David's had one Del of a comedy career; Sir David Jason has been putting a smile on the faces of TV viewers for 50 years. MARION MCMULLEN looks back on a life of laughter.
HE'S been the voic of Count Duckul and Danger Mouse, ended up behind bars with Ronnie Barker, had a plonker of a brother in Only Fools And Horses and was "perfick" as Pa Larkin in The Darling BudOf May.
David while Top Secret Edgar Thames His acting roles have made Sir David Jason one of Britain's favourite comic actors and he swears he has no intention of stepping away from the small screen, recently saying "acting has been my life".
The TV favourite turned 77 earlier this year and said: "People ask me if I am thinking of retiring. It doesn't occur to me. Different day, different challenge, different way. Lovely jubbly."
He added: "To make people laugh, to entertain, create a wide range of emotions. It has always been a tremendous thrill for me and it still is."
The Londoner, born David White, worked as a self-employed electrician before discovering he had a talent for comedy. He initially worked in theatre before moving to television.
He had to change his name because there was already an actor called David White and he chose the name Jason because Jason And The Argonauts was his favourite book at school.
He had a successful stage career beginning with a season in repertory which led to him playing No-Good Boyo in Under Milk Wood, Bob Acres in The Rivals at Sadler's Wells and taking over from Michael Crawford in No Sex Please ... We're British at the Strand Theatre.
David first appeared on TV on Boxing Day 1965 in BBC pantomime Mother Goose playing King Goose.
His big break, however, came in 1967 with children's comedy show Do Not Adjust Your Set, which saw him starring alongside members of the Monty Python team Terry Jones, Eric Idle and Michael Palin.
He went on to appear in A Sharp Intake Of Breath in the late 1970s.
David's first appearance with future comedy partner Ronnie Barker came in 1970's Hark At Barker where he played a 100-year-old gardener.
He went on to work with Ronnie in BBC sitcom Open All Hours and also became a fellow inmate in Porridge, playing an old man called Blanco.
David recently said: "Working with Ronnie was always a joy and they were, without doubt, some of the best years of my career."
Just as his role of lovable rural rogue Pa Larkin in ITV drama The Darling Buds Of May introduced words such as "perfick" in the 1990s, David's "Del Boy" Trotter educated TV audiences to the shady ways of the Peckham entrepreneur in hit comedy series Only Fools And Horses and expressions like "lovely d "plonker."
one of the quips show was voted he greatest comedy ns in British TV lier this year when ed: "Dear old bless him. He was eful as a pair of sses on a bloke with ar."
" David has also enjoyed success and awards for roles like college porter Skullion in Channel 4's drama Porterhouse Blue,aunch northerner TV's A Bit Of A Do, wber, a Liverpool n The Bullion Boys course, DI Frost in police drama A Of Frost, which saw him appearing with his brother Arthur White, who played PC Ernie Trigg. David lost nearly two stone to play Frost by cutting out beer, fats and sugar.
Knighted in 2005, David has always treasured his privacy and shunned personal publicity despite his television success. He once said: "When audiences finally get tired of me I shall just walk away from it all... just like Ronnie Barker did."
He has now come full circle starring in the new BBC series of Still Open All Hours, but knows the shadow of Del Boy will also be with him.
David once said one of his favourite moments was the famous scene in which Del, trying to look suave and sophisticated fell through the open pub bar.
"Someone asked me whether we'd rehearsed that or whether it was an accident. I took it as a back-handed compliment."
David having Lunch, at Thames TV in 1974
David, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin help Denise Coffey celebrate her birthday on the set of Do Not Adjust Your Set in 1967
David pictured while filming The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs for Thames TV in 1974