David Jason reflects on the death of former co-star John Challis
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At the age of 81, the BAFTA winning actor tends to keep more out of the spotlight than he does within it. So when he was pictured emerging from a theatre in Oxford earlier this year, immediately concerns for his welfare began. After attending a performance of A Cold Supper Behind Harrods Tomorrow, at the Oxford Playhouse back in June, the actor was spotted looking particularly frail and old as he exited his car and stopped for pictures with fans.
Despite an initial cause for concern, the actor’s health remains in “good condition”, allowing him to grow old gracefully.
However, this hasn’t been without its troubles, as during lockdown the star admitted to struggling.
Talking on this YouTube channel last year in the middle of the Covid pandemic, the actor said that he wanted to offer some “moral support” to everyone during the unprecedented and difficult time.
He began by saying: “Hi everyone, I just thought I’d give you some moral support during these very difficult and trying times.
“I mean they are really difficult and trying for everyone, moi included, but stick with it and try to do what the government says.”
In true character, the star made the situation comical, using references from Only Fools to encourage individuals to stick to social distancing rules.
He continued: I thought of a little idea that you might like to absorb, a lot of people don’t quite know what nine-foot is, the distance you’re supposed to keep between strangers, so I came up with a little idea you might like to remember and it’s called Trigger’s broom.
“If you’ve got Trigger’s broom and you hold the handle near the end and you stick it out at arm’s length, that’s approximately arm’s length.
“If anybody comes within that distance, it’s Trigger’s broom! You just say, “Trigger’s”. Or you could just say, “Broom”.
“And if somebody says, ‘Sorry, I don’t understand what you’re talking about’.
“Then you can explain it, and once you have explained it, you might have made a new friend, you never know.
“Anyway, keep your peckers up, it won’t be long now. Remember, with Trigger’s broom we’ll beat this soon. OK, good luck.”
Trying his best to keep up morale, David’s unique methods of social distancing was sure to put a smile on a few faces.
The actor even managed to make people smile when paying tribute to his Only Fools and Horses co-star John Challis, after he sadly passed away from cancer earlier this year.
Speaking on This Morning back in September, David celebrated John, and explained that although his death was not a “complete surprise”, the news still came as a “bit of a shock”.
He said: “It was not a complete surprise because poor old John hadn’t been well for the last month or two but he went downhill so fast, very rapidly, that one minute we were thinking he was on the road to recovery.”
As for the actor himself, growing old has been a challenge, but he takes it all in his stride.
Addressing turning 80 years old he said: “Turning 80 was all right.
“One minute you’re 35 and the next you’re 80. You’re so busy getting on with life and I’m lucky that everything’s still in good working condition.”
Although no one is the same, Age UK, a UK-based charity, recommends these 10 tips to help individuals to age better:
- Watch what you eat and drink
- Look after your teeth
- Stay active
- Make the most of your doctor
- Get a vitamin boost
- Take care of your feet
- Sort out your sleep
- Give up smoking
- Stay in touch with others
- Take tests when worried.
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