Comedy legend Boycie – star of Only Fools And Horses – is heading to Chester’s Forum Studio Theatre, following a social media campaign by fans.
People in the city sent messages to Boycie, AKA actor John Challis, asking him to bring his one-man show to the city on Saturday, January 31.
The star responded to the latest requests and asked his agent to organise a show, which will take place as part of a 25-date UK tour.
Challis was recently voted one of the UK’s most influential over-50 Tweeters because he has more than 45,000 followers and uses Twitter every day. He said he was delighted to be asked to play at the venue.
He said: “I’m no stranger to Chester. It’s a beautiful, vibrant city that I know very well.
“I spend a lot of time on Twitter, communicating with fans, and have 45,000 followers. Last summer, a number of them tweeted me and asked me to come back to Chester. I can’t wait to visit and meet up with old friends.”
Mr Challis will appear in a show called Only Fools And Boycie, in which he will tell stories from his life, including working with The Beatles and Oliver Reed, being introduced to The Rolling Stones, drinking with George Best, and starring on Coronation Street, Doctor Who, Only Fools and Horses and The Green Green Grass.
The show completed a hugely successful tour in autumn. Challis said: “We’re getting dates all over the place. It’s an intimate evening with me, in which I talk about my life and my years in Only Fools And Horses. There’s also a meet ’n’ greet after the show, so people can get autographs and selfies, if they wish.
“Only Fools and Horses changed my life and it’s prompted some very funny episodes. People also get the chance to ask a few questions and I also meet the fans and sign copies of my autobiography following the show.”
Challis added that he remained good friends with the cast of Only Fools and Horses and many of them still kept in touch.
He said: “We all speak and I see a lot of Marlene, or rather the actress Sue Holderness. I’ve written two volumes of autobiography, which have sold very quickly. It’s been an extraordinary life and I’ve met a lot of interesting people. I feel very humbled that the people of Chester asked me to come and I look forward to meeting them soon.”
Tickets are available at www.tiptopproductions.co.uk or by calling 01244 341296.<p/> <p/>
What can your fans expect from your show?<p/>
They can expect plenty of laughter. Ahahahahaha. After all, that’s what Boycie is best known<p/>
for. I love meeting fans when I’m out on the road and Only Fools and Horses remains one of<p/>
the most popular shows of all time. It was back on our screens on Christmas Day and it’s<p/>
never gone out of fashion. People will get the lowdown on the show; I’ll be taking them<p/>
behind the scenes and talking through some of the most famous episodes. I’ll also reveal a<p/>
few surprises from my 50-years in showbusiness, like the time I turned down The Beatles<p/>
after they’d asked me to appear in one of their films. And do you know, I still regret that to<p/>
this day. There’ll be an audience Q&A and a meet’n’greet aftewards, during which I’ll sign<p/>
autographs, meet fans and pose for selfies.<p/> <p/>
Do you find it hard to write new material or does it come easy for you?<p/>
I’ve got a lifetime’s worth of material to choose from. So many things have happened in my<p/>
life that it’s never difficult to pick up a funny anecdote. I shared Marlon Brando’s dressing<p/>
room when I was touring a play in America, I drank with George Best when he was the<p/>
country’s most famous footballer and I watched in horror as Oliver Reed smashed up a hotel<p/>
room. And that’s before we even get to Only Fools and Horses. I’ve lived a remarkable life<p/>
and it’s a real thrill to be able to share some of my stories with fans.<p/> <p/>
Do you have any influences when it comes to comedy? Who are the greats in your opinion?<p/>
I still follow comedy and I keep an eye on what’s going on. I like Miranda, for instance, and<p/>
Mrs Browns Boys also gets my vote of approval. I suppose the people I looked up to most<p/>
were the comics from The Goon Show. I could do all of the voices. That’s how I got started. I<p/>
used to imitate people, I was a natural mimic. I wasn’t the brightest kid in the class, but I<p/>
was the one who could make people laugh.<p/> <p/>
Do you ever think you’ll team up again with other cast members from Only Fools and<p/>
We see one another quite often. We were a huge gang and we all got along. Of course,<p/>
quite a few of the cast are no longer with us. Our writer, John Sullivan, has also passed<p/>
away. Last year, we lost Roger Lloyd Pack, who played Trigger. I had been speaking with him<p/>
a day or so before, so it was a huge shock. We continue to see one another at conventions<p/>
and so on, but I don’t think there’ll be another series. You never say never, but I don’t think<p/>
it’s likely.<p/> <p/>
Why do you think the character of Boycie has endured for so long?<p/>
Boycie is still popular because people had sympathy for him. They realised he was wheeling<p/>
and dealing to try and make something better. I think people identified with that. Of course,<p/>
he found himself in hilarious situations and they made people laugh. John Sullivan was one<p/>
of the best writers of all time and he created extraordinary characters. But John always used<p/>
to tell us actors that we’d brought them to life.<p/> <p/>
What are your plans for the future?<p/>
I’m incredibly busy. I’ve been working for 50 years in showbusiness and I’m busier than ever.<p/>
I’m doing 25 dates of my show this spring and I’ll do another set of shows in autumn. Then<p/>
I’m appearing in Benidorm, on ITV, which people seem to really love. I’ve just finished a very<p/>
successful pantomime and I also published my latest novel just before Christmas. I also did a<p/>
short film, which we’re hoping to take to Cannes. I’ve got plenty of other irons in the fire.<p/>
But I’m looking forward to being on the road this spring so that I can meet fans and<p/>
celebrate Only Fools and Horses with them.<p/>
Not For Publication<p/>
John Challis is available for interview. Please contact Andy Richardson on 07837 795793 or by email<p/>
at email@example.com to arrange.