Only Fools and Horses and Benidorm actor John Challis dies aged 79

·2 min read
Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

Actor John Challis has died at age 79 "after a long battle with cancer," according to his family.

Challis was best known for playing Boycie in the classic BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses, as well as appearing in Benidorm.

His character Boycie, also known as Terrance Aubry Boyce, was a second-hand car dealer who quickly became a fan favourite.

He starred alongside Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst in the comedy from 1981 to 2003, and later appeared in a spin-off show that continue to follow Boycie's adventures with his wife Marlene, which lasted for four seasons.

Photo credit: John Furniss - Getty Images
Photo credit: John Furniss - Getty Images

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Many of Challis' former co-stars paid tribute to his legacy, with Sir David Jason saying he was "a wonderful actor" and a "gentleman in the true sense of the word".

Sue Holderness, who played Marlene on Only Fools and Horses, said: "Marlene without Boycie – it's unthinkable. John Challis was my partner on screen and stage for 36 years and my beloved friend. RIP darling John. I will miss you every day."

Steven Woodcock, who played Jevon in the sitcom, said Challis was a "fantastic actor and wonderful person, amazing to work with. There is no Del Boy without Boycie. RIP my Peckham pal."

His family released a statement about his death, saying that he died "peacefully in his sleep."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

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"He will always be loved for being Boycie and leaves a great legacy of work that will continue to bring pleasure and smiles for many years to come. Be assured that in the future there will be an occasion to celebrate John's life – when everyone will be welcome to come along," it continued.

Challis has had an extensive career, having also appeared in ITV's Coronation Street back in the 60s and in the mid-70s, as well as episodes of Doctor Who, The Bill, Casualty, Soldier Soldier and My Family.

He played Monty Staines in the British sitcom Benidorm for ITV, which saw an ensemble cast in an all-inclusive hotel in Spain.

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