- Category : Entertainment-Comedy
- Type : PE
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Refinement 2
Sir David John White, OBE known by his stage name David Jason (born 2 February 1940) is a highly regarded English actor, admired equally for his dramatic work as for his comedy roles.
He is perhaps most famous for his portrayal of "Del Boy" in the BBC television situation comedy Only Fools and Horses which made him a household name in the United Kingdom, and for playing detective chief inspector Jack Frost on A Touch of Frost.
He started his television career in 1964 playing the part of Bert Bradshaw in Crossroads. In 1967 he played a spoof super-hero Captain Fantastic (and also other roles), in the television sketch comedy series Do Not Adjust Your Set. His co-stars were Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Humphrey Barclay, who recruited David Jason to appear in Do Not Adjust Your Set (partly to offset the rather intellectual style of Idle, Jones and Palin), admired David's masterly sense of timing.
Jason also appeared in variety shows in support of stars such as Dick Emery, and his performances caught the attention of Ronnie Barker, who was soon to become a mentor to Jason. In 1969 Jason was recruited to appear in Hark At Barker, starring Ronnie Barker as Lord Rustless, as Dithers, the hundred-year old gardener. There was also a sequel, His Lordship Entertains. That year he also made an appearance in the popular ITC show Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) in the fifth episode of the series That's How Murder Snowballs as Abel, a framed performer in a major London theatre. In 1973 he played junior employee Granville in the first programme of the comedy anthology Seven of One, called Open All Hours and starring Barker as the miserly proprietor of a corner shop. Four series of Open All Hours were subsequently made from 1976 to 1985. He also featured in Barker's Porridge, a prison-based comedy, as Blanco. He also took the lead role in ITV sitcom A Sharp Intake Of Breath.
In 1974, Jason also played the part of the inept spy Edgar Briggs in the television comedy series The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs, long before the time of spoof spy thrillers such as Austin Powers and Johnny English.
In the 1970s he also acted in radio comedies, including Week Ending (in which he regularly satirised such figures as then UK Foreign Secretary Dr David Owen) and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (as the "B Ark Captain" in the sixth episode).
Maturity and success
In 1981 he found his most enduring and popular role. Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses (created by John Sullivan) is a wide-boy who makes a dubious living in Peckham, south London, trading in shoddy and counterfeit goods. He is assisted by his brother Rodney (played by Nicholas Lyndhurst) and Grandad (played by Lennard Pearce) or, in later episodes, Uncle Albert (played by Buster Merryfield). In this role Jason popularised some slang words and phrases; examples being the mild insults "dipstick" and "plonker", and the celebratory "lovely jubbly".
He has also earned acclaim for a string of straight roles. These include Skullion in Porterhouse Blue, Pa Larkin in the rural idyll The Darling Buds of May (based on the H. E. Bates novel) which also featured Catherine Zeta-Jones before she achieved success in Hollywood, and Detective Jack Frost in the TV series A Touch of Frost.
In addition to these dramatic roles he has also worked as a voice artist for Cosgrove Hall on a number of children's television productions, providing voices for DangerMouse, The BFG, Count Duckula and Toad from The Wind in the Willows, as well as several other cartoon voice-overs and advertising work including the DIY chain Do It All in 1988.
In 1999 he starred as Captain Frank Beck in BBC's feature-length drama "All the King's Men"
David Jason more recently starred in the two part ITV drama Ghostboat and presented a special programme celebrating the work of Cosgrove Hall Films `Cartoon Kings' for ITV1. He peppered his narration with the voices of DangerMouse, Count Duckula, Toad from Wind in the Willows and the BFG.
In September 2006, he was voted by the general public as number 1 in ITV's poll of TV's Greatest Stars
In December 2006 he starred in "Terry Pratchett's Hogfather" on Sky One as Albert
Sir David Jason has often been remarked as one of the most respected, admired and inspirational actors in the business, and in television history. Younger actors and performers of the modern day, including Shane Richie, David Tennant and Peter Kay, have all been inspired by him, and the way he managed to successfully separate his professional life from his personal life.
In 1993, David Jason was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), and twelve years later, in the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 2005, he was knighted for services to acting. On the day his knighthood was announced, many British newspapers used the headline "Arise Sir Del Boy" or similar, in reference to his most famous role. The Daily Mirror ran the headline "It's Sir Del and Sir Tel" (popular BBC Radio 2 DJ Terry Wogan was also knighted on the same day). Upon receiving the knighthood from The Queen at Buckingham Palace on 1 December, 2005, the actor said he was "humbled" by the "fantastic tribute".
David Jason was born David John White in Edmonton, London, England. Brought up in Lodge Lane, North Finchley, he went to Northside primary school on the same road. After leaving school he trained as an electrician while negotiating his way into repertory theatre. On discovering there was already a David White on Equity's books, he took the stage name Jason - either from his twin brother who died just two weeks after his birth, or from his favourite film of the time Jason and the Argonauts. David Jason has since publicy denied that his stage name came from his deceased twin and has admited to being rather offended and upset by the suggestion. His elder brother, Arthur White, is also a character actor.
He nursed long-time partner Myfanwy Talog prior to her death in 1995 after a long battle with breast cancer. He married his first wife, Gill Hinchcliffe, with whom he has a daughter, in a secret ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel in London on 30 November 2005.