David Jason

Sir David Jason
Born David John White
(1940-02-02) 2 February 1940
Edmonton, London, England
Occupation Actor and comedian
Years active 1964–present
Notable work Do Not Adjust Your Set (1967–1969)
Open All Hours (1973–1985)
Only Fools and Horses (1981–2003, 2014)
Danger Mouse (1981–1992)
The Wind in the Willows (1983–1990)
Count Duckula (1988–1993)
A Bit of a Do (1989)
The BFG (1989)
The Darling Buds of May (1991–1993)
A Touch of Frost (1992–2010)
Still Open All Hours (2013–present)
Spouse(s) Gill Hinchcliffe (m. 2005)
Partner(s) Myfanwy Talog
(1977–1995; her death)
Children Sophie Mae White (b. 2001)
Parent(s) Arthur R White
Olwen Jones
Relatives Arthur White (brother)
Unnamed twin brother (deceased)[1]

Sir David John White, OBE (born 2 February 1940), better known by his stage name David Jason, is an English actor and comedian. He played Derek "Del Boy" Trotter in the long-running BBC comedy series Only Fools and Horses, and Detective Inspector Jack Frost on the ITV crime drama A Touch of Frost.

Other high-profile television roles were as Granville in the sitcom Open All Hours, and Pa Larkin in the comedy drama The Darling Buds of May as well as the voices of Mr. Toad in The Wind in the Willows, Danger Mouse and Count Duckula. His last original appearance as Del Boy was in 2014, while Jason retired his role as Frost in 2010.

One of the best loved actors in British popular culture, in September 2006 Jason topped the poll to find TV's 50 Greatest Stars, as part of ITV's 50th anniversary celebrations.[2] He was knighted in 2005 for services to drama. Jason has won four British Academy Television Awards (BAFTAs), (1988, 1991, 1997, 2003), four British Comedy Awards (1990, 1992, 1997, 2001) and six National Television Awards (1997, 2001, 2002 twice, 2003, 2011). These included the British Comedy Awards Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001, and the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award in 2003.

Early life

Jason's father, Arthur R White, was a porter at Billingsgate Fish Market, and his Welsh-born mother, Olwen Jones, worked as a charwoman. She gave birth to twin boys in Edmonton, Middlesex in February 1940, but Jason's twin brother died during childbirth.[1] It is an urban myth that he chose the name Jason as a tribute to his dead twin:[3] David Jason himself has denied this. In 1984 during an interview on TV-am, David Jason admitted that the name David Jason was taken from his like of Jason and the Argonauts, as the stage name David White had already been taken.

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 starred as a character called "Rerpf". He also appeared briefly with his brother in an episode of The Darling Buds of May. On leaving school, Jason wanted to follow in his brother's footsteps as an actor, but their father insisted that he first get a trade. So, for six years, he trained as an electrician, before giving up his girlfriend at the time, and becoming a jobbing actor.[1]

Radio and TV career

Early years

Jason started his television career in 1964 playing the part of Bert Bradshaw in Crossroads.[1] 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 offset the rather intellectual 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 was going to be 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 ability to play a man much older than his real age. However, Bill Cotton over-ruled him, casting Clive Dunn. Jason appeared in the BBC comedy series Hugh and I, which starred Hugh Lloyd and Terry Scott as two friends who lived together in south London. He appeared in Randall and Hopkirk ("That's How Murder Snowballs", 1969) as Abel, a framed performer in a major London theatre.

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, in an in-joking reference to his Week Ending role as Owen). 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 in variety shows in support of stars such as Dick Emery and his performances caught the attention of Ronnie Barker. Jason was recruited to appear in Hark at Barker (LWT, 1969), starring Barker as Lord Rustless, as Dithers, the hundred-year old gardener. There was also a sequel, His Lordship Entertains (1972) for the BBC. Jason played junior employee Granville in the first programme of the comedy anthology Seven of One (1973), called Open All Hours (BBC) and starring Barker as the miserly proprietor of a corner shop.

Four series of Open All Hours were made from 1976–85. He featured in Barker's Porridge (BBC), a prison-based comedy, as the elderly Blanco in three episodes. Jason also appeared with Barker in various disguises in The Two Ronnies.

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 'Rodders' 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 gag 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 in the ATV sitcom A Sharp Intake of Breath (1977–81). 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 an association with Cosgrove Hall, and was a voice artist for a number of children's television productions. This included voices for Danger Mouse with Terry Scott, 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.

Maturity and success as a leading man

In 1981, Jason found his most popular role, Del Boy Trotter in the BBC situation comedy Only Fools and Horses, created by John Sullivan. Del-Boy is a wide-boy who makes a dubious living in Peckham, south London, trading in shoddy, 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 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 straight 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) and based on the H. E. Bates novel, which featured Catherine Zeta-Jones in an early role.

In 1992, fed up with the lack of investment at the BBC,[1] he signed a golden handcuffs deal at 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 retire his role as Jack Frost after 16 years.[4] 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.[1] The pilot episode aired on the BBC on Boxing Day but received a poor critical response. The series was axed after six episodes.


In 1993, Jason was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), and twelve years later, in the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 2005, he was knighted for services to acting and comedy.[5] The granting of the knighthood was well received by the public.

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".[6][7]

Personal life

Jason lived with his long-term girlfriend, Welsh actress Myfanwy Talog, for eighteen years and nursed her through breast cancer until she died in 1995. This experience inspired him to organise his own charity, The David Jason Trust for terminally ill children.

On 26 February 2001, Jason became a father for the first time at the age of 61 when his girlfriend, 41-year-old Gill Hinchcliffe, gave birth to a baby girl, born in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury.[8] Jason and Hinchcliffe married on 30 November 2005, St. Andrew's Day.[1]

Jason is a patron of the Shark Trust,[9] 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.[10]

Jason is a qualified helicopter pilot.[11] In October 2013, Jason released his autobiography called David Jason: My Life.[12] It was shortlisted for the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards "Best Book of the Year".[13]



Year Title Role Notes
1964 Crossroads Bert Bradshaw
1966 Softly, Softly Smith Episode: "Overtake"
1967–1969 Do Not Adjust Your Set Various
1968 Randall and Hopkirk Abel Episode: "That's How Murder Snowballs"
1969 Counterstrike Taffy Sadler Episode: "On Ice"
1969 Canada Goose Unknown
1969–1970 Hark at Barker Various characters
1970 Doctor in the House Mr. Drobnic Episode: "What Seems to be the Trouble?"
1970 Two D's and a Dog Dingle Bell
1971 Six Dates With Barker Odd Job Man Episode: "The Odd Job"
1971 Doctor at Large Victor Bligh Episode: "Let's Start at the Beginning"
1972 His Lordship Entertains Dithers
1973 Seven of One Various 2 Episodes: "Open All Hours" and "I'll Fly You for a Quid"
1974 Doctor at Sea Manuel Sanchez
1974 The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs Edgar Briggs
1975; 1977 Porridge Blanco Webb Episodes: "Happy Release", "No Peace for the Wicked", and "Pardon Me"[14]
1976 Lucky Feller Shorty Mopstead
1976–1985 Open All Hours Granville
1977–1981 A Sharp Intake of Breath Peter Barnes
1981–2014 Only Fools and Horses Derek "Del Boy" Trotter
1987 Porterhouse Blue Skullion
1989 A Bit of a Do Ted Simcock
1990 Amongst Barbarians George
1991–1993 The Darling Buds of May Pop Larkin
1992–2010 A Touch of Frost DI Jack Frost
1993 The Bullion Boys Billy Mac
1998 March in Windy City Steven March
2001 Micawber Micawber
2002–2004 The Quest Dave
2005–2007 Diamond Geezer Des
2006 Ghostboat Jack Hardy
2006 Terry Pratchett's Hogfather Alberto Malich
2006 Cartoon Kings Narrator
2006 Prehistoric Park Narrator
2008 Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic Rincewind
2009 Albert's Memorial Harry
2010 David Jason: The Battle of Britain Presenter
2010 Come Rain Come Shine Don
2011 David Jason's Great Escapes Himself
2011–2012 The Royal Bodyguard Captain Guy Hubble
2013–present Still Open All Hours Granville A revival of the original series, featuring original cast members Lynda Baron and Maggie Ollerenshaw.


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
1999 All the King's Men Captain Frank Beck
2010 All the Way Up Director


Year Title Role Notes
1978 The Water Babies Various characters
1981–1992 Danger Mouse Danger Mouse
Isambard Sinclair (narrator)
Buggles Pigeon
Count Duckula
Various characters
1983–1990 The Wind in the Willows Toad
Chief Weasel
Billy Rabbit
1988–1993 Count Duckula Count Duckula
Various characters
1989 The BFG The BFG
1991–1992 Victor and Hugo Hugo
Count Duckula (1 episode)
Danger Mouse (1 episode)
1993 The Adventures of Dawdle the Donkey Rola Polar
1994 Felidae Jesaja English dub
1995 The Snow Queen Eric
1998 Father Christmas and the Missing Reindeer Father Christmas
1999 Angelmouse Quilly and Character Voices
2010 Muddle Earth Randalf
2014 Pip Ahoy! Skipper


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[15]

Awards and nominations

Jason has won a total of twenty-three awards between 1986 and 2003. 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
1990 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
1996 National Television Award Special Recognition Award N/a Won
1996 BAFTA TV Award Best Comedy Performance Only Fools and Horses Won
1997 British Comedy Award Best TV Comedy Actor Only Fools and Horses Won
1997 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
2000 TV Quick Award Best Actor A Touch of Frost
All the King's Men
2001 British Comedy Award Lifetime Achievement Award N/a Won
2001 TV Quick Award Best Actor A Touch of Frost Won
2001 National Television Award Most Popular Actor A Touch of Frost Won
2001 National Television Award Most Popular Comedy Performer Only Fools and Horses Won
2002 National Television Award Most Popular Actor A Touch of Frost Won
2002 National Television Award Most Popular Comedy Performance Only Fools and Horses Nominated
2002 TV Quick Award Best Actor A Touch of Frost Won
2003 National Television Award Most Popular Actor A Touch of Frost Nominated
2003 BAFTA TV Award BAFTA Academy Fellowship N/a Won
2003 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


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Moreton, Cole (18 December 2011). "David Jason on Europe, X Factor and returning to the BBC". Daily Mail. London.
  2. "David Jason". www.bradleywalsh.co.uk. 9 September 2006. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  3. Hughes, Heather. "David Jason". TV.com. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  4. "Sir David quitting Touch of Frost". BBC News. 16 September 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 58099. p. 12615. 15 September 2006. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  6. "Del Boy knighted in Queen's list". BBC News. 11 June 2005. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
  7. "David Jason collects knighthood". BBC News. 1 December 2005. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
  8. Alleyne, Richard (27 February 2001). "David Jason's new role as father at 61". The Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
  9. http://www.sharktrust.org/en/sir_david_jason
  10. http://www.raf.mod.uk/news/archive/del-boy-marks-trusts-1-million-moment-30052014
  11. Deacon, Michael (11 October 2008). "David Jason: Interview". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  12. "David Jason shares his Only Fools and Horses secrets". Daily Telegraph. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  13. "Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane named 2013 Book of the Year". BBC News. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  14. David Jason at the Internet Movie Database
  15. – 17:00. "Radio 4 Programmes – Book at Bedtime: A Christmas Carol". BBC. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
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