The Story of Only Fools and Horses: Sir David Jason interview

We couldn’t have made The Story of Only Fools and Horses without the legendary actor at the heart of the show, David Jason. We caught up with the man who inhabited the iconic Derek 'Del Boy' Trotter so brilliantly.

Sir David Jason interview

What made you agree to make this new five-part series, The Story of Only Fools and Horses, which is showing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Gold?

After many attempts to attract me to doing this series over the years, I thought long and hard about it. I finally agreed when I realised just how popular Only Fools and Horses still is to a modern audience. They keep producing books and showing repeats because there is still such demand for it. So, I thought it would be a good idea to do a once-and-for-all, definitive series about it, and that would be it.

What did you like most about making The Story of Only Fools and Horses?

I really enjoyed remembering the good times - and they were all good times. On Only Fools and Horses, we were very much a family. That included everyone from the writer and the director to the props boy. We were a family working together to try and make a success of it. We wanted to bring John Sullivan's brilliant writing to a wider public.

What made John's writing so strong?

Because I've been asked to remember quite a lot while filming The Story of Only Fools and Horses, I've had time to consider John's genius in detail. It occurred to me that part of it was that he was so talented at being able to create a very clever story in each episode, so that it always had a kick in the tail. The viewer went on that journey with the characters, and it always contained a lot of humour. John also had an amazing ability to make ordinary people tell interesting stories.

What else makes John one of the all-time great sitcom writers?

He never had to resort to bad language. His humour was so good because he could tell you what was on his mind just by being a clever writer. He didn't have to spell it out.

Why do you think everyone loves Del Boy so much?

Because he's Mr Everybody. We can all relate to him. Like him, we all think we can become millionaires and that will be the solution to all our difficulties, but of course it never works out. There are people like him all over Britain. And now, amazingly enough, his popularity has spread all over the world.

Del seems a quintessentially UK character but they can relate to him overseas?

I've heard of people in other countries who don't speak English, but who will still say "lovely jubbly" to British tourists. People have obviously told them that if you want to get on with the English, you just have to say "lovely jubbly"!

Does Only Fools and Horses still chime with contemporary audiences?

Absolutely. Its attraction still holds today. The characters are universal. It still strikes a chord with people. Today there are whole new generations of viewers watching repeats of Only Fools and Horses on UKTV's Gold, and they're all loving it! I'm so delighted that people are still enjoying Only Fools and Horses.