Only Fools and Horses: Del Boy introduces 'Gary' to his family
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Sir David, 81, returns to screens tonight in a documentary which explores how Britain’s most loved sitcom first arrived on the small screen. Behind the scenes coverage features alongside celebrity interviews and some of the most memorable scenes. The Story of Only Fools and Horses airs on BBC One from 8pm.
The legendary actor has won all sorts of awards for his work, and was knighted in the Queen’s 2005 birthday honours list.
In an unearthed interview, Sir David revealed how his Only Fools and Horses character ‘Del Boy’ would have reacted to the news of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
Del Boy was a dodgy market trader living in Peckham, south London, who made a living selling broken, stolen and counterfeit goods.
But it’s hard not to love him with his pretentious cocktails and misunderstood French phrases, even if he isn’t as cultured as he might think.
The character finished fourth in a Channel 4 poll of Britain’s 100 Greatest TV characters – beaten by Homer Simpson, Basil Fawlty and Edmund Blackadder.
Sir David reflected on how Del Boy would fit in modern-day Britain, arguing he would have staunch views on Brexit.
He claimed Del would have seen it as yet another opportunity to put some cash in his pocket – or a “nice little earner”.
Alongside brother Rodney, he was always on the lookout for another dodgy money making scheme.
He said: “When it comes to Brexit Del would just think, ‘We’ll earn out of this, Rodders’.
“One day he’d be flogging something to people who want to leave and then the next day he’d be flogging something to people who want to stay.”
Sir David told The Sun in a 2018 interview Del would “find out a way to use it” for his own gain.
The political implications would have been of little concern to Del, Sir David said, instead thinking solely about the financial benefits.
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His TV counterpart Rodney, meanwhile, would most likely have been more concerned by the political pros and cons of the decision.
Sir David continued: “The big political question about staying or leaving wouldn’t interest him.
“He would just be thinking, ‘How do we earn out of this, Rodders?’.”
While Sir David’s character was said to be a Brexiteer, onscreen rival Boycie meanwhile, would have voted to Remain.
Only Fools and Horses: Del Boy visits his mum's grave
John Challis, who played Boycie, told talkRADIO in 2019: “I blame Del Boy for Brexit. A lot of the blame can be laid at his door, shall we say?
“I think Boycie, as a second-hand car dealer, would have looked very carefully at what was going to affect his business but I think he would have ended up in a Remain position.”
Sir David’s career might have taken a different turn had it not been for BBC executive Bill Cotton.
In 1968, he was cast in the role of Lance Corporal Jones in BBC classic Dad’s Army.
Writers Jimmy Perry and David Croft had been very impressed with Sir David and knew that he was capable of playing a man much older than his true age.
However, Mr Cotton overruled the writers – instead casting Clive Dunn because he was the better-known actor.
Sir David said: “I was cast at 12 o’clock and sacked by three!”
Despite later being rejected for the lead role in Seventies sitcom Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Em because bosses considered him “only funny in supporting roles”, he proved his doubters wrong and forged an incredibly successful career.
The Story of Only Fools and Horses airs on BBC One this Saturday at 8pm.
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