John Challis death tributes LATEST: Only Fools & Horses actor who played Boycie dies aged 79 following cancer battle

ONLY Fools And Horses star John Challis has died from cancer at the age of 79, his family has today confirmed.

He was best-known for his portrayal of unscrupulous second-hand car dealer Boycie in the beloved sitcom, alongside Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst.

He cancelled a 30-date speaking tour earlier this month after only one appearance due to ill health.

A statement from his family said: "It is with heavy hearts that we bring you such sad news. Our dear friend and yours, John Challis, has died peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer.

"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.

"Please respect the privacy of John's family and friends at this difficult time, and be assured that in the future there will be an occasion to celebrate John's life – when everyone will be welcome to come along."

Read our John Challis live blog below for the latest updates…

  • Joseph Gamp

    BENIDORM ACTRESS CRISSY ROCK SHARES HER HEARTBREAK OVER JOHN CHALLIS' DEATH

    Actress Crissy Rock, who appeared in Benidorm with John Challis, was among those paying tribute to the actor.

    She said on Twitter: "I am heartbroken to hear the news that the legendary actor @BeingBoycie has sadly passed away.

    "John you were a true gentleman and always so loving and supportive towards me.

    "I am thinking of your family and close friends at this hard time. Rest well. Crissy xx."

  • Joseph Gamp

    SOMERSET COUNTY CRICKET CLUB PAY TRIBUTE TO LONG TERM FAN JOHN CHALLIS

    In tribute to their long-term fan, Somerset County Cricket Club shared a video filmed with John Challis earlier this year in which he comically announced the extension of a player's contract.

    "Somerset County Cricket Club are extremely saddened to hear about the passing of long term supporter John Challis," the club tweeted.

    "Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time."

  • Joseph Gamp

    WHAT DID JOHN CHALLIS AFTER ONLY FOOLS & HORSES

    John Challis' Boycie was so beloved by OFAH fans that he got his own spin-off series, The Green Green Grass.

    Challis became well-known for playing Monty in four series of the ITV sitcom Benidorm.

    And in 2020, Challis made a documentary, Boycie in Belgrade, exploring how OFAH had become a huge hit in Serbia.

    "I felt like a pop star, it was extraordinary," he told The Sun. "They kept asking me where Marlene was.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    JOHN CHALLIS CANCELLED AN UPCOMING SPEAKING TOUR DUE TO ILL HEALTH

    Only Fools And Horses star John Challis cancelled a speaking tour due to ill health earlier this month.

    Challis, 79, is best-known for his portrayal of unscrupulous second-hand car dealer Boycie in the beloved sitcom alongside Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst.

    He had embarked on a 30-date speaking tour but cancelled after only one appearance.

    In a statement to The Sun, tour promoter A Way With Media said: "Due to ill health, John's tour is cancelled with immediate effect.

    "He completed the first show of his present tour, intending to continue. However, he has been advised to cancel further engagements."

  • Joseph Gamp

    IN PICTURES: SUE HOLDERNESS AND JOHN CHALLIS ATTEND THE 2002 NTA AWARDS

    Sue Holderness joined tributes this afternoon to Boycie actor John Challis.

    Boycie, a cigar-smoking businessman with a mocking laugh, was married to the feisty Marlene – played by Sue Holderness – and regularly butted heads with Sir David’s Del Boy.

    Sue Holderness who played Marlene is pictured John at the National Television Awards back in 2002.

  • Joseph Gamp

    CHALLIS RECENTLY BECAME AN HONORARY CITIZEN OF SERBIA

    John Challis recently became an honorary citizen of Serbia, where the BBC sitcom remains hugely popular.

    Challis made the documentary Boycie In Belgrade, exploring why the show was so beloved in the Balkan country.

    Boycie, a cigar-smoking businessman with a mocking laugh, was married to the feisty Marlene – played by Sue Holderness – and regularly butted heads with Sir David's Del Boy.

  • Joseph Gamp

    JOHN CHALLIS PREVIOUSLY REVEALED A RARE MOMENT OF TENDERNESS WITH HIS FATHER

    Speaking to the Guardian, Challis said: "The only time he let his guard down was when he was quite p***ed and he'd watched me in Tom Stoppard's play Dirty Linen.

    "We were sitting at the kitchen table and he suddenly said 'I was so proud of you', and I burst into tears because he'd never, ever said that.

    "And then he said 'How do you do that? How do you get up there on stage and do that?' I said 'It's my job, Dad'. 'Fantastic', he said.

    "It was an unbelievable breakthrough, but then the doors closed and he never mentioned it again."

  • Joseph Gamp

    JOHN CHALLIS' EARLY LIFE AND CAREER

    Challis, who has died aged 79, was born in Bristol in 1942 but moved to south-east London with his parents when he was one.

    His father was a civil servant from Sheffield while his mother, who harboured dreams of becoming an actress, oversaw plays for youth clubs.

    After a brief and unsuccessful attempt at becoming an estate agent, Challis set his sights on a career in the arts.

    One of his early roles was as Sergeant Culshaw in police procedural Z-Cars, which he thought was of no interest to his father.

    It was only years later that he found out from a family friend how proud his father was. They later shared a rare moment of personal affection.

  • Joseph Gamp

    ACTRESS WHO PLAYED BOYCIE'S WIFE MARLENE PAYS TRIBUTE

    Sue Holderness, who played Boycie's wife Marlene in Only Fools And Horses, paid tribute to John Challis as her "beloved friend".

    She said in a statement: "Marlene without Boycie – it's unthinkable. John Challis was my partner on screen and stage for 36 years and my beloved friend. R.I.P. darling John. I will miss you every day."

  • Joseph Gamp

    ONLY FOOLS STAR JOHN CHALLIS LEFT INDELIBLE MARK ON BRITISH TV AS BOYCIE

    John Challis left an indelible mark on British popular culture with his portrayal of loudmouth second-hand car salesman Boycie in Only Fools And Horses.

    The character, usually found at the Nag's Head pub with a cigar in one hand and a large cognac in the other, was instantly recognisable by his mocking laugh – which often followed a cutting remark about one of the Trotters.

    Challis played Terrance Aubrey "Boycie" Boyce from the first series of Only Fools And Horses in 1981, right the way through to the final Christmas special in 2003.

    He also reprised the career-defining role of Boycie, a close friend and frequent sparring partner of Sir David Jason's Del Boy, for spin-off series The Green Green Grass from 2005-2009.

  • Joseph Gamp

    THREE DEGRESS SINGER SHEILA FERGUSON PAYS TRIBUTE TO JOHN CHALLIS

    The Three Degrees singer Sheila Ferguson tweeted: "I've been waiting for this for a few days now.

    "It is with great sadness that I tell you that my dear friend, John Challis (Boycie from OFAH) has just passed.

    "I've been in touch with his wife, Carol, who is obviously heartbroken, as am I. Much love, S."

  • Joseph Gamp

    WHO WAS JOHN CHALLIS' BELOVED CHARACTER BOYCIE?

    Challis played Terrance Aubrey Boyce in Only Fools And Horses from 1981 to 2003, as well as in Boycie-focused spin-off show The Green Green Grass.

    He recently became an honorary citizen of Serbia, where the BBC sitcom remains hugely popular.

    Challis made the documentary Boycie In Belgrade, exploring why the show was so beloved in the Balkan country.

    Boycie, a cigar-smoking businessman with a mocking laugh, was married to the feisty Marlene – played by Sue Holderness – and regularly butted heads with Sir David's Del Boy.

  • Joseph Gamp

    FAMILY ASK FOR DONATIONS TO BE MADE TO HIS CHOSEN ANIMAL CHARITIES

    John Challis's family said donations in his memory can be made to his chosen animal charities Cuan Wildlife Rescue, Tusk or the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

    Their statement added: "As Boycie would have said… you know it makes sense!"

  • Joseph Gamp

    JOHN CHALLIS DIED PEACEFULLY AND IN HIS SLEEP, SAYS FAMILY

    Only Fools And Horses star John Challis has died "peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer", his family has said.

  • Joseph Gamp

    STATEMENT FROM JOHN CHALLIS' FAMILY

    A statement from his family to the PA news agency said: "It is with heavy hearts that we bring you such sad news.

    "Our dear friend and yours, John Challis, has died peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer.

    "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.

    "Please respect the privacy of John's family and friends at this difficult time, and be assured that in the future there will be an occasion to celebrate John's life – when everyone will be welcome to come along."

  • Joseph Gamp

    JOHN HCALLIS DEAD AT 79

    Only Fools And Horses star John Challis has died from cancer at the age of 79, his family has said.

    He was best-known for his portrayal of unscrupulous second-hand car dealer Boycie in the beloved sitcom, alongside Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst.

    He cancelled a 30-date speaking tour earlier this month after only one appearance due to ill health.

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