Sir David Jason was reportedly once turned down for a role in a iconic BBC show for not having “star quality”, according to The Mirror. The Del Boy actor was rejected as Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Em’ as it was said that he was “only funny in supporting roles”.
Raymond Allen, who wrote the show, suggested Jason should star as accident-prone Frank Spencer in the series but was told by executives that the actor possessed “no star quality.”
Despite the rejection, Jason went on to become one of Britain’s best-loved comic actors for starring in Only Fools and Horses.
First aired in 1973, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Em revolved around Spencer’s inability to hold down a job, which frequently ended in disaster. The role of Spencer was eventually given to Michael Crawford, who performed the famous Ooh Betty catchphrase and earned the show a spot in sitcom history.
Allen, now 81, also revealed in the magazine Best of British that other actors who turned down the role included comic Norman Wisdom, who ‘didn’t see the jokes’, and Ronnie Barker, who was ‘too busy’ with other roles.
After suggesting Jason should be given the lead, BBC executives told him: “Yes, he is very funny. But he’s only funny in supporting roles. He hasn’t got star quality. He’ll always be a supporting actor.”
Allen added that he found it ‘stressful’ to write the show, saying: “People think comedy is easy to write. But you’re sitting there and it’s absolutely… really stressful.”