John Challis is best known for playing Boycie in the much-loved TV series Only Fools and Horses, but what’s his life like away from the camera?
He played the character Herman Terrance Aubrey “Boycie” Boyce in Only Fools and Horses from 1981 to 2003 and starring in Boycie and Marlene’s series the Green Green Grass.
But more recently, John, 78, has been gracing our televisions on the ITV comedy Benidorm.
His character Monty Staines starts life in the Spanish tourist haven as a dodgy holiday homes scammer, eventually marrying hotel manager Joyce Temple Savage.
Monty featured from season seven in 2015 until the recent tenth series before the programme was cancelled in 2018.
His television alter-egos Boycie and Monty would scoff, but Challis confesses to a soft spot for hedgehogs.
It has been reported that he has 10 hedgehogs in the grounds of his Shropshire home.
He is so fond of the animals that he is now a patron of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS).
Challis’s enthusiasm can lead to prickly moments with his friend Brian May, the Queen guitarist, who is a member of Team Badger, a campaign that is opposed to badger culls.
He told The Times in 2017: “Brian and everyone are getting very upset with badgers being culled, and it’s very difficult for me to come down on one side or the other.”
He added: “There are too many badgers really, and they prey on hedgehogs, and my farmer friends say that badgers spread TB.”
Challis’s friend, Brian May, is a vocal advocate for animal rights, even saying that he wishes to be remembered for ‘saving animals’ rather than his hit records with Queen.
He told The Times in 2012: “When I’m gone, people will no doubt remember me for Queen, but I would much rather be remembered for attempting to change the way we treat our fellow creatures.”
Like Challis, May also has a few hedgehogs, 36 to be exact.