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Sir David's Lovely Jubbly Career

BBC News

Sir David Jason's knighthood is the latest highlight in the 38-year career of one of the UK's favourite TV stars.

The honour from the Queen gives royal approval for the work of the former decorator, best known as wheeler dealer Del Boy, in the ever-popular series Only Fools and Horses.

He has also had massive hits with sitcom Open All Hours and detective drama A Touch of Frost.

Born in Edmonton, north London, in 1940, Sir David - whose real name is David White - had a number of careers including a spell as a self-employed electrician before he became a theatre actor.

Big break

His TV career began in 1967 on comedy Do Not Adjust Your Set alongside Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, who went on to form Monty Python.

Other early roles included Hark at Barker (1969 to 1970) and prison sitcom Porridge, as Blanco.

He almost got a part in Dad's Army, but his big break came in 1976 when he starred in Open All Hours alongside Ronnie Barker.

Sir David played the downtrodden corner shop assistant Granville who could never quite get love and life to go his way.

Only Fools and Horses, which started in 1981, went on to become the most popular comedy show of its time.

In March 2004 it was voted the public's favourite television sitcom in a BBC survey.

The 1996 Christmas episode, which was planned as the last one, drew a record 24.35m viewers.

It went on to return for three more episodes in 2001. The final episode was shown at Christmas 2003.

The part of the hapless but irrepressible south London market trader Derek Trotter in Only Fools And Horses almost went to, among others, Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent.

Sir David has also starred in The Darling Buds Of May, A Bit of a Do, All The King's Men and The Quest.

His role as the cantankerous Inspector Frost in ITV's A Touch of Frost has kept his profile high and continued to endear him to audiences.

In 2003, Sir David's DI Jack Frost was voted Britain's top TV detective in a magazine poll.

Bafta honour

Sir David was named the third-most powerful figure in TV drama in a Radio Times survey last year.

He received a fellowship from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) in 2003.

In 2002, he was named most popular comedy performer for the third year in a row at the National Television Awards. He won the title again in 2004.

Sir David told the Radio Times: "I have so many people that come up to me and the nice thing is they shake my hand and say: 'Thank you for giving me so many laughs over the years.'

"That, I have to admit, is one of the greatest rewards."

Sir David has continued to take on new roles. Earlier this year he played a veteran career criminal planning another big scam in ITV1 prison drama Diamond Geezer.

Throughout his career, he has also provided the voices for popular children's animated series including Danger Mouse, The Wind in the Willows and Count Duckula.

Despite his professional success, Sir David has experienced personal sadness.

He found out at 14 that he had a twin brother who died at birth.

In 1990 he took time out from work to nurse his long term partner, actress Myfanwy Talog, before she died of cancer at the age of 49.

Sir David took on a new role in 2001. He became a father for the first time at age 61, when his new partner Gill Hinchcliffe gave birth to a daughter, Sophie Mae.

The couple wed in a secret ceremony at London's Dorchester Hotel the day before the actor collected his knighthood from the Queen.