With the success of Only Fools and Horses as one of the most iconic British sitcoms of all time, Sir David Jason’s name as the star playing the role of Del Boy has achieved household status, and the actor is now seen by many as a national treasure for his work bringing laughs to homes across the country.
It may shock some fans to learn though that David’s real surname actually isn’t Jason at all, but White. The actor decided very early in his career to change his birth name in order to stand out in showbusiness and the story behind where he got his new name from is both heart-warming and surprisingly inspiring.
The 82-year-old recalled the story back in 2020 while speaking on BBC’s The One Show and taking a tour of his old Northside School in Finchley, North London. As he passed one particular classroom David’s eyes lit up and he came to a stop.
Gesturing to the room he said: “I remember that class room, because that’s how I got my name! My professional name was Jason. The teacher who taught in that room, she used to take us for English and read the book Jason and the Argonauts.
“And then when I was searching for a professional name because there was a David White already in Equity, I remembered the magic that she created, and it came into my mind and I said ‘what about Jason? David Jason?’.
“It can show you the power of what teachers can do,’ he added. “Good teachers.”
“When I was in the school play to hear a great wadge of people laugh, that is what I found so satisfying and I suppose that kicked me off, I enjoyed it so much that it started the want to entertain people.”