Only Fools And Horses actor John Challis dies aged 79

John Challis, who played Boycie in Only Fools And Horses, has died at the age of 79.

His family said in a statement that he died “peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer”.

A statement from the 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.”

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

“As Boycie would have said… you know it makes sense!” their statement added.

File photo dated 15/10/2002 of actress Sue Holderness who played Marlene and actor John Challis who played Boycie in 'Only Fools and Horses' arriving at the National Television Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Challis has died "peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer", his family has said. Issue date: Sunday September 19, 2021.
Image: Actress Sue Holderness who played Marlene and actor John Challis who played Boycie in Only Fools and Horses

The actor, who was born in Bristol in 1942, had an extensive television career but was best known for playing unscrupulous second-hand car dealer Terrance Aubrey “Boycie” Boyce in the long-running beloved BBC sitcom.

The actor, who was born in Bristol, had an extensive television career but was best known for playing Terrance Aubrey “Boycie” Boyce in the long-running BBC sitcom.

He also starred in its spin-off The Green Green Grass from 2005 to 2009 and the ITV sitcom Benidorm from the seventh series onwards.

Earlier this month, he cancelled a 30-date speaking tour after only one appearance due to ill health.

The actor recently became an honorary citizen of Serbia, where Only Fools remains hugely popular.

He also made the documentary Boycie In Belgrade, which explored why the show was so beloved in the Balkan country.

Tributes have been pouring in since the news of his death emerged, with The Three Degrees singer Sheila Ferguson tweeting: “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.”

One Only Fools fan tweeted: “Absolutely gutted to hear of the passing of John Challis (Boycie from OFAH) Massive part of so many people’s childhoods”.

Allo Allo star Vicki Michelle said: “Shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Wonderful John Challis such a fabulous man . Loved by the Nation. Condolences to his family and loved ones.”

The Jolly Boys Podcast said: “We are absolutely devastated by the passing of our lovely friend, John Challis. Our hearts go out to his family & friends at this difficult time We love you, John. Sleep well”.

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