Yet he's never cashed in by starring in a blockbuster movie or appearing in a lucrative advertising campaign, though at the height of his fame in the Eighties, Nineties and Noughties, Jason was the king of primetime TV, moving from Only Fools to The Darling Buds Of May and A Touch Of Frost. But what I really wanted was success, which is a different thing from fame and money.'We are living in a different world today, where people confuse those things.I've been approached to do reality shows but even though the fees are very, very attractive, I always say no because money should never be your motivation.
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It was the show that transformed Jason's career and the series that persuaded Only Fools producer, Ray Butt, to cast him as Del Boy after Jim Broadbent turned down the role.
Perhaps the reason why Jason is so loved by the British public is that he has always been an underdog.
David Jason (aka Del Boy Trotter) has just realised that he's been a '42-carat plonker', having been 'done over' by the BBC.
He's here today to celebrate the return of Still Open All Hours – the sequel to the comedy in which he first made his name alongside the late Ronnie Barker in the Seventies – following a successful one-off festive special. It would surely be just a drop in the ocean for a man who must have made millions with the universally admired Only Fools And Horses, which drew a vast audience and holds the record for the most popular sitcom episode of all time, with 24.3 million viewers for the 1996 Christmas special. Situation comedy has always been the poor relation in the television entertainment business.
The only remark she made was, 'You've been in this business a long time.'He says ruefully, 'She didn't know who I was. But I know the Queen Mum loved Only Fools.'We are sitting in the suite of a country-house hotel near his Buckinghamshire home. 'Jason was born David White in 1940, the son of a Welsh charlady and Billingsgate fishmarket porter.