Comedy legend Sir David Jason is marking Gold’s 25th Birthday celebrations with two retrospective specials, one looking back at his career and another giving his unique insight into the making of Only Fools & Horses.
Launched as UK Gold on 1 November 1992, the channel was originally a joint venture between the BBC’s commercial arm and former ITV franchisee Thames Television. The BBC has remained a shareholder in the channel’s parent company, UKTV, in which it’s had a number of business partners over the years, including Virgin Media and, currently, US media giant Scripps Networks Interactive.
A major investment in new original content has allowed UKTV’s portfolio of ten themed channels to enjoy significant audience growth and become one of the UK’s largest broadcasters. The two Jason retrospectives are Gold’s latest original commissions.
The first, David Jason: My Life On Screen, will offer a “revealing, highly personal insight” into Sir David’s life as he talks about the stars who inspired him, including “the pivotal role” friend and mentor Ronnie Barker played in his career.
He’ll also recall his first big television break, working alongside future Monty Python stars Michael Palin and Eric Idle on the comedy sketch show Do Not Adjust Your Set, and treat viewers to a tour of his childhood roots in Finchley and the theatres where he first trod the boards.
The actor says: “As my life on screen has now gathered variety and quantity, I am hoping that I can offer a documentary which gives the audience an accurate range of my work.
“Fingers crossed, it should make for an enjoyable programme to reflect the enjoyment I’ve had in making each and every show.”
The Story of Only Fools & Horses is billed as “the definitive story of Britain’s best-loved TV family.”
This five-part series features rare and unseen footage from the Trotter archives and specially re-created moments from Del Boy’s family and friends as Sir David and other members of the crew analyse their favourite sequences and memories and take an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how certain scenes arose and how stories developed to create those well-loved comedy moments.
About the series Sir David said: “It has taken a lot of persuasion for me to take part in an official documentary about Only Fools & Horses but, as time has gone on, it seems to have been imprinted in television history and I thought it was only right that I tried to give an accurate insight into how the show was put together.
“In doing so, I hope we can create a definitive programme which appeals to the many fans which have been the stalwarts of the show and are growing with the next generation. It should be fun!”
Steve North, General Manager for Gold, said: “I am so excited to be working with Sir David Jason to help celebrate Gold’s 25th birthday this year, and really delve into one of the most loved shows and actors on the channel.
“Gold viewers will get a real treat from both series, and I personally can’t wait to get to know more about the man behind some of our best performing comedies on Gold. ”