Sir David Jason shares tribute as Only Fools and Horses legend John Challis dies
Sir David Jason has spoken out following the death of his close friend and Only Fools and Horses co-star John Challis.
Challis, who starred as second-hand car dealer Boycie in the show, died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 79 after a long battle with cancer.
Sir David, who starred alongside him as Del Boy, said in a statement: ‘It is with much sadness to hear that John Challis, a dear friend, has passed away.
‘He was a wonderful actor, a Gentleman in the true sense of the word and I know he will be missed by so many. We had known each other for well over 40 years when he appeared in the second episode of Only Fools and Horses as Boycie.
‘A character so well loved by the many fans of that show so I am pleased that he witnessed the outpouring of admiration recently shown for the 40th Anniversary of the first episode in 1981. I send my love and condolences to his wife, Carol.’
The 81-year-old has joined many others in paying tribute to Challis, including the actor’s on-screen wife, Sue Holderness, who played Marlene.
She said in a statement: ‘Marlene without Boycie – it’s unthinkable. John Challis was my partner on screen and stage for 36 years and my beloved friend. R.I.P. darling John. I will miss you every day.’
The news was announced in a statement from Challis’ family, which read: ‘It is with heavy hearts that we bring you such sad news.
‘Our dear friend and yours, John Challis, has died peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer.
‘He will always be loved for being ‘Boycie’ and leaves a great legacy of work that will continue to bring pleasure and smiles for many years to come.
‘Please respect the privacy of John’s family and friends at this difficult time, and be assured that in the future there will be an occasion to celebrate John’s life – when everyone will be welcome to come along.’
Challis starred in Only Fools And Horses alongside Sir David and Nicholas Lyndhurst for 22 years before going on to star in the spin-off The Green Green Grass.
Boycie, a cigar-smoking businessman with a mocking laugh, was married to the feisty Marlene and regularly butted heads with Sir David’s Del Boy.
Besides his role in Only Fools And Horses, Challis also portrayed Monty Staines from the seventh series onwards in the ITV sitcom Benidorm from 2015 to 2018.
His family has requested that instead of flowers, donations are made to his favoured animal charities – Cuan Wildlife Rescue, Tusk and The British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
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