Only Fools and Horses favourite in Banbury

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HE HAS appeared in some of the nation’s best-loved TV shows, but John Challis was once an estate agent and grocer’s boy before he became an actor!

Best known as Boycie from Only Fools and Horses, he invites Banbury to an evening in which he talks about his life on stage and screen – and beyond.

“There’s been huge interest in John Challis’s appearance at The Mill Theatre,” said the venue’s programme manager, Deborah Clarke.

“We’ve got a handful of tickets left for the show which is part of a tour organised to coincide with the publication of the second part of John’s fascinating autobiography – Boycie and Beyond.

“He’s a wonderful actor with some really interesting and amusing stories to tell.

“He’s worked and socialised with so many well known names and he has countless funny stories to tell about his amazing career.” This popular entertainer – once a Royal Shakespeare Company member – appears at The Mill Theatre, Banbury tonight (Thursday) to chat about all kinds of extraordinary episodes in his star-studded, glittering, showbiz life.

Challis (pictured) has appeared in major television hits over several decades. Starting with Z Cars and Dixon of Dock Green, he moved on to The Sweeney and Juliet Bravo, but widened his scope in Doctor Who, Coronation Street, Ever Decreasing Circles, The Bill, One Foot in the Grave, Don’t Wait Up, Soldier Soldier and Heartbeat.

You name it, he has been in it and he has numerous amusing anecdotes to share about his roles and his fellow stars.

In this special evening at The Mill, Challis recalls frankly and affectionately how he lived and thrived as a young man on the ups and downs of provincial repertory theatre, the mad hustle of early television drama in the 1960s and 1970s and the stages of London’s West End.

As well as nuggets from the first autobiographical volume, Being Boycie, which covered his early career, he will be revealing some of the previously untold tales that are included in his newly-released, second volume, Boycie and Beyond, which covers the last 30 years and focuses on Only Fools and Horses, The Green, Green Grass and becoming a TV celebrity.

The evening ends with a question and answer session so members of the audience can quiz him on any of the exciting chapters in his fascinating life. And he’ll be signing copies of the new book after the show.

‘Boycie’ appeared on this week’s BBC2 Celebrity Antiques Road Trip on Monday evening, pitting his antiques valuation wits against those of his Only Fools and Horses screen wife Marlene (actress Sue Holderness). He won by a comfortable margin.

For details of any remaining seats at the show contact the box office on 01295 279002.

Tickets cost £16 for adults and £15 for concessions. The show begins at 8pm.