Sir David Jason shares tribute to Only Fools And Horses co-star John Challis after his death aged 79

20 September 2021, 08:28 | Updated: 20 September 2021, 11:40

Sir David Jason has lead tributes to John Challis
Sir David Jason has lead tributes to John Challis. Picture: Getty Images/Alamy

By Naomi Bartram

David Jason has led tributes to his Only Fools And Horses co-star John Challis, who played Boycie, after his death.

Sir David Jason has described his Only Fools And Horses co-star John Challis as a ‘gentleman in the true sense of the word’ after his sad death.

Challis - who was best known for playing Boycie in Only Fools and Horses - passed away at the age of 79 following a long battle with cancer.

Sir David starred alongside him as Del Boy in the hit sitcom and has released a statement saying his friend will ‘be missed by many’.

He said: "It is with much sadness to hear that John Challis, a dear friend, has passed away.

John Challis has passed away at the age of 79
John Challis has passed away at the age of 79. Picture: Alamy

"He was a wonderful actor, a gentleman in the true sense of the word and I know he will be missed by so many."

He continued that Boycie is "a character so well loved by the many fans of that show so I am pleased that he witnessed the outpouring of admiration recently shown for the 40th anniversary of the first episode in 1981.

"I send my love and condolences to his wife, Carol."

Sue Holderness, who played the actor’s onscreen wife Marlene, has also shared a tribute which says: "Marlene without Boycie - it's unthinkable. John Challis was my partner on screen and stage for 36 years and my beloved friend.

“R.I.P. darling John. I will miss you every day."

John Challis played Boycie in Only Fools and Horses
John Challis played Boycie in Only Fools and Horses. Picture: Alamy

Dr Who star Colin Baker described Challis as "funny, warm, and a great lover of his garden", while Crissy Rock, who starred alongside Challis in Benidorm, tweeted: "John you were a true gentleman and always so loving and supportive towards me.

“I am thinking of your family and close friends at this hard time. Rest well. Crissy xx."

The news of John’s passing was shared by his family, who released a statement reading: “It is with heavy hearts that we bring you such sad news.

“Our dear friend and yours, John Challis, has died peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer.

“He will always be loved for being ‘Boycie’ and leaves a great legacy of work that will continue to bring pleasure and smiles for many years to come.

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“Please respect the privacy of John’s family and friends at this difficult time, and be assured that in the future there will be an occasion to celebrate John’s life – when everyone will be welcome to come along.”

John starred in Only Fools And Horses for 22 years alongside Sir David and Nicholas Lyndhurst, before continuing his role as Boycie in spin-off series The Green Green Grass.

The actor also played Monty Staines in the ITV sitcom Benidorm from 2015 to 2018.