 A Touch of Frost DI Jack Frost 42 episodes
2010 Come Rain Come Shine Don Television film
2010 David Jason: The Battle of Britain Presenter
2011 David Jason's Greatest Escapes Himself
2011–2012 The Royal Bodyguard Captain Guy Hubble 6 episodes
2014 Only Fools and Horses: "Beckham in Peckham" Derek "Del Boy" Trotter TV short
2014 Porridge: Inside Out Narrator
2017 The Story of Only Fools and Horses Himself Six-part documentary series about the sitcom Only Fools and Horses.
2017 David Jason: My Life On Screen Himself Three-part documentary series where Sir David Jason embarks on a journey across Britain to explore his career in television.
2017 David Jason's Secret Service Himself
2019 David Jason: Planes, Trains and Automobiles Himself Five-part documentary series about motor vehicles.
2013–2019 Still Open All Hours Granville 41 episodes; A revival of the original series, featuring original cast members Lynda Baron and Maggie Ollerenshaw.
2020 David Jason's Great British Inventions Himself Four-part documentary series exploring his favourite British inventions.
2020 Flying For Britain with David Jason Himself 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain documentary.
2020 David Jason: Britain's Favourite TV Star Himself Channel 5 documentary; a retrospective look at David Jason's career.
2021 The Lancaster Bomber at 80 with David Jason Narrator Documentary celebrating the history of the iconic World War II bomber.
2021 Strictly Come Dancing Derek "Del Boy" Trotter (uncredited) Episode: "Christmas Special"
2022 Comedy Classics: Porridge Narrator
2023 The Apprentice Derek "Del Boy" Trotter (voice, as Sir David Jason) Episode: "Cartoons"
2024 Touring Toolshed Himself / presenter Upcoming series with Jay Blades


Year Title Role Notes
1972 Under Milk Wood Nogood Boyo
1973 White Cargo Albert Toddey
1975 Royal Flash The Mayor
1977 Wombling Free Womble Voice
1978 The Odd Job Odd Job Man
2010 All the Way Up Director


Year Title Role Notes
1978 The Water Babies Cyril the Walrus
1981–1992 Danger Mouse Danger Mouse
Isambard Sinclair (narrator)
Buggles Pigeon
Count Duckula
Various characters
90 episodes
1983 The Wind in the Willows Toad
Chief Weasel
Television film
1984–1990 The Wind in the Willows Toad
Chief Weasel
Billy Rabbit
48 episodes
1988–1993 Count Duckula Count Duckula
Various characters
46 episodes
1989 The BFG The BFG
1994 Felidae Jesaja English dub
1993–1995 The Legends of Treasure Island Additional voices 26 episodes
1995 The Snow Queen Eric
1996 The Adventures of Dawdle the Donkey Rola Polar 20 episodes
1997 Father Christmas and the Missing Reindeer Father Christmas Television film
1991–1999 Victor and Hugo: Bunglers in Crime Hugo
Count Duckula (1 episode)
Danger Mouse (1 episode)
6 episodes
1999 Angelmouse Narrator 6 episodes
2005–2018 Little Einsteins Additional Characters 69 episodes
2005–2018 Doraemon Additional Voices 947 episodes
2010 Muddle Earth Randalf 16 episodes
2014–2020 Pip Ahoy! Skipper
22 episodes


Year Title Role Notes
Unknown Mostly Monkhouse Various characters
1970–1998 Week Ending Various characters
1977–1981 The Jason Explanation Various characters
1978 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Captain of the "B" Ark
2008 Book at Bedtime: A Christmas Carol Narrator BBC Radio 4
2016–2017 Desolation Jests BBC Radio 4

Awards and nominations

Jason has won a total of eighteen awards between 1986 and 2011. His hit comedy show, Only Fools and Horses won many awards. His crime drama, A Touch of Frost, has also won and been nominated numerous times. Porterhouse Blue, The Second Quest, All the King's Men and A Bit of a Do have won David Jason one award each.

Year Group Award Film/Show Result
1985 BAFTA TV Award Best Light Entertainment Performance Only Fools and Horses Nominated
1986 BAFTA TV Award Best Light Entertainment Performance Only Fools and Horses Nominated
1987 BAFTA TV Award Best Actor Porterhouse Blue Won
1988 BAFTA TV Award Best Light Entertainment Performance Only Fools and Horses Nominated
1989 BAFTA TV Award Best Light Entertainment Performance Only Fools and Horses Nominated
1990 British Comedy Award Best TV Comedy Actor A Bit of a Do Won
BAFTA TV Award Best Light Entertainment Performance Only Fools and Horses Won
1992 British Comedy Award Best TV Comedy Actor The Darling Buds of May Won
1996 National Television Award Most Popular Comedy Performer Only Fools and Horses Won
National Television Award Special Recognition Award N/a Won
BAFTA TV Award Best Comedy Performance Only Fools and Horses Won
1997 British Comedy Award Best TV Comedy Actor Only Fools and Horses Won
National Television Award Most Popular Actor Only Fools and Horses Won
1999 National Television Award Most Popular Actor A Touch of Frost Nominated
2000 National Television Award Most Popular Actor A Touch of Frost Nominated
TV Quick Award Best Actor A Touch of Frost
All the King's Men
2001 British Comedy Award Lifetime Achievement Award N/a Won
TV Quick Award Best Actor A Touch of Frost Won
National Television Award Most Popular Actor A Touch of Frost Won
National Television Award Most Popular Comedy Performer Only Fools and Horses Won
2002 National Television Award Most Popular Actor A Touch of Frost Won
National Television Award Most Popular Comedy Performance Only Fools and Horses Nominated
TV Quick Award Best Actor A Touch of Frost Won
2003 National Television Award Most Popular Actor A Touch of Frost Nominated
BAFTA TV Award BAFTA Fellowship N/a Won
National Television Award Most Popular Actor The Second Quest
A Touch of Frost
2011 National Television Award Outstanding Drama Performance A Touch of Frost Won

See also

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