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Last Updated:  Sunday, 13 April, 2003, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
David Jason: Nobody's fool
David Jason and Ronnie Barker
Reunited with Ronnie Barker by Bafta
BBC News Online profiles popular British actor David Jason, who has been awarded a Bafta fellowship.

David Jason's 35-year career has made him one of the best-loved personalities on the UK's small screen.

As well as playing wheeler dealer Del Boy, in the ever-popular Only Fools and Horses, he has also had hits with sitcom Open All Hours and detective drama A Touch of Frost.

His 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 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.

Jason played the hapless 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 1996, a Christmas episode of the programme, which was planned as the last ever, drew a record 24.35m viewers.

The part of Derek Trotter in Only Fools And Horses almost went to, among others, Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent.

David Jason in the first series of Only Fools and Horses
Only Fools and Horses first hit screens in 1981
Fortunately, the right man got the part and the long-running sitcom has provided some of the funniest moments ever broadcast on the BBC.

Jason has also appeared in The Darling Buds Of May, All The King's Men and Quest.

In October 2002, he was named most popular comedy performer for the third year in a row at the National Television Awards.

Jason 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."

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.

As a recipient of a Bafta fellowship, he joins actors such as Sir John Mills, Oscar-winner Dame Judi Dench and late Inspector Morse star John Thaw.

He received a fellowship from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) at the academy's TV awards ceremony on Sunday.

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