John Challis, aka Boycie from Only Fools and Horses chats with Greer Riddell about the secrets to the show's success, John Sullivan's writing style and reminises about The Jolly Boys Outing at the Priory Theatre in Kenilworth 💼🍹
I’ve loved watching Only Fools and Horses since I was a child. I used to watch reruns of it over and over again and my family would quiz me on quotes!
“It is extraordinary, it is a phenomenon really from that point of view that all generations latch onto it… it's hardly surprising people of my generation loved it you know all through the eighties but very young people like yourself are sort of picking up on it and it goes from generation to generation”
“It’s also had the appeal right across the social spectrum as well which which is absolutely strong and I think it is unique from that point of view”
“It's just a combination really of the right actors at the right parts and fantastic writing John Sullivan who was the only man ever to write it. He started off writing most of the Green Green Grass as well and he just wrote with such depth to my mind…with such a heart. He was a great family man you know and it wasn't just the string of jokes although his jokes are very good, they had a wonderful eye for them in the situations.”
“He was at an utter perfectionist, I mean he wouldn't release the script unless he was absolutely certain every single word was right. I never heard anybody in all those years say “John wouldn't it be better if I said mm-hmm” - do you know it was like the Bible almost… it was like that. The reason for that was, I found out later, was that he would drive his wife mad at home because he would be saying all the lines over to himself as the characters do, so he got every word absolutely right and the rhythms are sort of perfect.”
“Sue and I have been chums ever since she got into the series. She would say of course that was when the series really started. We've done little theatre shows together and charity appearances and indeed a Panto as well together. Unfortunately Sue didn't enjoy that very much because she had to play The Good Fairy, I think she hates being good, it’s much better being horrible since then she's played the Wicked Queen!”
“I think we all lead very separate lives you know but obviously recently Roger Lloyd Pack who played Trigger that's passed on you know. It was a terrible shock for all of us so we were all in touch on that day and we all went to the memorial service. We’ve lost 4 members of the original cast and it's always a bit of a shame. It makes me feel a bit shaky but very touched about things like that.”
“I had to say was a classic line when, I think somebody got terribly drunk at the halfway house and somebody said “oh no he's completely drunk put them on the back”… [and I had to say] “put him on the back seat he's the Driver!We had a really fun time doing that one because it really was like a holiday for the rest of us and we spent a lot of time in the fairground and running up and down the beach like children so yes I've got great memories of that.”
“I think it sort of opens as many doors as it closes really but I mean all of us know that it's the most famous thing we'll ever do and you just have to get used to that I mean we did an awful lot of fascinating work,
thee National Theatre and the Fringe and also on television of course but nobody really wants to listen to all your adventures at the Royal Shakespeare Company you know, they'd much rather talk about Only Fools and Horses but it's something we were all terribly proud of and you can't have it both ways.
One of the one of the reasons for coming into this profession is that so would be great to be a to be a household name and then you become a household name through this and it means so much to people you can't say they say no I'm not doing that yeah just because it sort of lives up and always will”
What is your favourite Only Fools and Horses episode? Let me know in the comments 💼🍹
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