WOULD you buy a second hand car from this man?
Actor John Challis admits his role as used car salesman Boycie in Only Fools and Horses follows him to this day.
It’s more than 30 years since the show first aired – but fans who met John can still quote chapter and verse from favourite episodes.
“It’s like being part of an enormous extended family,” admitted John while signing copies of his autobiography Being Boycie at Kirkham’s SilverDell Bookshop,
He said: “We could all do Lear and still be best remembered for Only Fools and Horses.”
He’s worked in a variety of roles from the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, touring in Tom Stoppard’s plays to America, and appearing in Coronation Street, Dr Who and in a host of other roles.
Being Boycie is his warts-and-all look at his career highs and lows, as well as a private life he openly admits has been “colourful.”
Repertory brought him to Blackpool time and again including with Kate O’Mara and Roy Marsden in a British Actors Theatre Company production called Relapse.
“That was great fun but didn’t quite work as the idea was there was no director and everyone was equal. But all actors need direction. Especially those who think they don’t. It was a terrific production and the Grand Theatre is one of the most beautiful.”
John says he got the acting bug young. “I was at an all male boarding school, impersonated the masters and got picked for school plays – often playing girls
“I got articled to estate agents. It was a proper job but so boring I soon mucked about and got sacked.
“I walked in WH Smith, picked up a copy of the Stage, and saw an advertisement for a travelling children’s theatre. They were more impressed by the fact that I could drive and do silly voices than my acting ability.”
John was in his 40s, two marriages behind him, when, in 1984, he joined Only Fools and Horses. He played wide boy car salesman Boycie – the richest man Del Boy knew. It led to a spin off series Boycie and Marlene.
“I’ll always be remembered for that role,” John admits. “Crikey, we were lucky to be part of it.”
Elaine Silverwood, owner of SilverDell, said: “The day went really well. It was very busy and everyone was clapping him and he was calling out ‘Marlene’ to everyone and he was very well received.”