Only Fools and Horses

The Only Fools and Horses legend who once starred in BBC EastEnders as Peggy Mitchell’s love interest

The 87-year-old played the friend of Frank Butcher in the BBC One soap 20 years ago!

Every Only Fools and Horses fan will recognise actor Michael Jayston as James Turner, the man who spotted a valuable timepiece that famously made the Trotter family millionaires.

The Time on Our Hands Christmas special aired in 1996 and followed Del Boy and Rodney as they received a huge windfall after Raquel’s dad James discovers the old pocket watch in the wheeler-dealer’s garage. It was then sold at auction for £ 6.2 million, lubbly jubbly!

The Only Fools episode was watched by over 24.3 million viewers, the highest viewing record for a comedy TV show ever in the UK. But away from the BBC sitcom Michael Jayston has also starred on both stage and screen and notably played Valeyard in all 14 episodes of the Doctor Who serial The Trial of Time Lord.

Michael Jayston starred alongside Barbara Windsor in EastEnders in 2002 (Image: BBC)

However, the 87-year-old actor once showed up in EastEnders for four episodes playing the love interest to Peggy Mitchell and a friend of Frank Butcher.

In 2002, Peggy left Walford and went to Spain to attend Frank Butcher’s funeral, of course, he wasn’t really dead as she discovered him sitting outside of the graveyard. To take the sting out of her shock, Peggy went from a drink and hit it off with Frank’s mate Alistair, played by Jayston.

Peggy and Alistair flirted up a storm and love seemed to be in the air. But sadly, after a week in the sun, Frank and Peggy made their way back to Albert Square leaving him behind.

This isn’t Michael’s only EastEnders connection as his real-life ex-wife was also a star in the soap.

Who is Michael Jayston married to?

In 1965 he married Lynn Farleigh. The pair divorced in 1970 but both continued to have successful careers as actors. Lynn joined the Royal Shakespeare Company shortly after the pair were married and went on to have a theatre career for 40 years.

Following her time on the stage, Lynn played Nora White in EastEnders between 2013 and 2014 appearing in four episodes.

Nora made her first appearance as the mum of Carl White and Adam White in July 2013, when bad boy Carl and his ex-girlfriend Kirsty Branning decide to visit her in her nursing home for her birthday. Nora returned to Walford in March 2014 as her son Carl had not been in contact with her for more than three months – he had been killed in January that year.

Lynn played Nora White on the BBC One soap (Image: BBC)

She ends up discovering Ronnie Mitchell killed her son by slamming the boot of a car onto his head and then having the car crushed with his body inside. Non-nonsense Ronnie also had Nora’s other son Adam beaten up before threatening grieving mum and the rest of the White family to leave her alone. Nora has not been seen in Albert Square since.

Lynn is now married to the actor John Woodvine (who played an Archbishop in Netflix’s The Crown) and together they have two children. Michael has been married to Elizabeth Ann Smithson since 1978. They have two children.

Outside of Only Fools and Horses Michael made a wide variety of appearances on the small screen. He acted in Doctor Who, Coronation Street, The Bill, Midsomer Murders and Casualty.

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