Though it’s impossible to think of Del Boy being played by anyone but Sir David Jason, the star himself revealed that he may have not starred in Only Fools and Horses at all. Sir David, 82, could’ve nearly portrayed a character in another much-loved sitcom instead – meaning we may never have got some of the most iconic scenes British TV talent has ever produced.
Dedicated Dad’s Army fans will already know that Clive Dunn, who had an extremely important lead role playing Corporal Jones, wasn’t initially eager on the role. Producers were afraid he wouldn’t accept it, and so had David lined up as a potential replacement.
David once spoke about this in Only Fools and Horses – The Official Inside Story, saying that he was absolutely gutted during the time the show was on air: “After I lost the part in Dad’s Army and it started to become really successful there were times when I’d watch it and see Corporal Jones and I’d say: ‘I was offered that b****y part!’”
He added: “You can’t help thinking like that. At the time I thought it would have changed my life because I would have been recognised as a television actor, which I wasn’t at that stage.”
David recalled how he’d struggled to make it as an actor before Only Fools and Horses. He said: “Back then I was winning and losing parts like any other average actor. You’d go in and meet people who you didn’t know and they didn’t know you from Adam and they didn’t really know your work and it was a struggle.
“But that’s the way it is for anybody who is trying to forge a career and live as an actor. I was quite happy to go and so summer seasons, I was really happy on stage, I really enjoyed it.” Before the starring in the popular sitcom in 1981, Sir David had TV appearances in shows such as Porridge, Open All Hours, and Crossroads.