Only Fools and Horses

Only Fools and Horses Sue Holderness opens up on grief over death of John Challis

The onscreen husband and wife were great friend in real life

Sue Holderness has opened up about the death of her Only Fools and Horses costar and on screen husband, John Challis, admitting she still hasn’t come to terms with his death.

The actress, 72, who played Marlene opposite John as Boycie on the hit comedy between 1981 and 2003 appeared on the One Show after Only Fools and Horses was named the nation’s most-loved BBC TV programme by viewers.

The actor died at the age of 79 last September after battling cancer.

Speaking about playing the wife of the legendary used car salesman Boycie and their onscreen chemistry on the One Show she said: “Double acts you often hear hate each other, John and I became very good friends right from the very beginning.

The pair played on screen husband and wife Boycie and Marlene (Image: BBC)

“His wife and my husband, the four of us would go on holiday together, we saw each other regularly, I still speak to Carol every day.”

But Sue, who is currently guest starring in The Play What I wrote, also admitted she has not yet come to terms with his death:

“It’s very difficult for me to say that I have really gone through the grieving process because I haven’t, I still don’t believe he is gone.

Sue and John were also great friends offscreen (Image: Getty Images)

“He feels very much as though he is still with us and, of course, he will be with us, he will be in our lives forever because of the wonderful Boycie that he created.”

Sue, who is in constant contact with John’s his real-life wife Carol, said that despite the show finishing almost 20 years ago, she still gets children coming up to her who are fans of the show through their parents.

She explained: “I think that’s what [creator] John Sullivan wanted, he had the older generation and kids in mind when he was writing this so everybody, the whole family, were able to sit and watch his shows and laugh.

The actor died after a battle with cancer
The actor died after a battle with cancer

“I hear it all the time that in these really rather gruesome times people are turning to Only Fools particularly because it is escapism really.

“You can forget what is going on outside and it is huge fun, they say laughter is the best medicine.”

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