Only Fools and Horses

Only Fools and Horses’ David Jason initially lined up for iconic Dad’s Army role

ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES icon Sir David Jason who famously starred as Del Boy in the BBC comedy was initially lined up for a role in Dad's Army.

Channel 5’s Dad’s Army: Secret Lives & Scandal delved into the fan-favourite BBC comedy and the lives of the actors who portrayed the magnificent seven. The on-screen chemistry between the stars of the series helped it become one of Britain’s best-loved comedies. But, the documentary revealed Only Fools and Horses star Sir David Jason was considered for a Dad’s Army role when the first choice expressed reservations.

In the documentary, TV critics, members of the production and family members of the cast shared their thoughts on the iconic comedy.

Discussing the original line-up, the programme shed light on how the core characters were cast.

The role of Lance Corporal Jones went to Clive Dunn who at just 48 had already made a career of playing doddery old men.

Dad’s Army production assistant Kay Johnson remarked: “I remember one makeup lady she said, “I’m saving ever such a lot of money on Clive Dunn because he’s getting older and older.

Only Fools and Horses David Jason Dads Army
Only Fools and Horses star David Jason was considered for a role in Dad’s Army (Image: BBC)
Only Fools and Horses David Jason Dads Army
Only Fools and Horses star David Jason starred as Del Boy (Image: CHANNEL 5)

“’I don’t have to use quite so much makeup on him.’”

Author of Dad’s Army: The Story of a Classic Television Show Graham McCann added: “He was also very good at physical comedy, he loved slapstick.”

However, the iconic role was almost given to another actor as Clive was hesitant at first.

Comedy writer Emma Kennedy explained: “He didn’t really want to do it.

Dads Army Lance Corporal Jones Clive Dunn
Dad’s Army’s Lance Corporal Jones was played by Clive Dunn (Image: GETTY)
Dads Army Lance Corporal Jones Clive Dunn Terry Wogan

“But John Le Mesurier also didn’t want to do it unless Clive Dunn did it and Clive Dunn didn’t want to do it unless John Le Mesurier did it.”

Only Fools and Horses star David Jason was lined up as a potential replacement.

The Del Boy star was just 27-years-old at the time however the actor had already proven he could play characters far older than himself.

David starred as Blanco Webb in BBC comedy Porridge where he dressed up in latex and dyed his moustache grey to make himself look 30 years older than he was.

He appeared in three episodes between 1975 and 1977.

Clive eventually agreed to star in Dad’s Army and the documentary featured footage of the actor explaining why during an appearance on Terry Wogan’s chat show.

The BBC host asked: “Did you say yes to that part immediately?”

Clive replied: “I’d just been in a show that I wasn’t very good in and I thought, ‘I don’t want to go in another show I’m not very good in.’

“So I waited a minute and asked my wife because she tells me what to do.

“Then I asked John Le Mesurier and he said, ‘I think I’m going to do it’ and when he said he’d do it I did it and we all done it.”

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