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Jason, Sir David (1940-)

Actor, Director, Producer, Executive

Main image of Jason, Sir David (1940-)

One of Britain's finest TV character actors, David Jason is among those rare performers who is known not only to two generations of television viewers but is celebrated by both.

In his early television appearances he was generally seen as the loveable fall-guy: the offbeat Captain Fantastic in the pre-Monty Python comedy-sketch series Do Not Adjust Your Set (ITV, 1967-69); the accident-prone undercover man in The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs (ITV, 1974); the hapless shop assistant Granville in Open All Hours (BBC, 1976; 1981-82; 1985) .

However, from the Eighties onwards he acquired roles where his characters were seemingly more in control of their situation. As the wide boy 'Del' Trotter of Only Fools and Horses... (BBC, 1981-96), the wily college porter Skullion in the miniseries Porterhouse Blue (C4, 1987) and the ever-optimistic Pa Larkin in The Darling Buds of May (ITV, 1991-93) he became a national favourite as well as winning a series of Best Actor awards.

In addition to his on-screen performances, his mastery of animation characterisation delighted junior viewers when he provided voices for the Cosgrove-Hall animated series Dangermouse (ITV, 1981-86, 1991-92), The Wind in the Willows (ITV, 1984-88) and Count Duckula (ITV, 1988-91, 1993).

In recent years, Jason has captivated prime-time viewers with his portrayal of the earthy, intuitive (though somewhat dour) Detective Inspector Jack Frost in the gritty police procedural series A Touch of Frost (ITV, 1992-).

With such a large portfolio of screen personas to his credit, it is clear that his aptitude for realising such highly memorable characters will stand as testimony for Jason's art and craft and performance skill. .

His quietly self-reflective nostalgia piece, The Quest (ITV, tx. 1/4/2002), about the reminiscences of three middle-aged friends, saw his directorial debut (while serving as executive producer and lead player). This new role may present a fresh avenue of television creativity for him.

The David Jason Story (1991), David Jason: The Biography (1997) and David Jason: A Life in Pictures (1999) by Stafford Hildred and Tim Ewbank
Broadcast 28 Sep 2001, p.2.
Radio Times 18 Jul 1981, p.11.
TV Times 14 Oct 1989, p.6-7.
TV Times 14 Sep 1991, p.8.
TV Times 5 Dec 1992, p.13.

Tise Vahimagi

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Dangermouse (1981-92)Dangermouse (1981-92)

The world's greatest secret agent - a mouse with an eyepatch

Thumbnail image of Do Not Adjust Your Set (1967-69)Do Not Adjust Your Set (1967-69)

Madcap children's sketch show starring several future Pythons

Thumbnail image of Only Fools and Horses (1981-96)Only Fools and Horses (1981-96)

Hugely popular comedy about Peckham wheeler-dealers

Thumbnail image of Open All Hours (1973-85)Open All Hours (1973-85)

Ronnie Barker stars as stuttering skinflint shopkeeper Arkwright

Thumbnail image of Porridge (1974-77)Porridge (1974-77)

Ronnie Barker goes behind bars in the definitive prison sitcom

Thumbnail image of Porterhouse Blue (1987)Porterhouse Blue (1987)

Riotous adaptation of Tom Sharpe's satirical novel about Oxbridge life

Thumbnail image of Touch of Frost, A (1992-)Touch of Frost, A (1992-)

The investigations of cantankerous DI William 'Jack' Frost

Thumbnail image of Wind in the Willows, The (1984-88)Wind in the Willows, The (1984-88)

Definitive animated version of the Kenneth Grahame children's classic

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Thumbnail image of Lyndhurst, Nicholas (1961-)Lyndhurst, Nicholas (1961-)