David Jason (whose real name is David John White) was born on the 2nd February 1940 in Edmonton, London. He has one brother named Arthur.
After attending schools in London David began a career as an electrician, taking acting lessons on the side. He was taught by "Open All Hours" co-star Ronnie Barker and found his way into television in 1967 with the children's television program, "Do Not Adjust Your Set." This was followed two years later with a spot in "Counterstrike," playing Taffy Sadler. In 1974 he played Old Man Blanco in the prison-set sit-com Porridge with Ronnie Barker. He also played the title role in "The Top Secret life of Edgar Briggs."
In 1976 he first appeared in the long running "Open All Hours" as Granville. It was at this point that his career as actor really took off with him playing Shorty Mepstead in "Lucky Feller" and Peter Barnes in "A Sharp Intake of Breath.
In 1981 David began work on a new situation comedy about a small family consisting of two brothers and their elderly granddad trying to run a trading business. It was to be the defining role of his career for when David entered "Only Fools and Horses" he gave birth to Derrick "Del-boy" Trotter. Creating the character based on his own experiences growing up in London he quickly became one of the best loved faces on TV. The roll of Derrick nearly dominated his life for ten years, in fact, as he revealed on the Michael Parkinson Show "it got to the point where I didn't know where I ended and Del-boy began. In fact in1996 when the series officially ended, (aside from three specially recorded Christmas specials to be broardcast on Christmas Eve 2001/2/3) he was admittedly glad to finally say goodbye to his alter-ego.
But it must not be assumed that David is only a comedy actor. He does in fact have many roles in dramas, some of which can be very dark and brooding. For instance in 1987 he portrayed Skullion in "Porterhouse Blue" and was excellent in the roll. In 1992 David began performing as William "Jack" Frost in the television series "A Touch of Frost," a series about a cynical and depressed police inspector, that would eventually out do John Thaw's "Inspector Morse." A Touch of Frost is still running today.
The 1989 series "A Bit of a Do" also stared David as "Ted Simcock" his first comedy character outside Del-boy for some years. This was followed up in 1991 with the well known character of Pop Larkin in "The Darling Buds of May" which ran until 1994 and co-stared Catherine Zeta-Jones.
David appears in the 1993 film "The Bullion Boys" as Billy Mac. This is a strange film set in the forties where a group of Liverpudlian Dockers are persuaded to steal all of Britain's gold. This was followed up in 1998 with the ex-MI6 agent Steven March in the 1998 film "March in Windy City"
1997 saw David pursing his diving hobby in the documentary series "David Jason in His Element." This series was reasonably popular and a second one is proposed to take place in Pearl Harbour. This should be interesting as watching David accidently place himself in dangerous situations is surprisingly amusing.
In 1999 David played Frank Beck in the drama "All the King's Men." This was a very interesting role for David as he was playing an agent who turned royal servants into crack-soldiers. It's well worth watching this film and I believe it is available on DVD for around £15.
It is worth noting that in all his films David does his own stunts, and is currently looking into the prospect of performing in a Hollywood action movie.
Although most famous for his acting David has voiced many characters, including "the Wombles," "The Water Babies", "Danger Mouse", as the title-role, Toad in The "Wind in the Willows," the vegetarian vampire duck, Count Duckula in the series of the same name and the Big Friendly Giant in the "BFG."
David's private life took a sad turn in 1995 when his long time partner, Myfanwy Talog, died of cancer. This lead him to fall in love with his old "A Bit of a Do" partner. Gill Hinchcliffe who, in spite of being twenty years his junior gave birth to his daughter, Sophie Mae, in February 2001 and David loves her to pieces.
In April 2001 David appeared as a guest on the high profile Michael Parkinson Show and talked about, amongst other things, his perfect prat-fall in Only Fools and Horses which was recently voted comedy moment of the century (or some other similar award.) David also revealed that Skullion in Porterhouse Blue was his favourite ever role. Other subjects included, his daughter, Ronnie Barker and A Touch of Frost.
David's project "Micawber" (Dicken's character from David Copperfield) was shown in December 2001 and features himself in the title-role. He seems uncannily suited to the role of a Victorian gent and plays the part to perfection.
David's latest project is The Quest, a drama that he had the idea for himself and stars in. It aired in Spring 2002.