Weymouth will provide a warm welcome back to Boycie next Saturday, where he will be appearing at the Riviera Hotel.
I managed to catch up with the evergreen John Challis for a chat about what to expect from his hugely popular show ‘Only fools and Boycie’, and of course we talk Only fools and his role in the hit ITV comedy show Benidorm.
I’ll leave the rest to Boycie….
– Without giving too much away, what are your Only fools and Boycie shows about?
“My one man show Only Fools and Boycie has been going for over four years now and it began on P&O cruises where it was very well received. I thought it might go well on the mainland and with a local journalist Andy Richardson we organised a tour of small venues around the UK. I have published two volumes of autobiography called Being Boycie and Boycie and Beyond and people seem to enjoy the stories from my long and varied career, so that’s what I do on stage-tell stories! The show is just me talking about myself which is what actors like to do, but I do have some great stories from backstage and behind the camera”
“There’s lots of name dropping and recognition stories, but mostly people want to hear about my time in Only Fools and Horses. The show is in two halves of 45 minutes with a twenty minute interval. There is a Q&A at the end of the second half for anyone to ask anything they’ve been dying to know! Afterwards I meet and greet the audience in the theatre foyer, there are copies of my books on sale and I will sign those and write any special message. I’m happy to do selfies!”
Have you ever performed at the Riviera Hotel before and when were you last present in Dorset?
“I’m looking forward very much to playing the Riviera Hotel at Bowleaze Cove. I’ve never been there before but my wife Carol is a Dorset girl and remembers it fondly from her childhood when it was a Pontin’s Holiday Camp! What a fantastic building on such a beautiful piece of coastline and what a relief that the place is still standing. Carol’s brother lives near Dorchester and we always stay with him when we’re down in Dorset. This year was my first time at the Dorset Food and Art Festival in Poundbury and the Dorset County Show where I had a chance to showcase my books under the name of my own publishing company Wigmore Books. I also spent a few days selling books over the August Bank Holiday at the Great Dorset Steam Fair which was phenomenal!”
What about Benidorm, you’re part of the fabric there now?!
“I’ve been very lucky to have been part of such an iconic show as Only Fools and Horses but a couple of years ago I was asked to create a new character in ITV’s hit comedy Benidorm. The writer Derren Litten was always a great fan of John Sullivan and Sullivan rated his work highly as he asked Derren to write for the Green Green Grass. I think that Derren is a great talent and a worthy successor to Sullivan. I was thrilled when I was asked to appear in Benidorm as Monty Staines, a love interest for Joyce Temple Savage. He’s had to fight off a few of her suitors but he’s finally got his girl. I started off in Series 8 I think as a real estate wheeler dealer and then came back in Series 9 as a contender for Joyce’s affections, but she’s a tricky lady and not really sure what she wants! See what happens in Series 10 which we filmed on location in Benidorm over five months when it comes out on ITV in January. I had the time of my life and was well and truly welcomed into the Benidorm family. It’s a great friendly company, cast and crew alike and they like to party! There were lots of guest artistes, all of them legends and you’ll just have to watch to see what happens. The first episode of the new series is fantastic – the most fun you could wish for!”
An OFAH revival?
“I’m often asked if there will be another one off special episode of Only Fools and Horses. The answer is probably not, as our brilliant writer John Sullivan passed away some years ago. Nobody could do it better than Sullivan and his family is keen to protect that legacy. Both David and Nicholas have said that if a script came along that lived up to the standard of John Sullivan, then they would be up for it, as would Sue Holderness and I, but to be fair with you it’s not very likely – sadly”.
Last few weeks of 2017…?
“I spent the first half of this year in Spain so this last part of the year is galloping away, I’ve got four more dates on this tour including Brighton, Bournemouth, Weymouth and Bath then it’s home to the Midlands for an evening in conversation with Nick Owen at the Brierley Hill Civic near Birmingham. Most people will know Nick from TV’s Good Morning With Anne (Diamond) and Nick. He’s a great sports fan and loves the same blues music as me; he’s an old friend so we should have a good evening asking each other about our long careers-over 100 years clocked up between us!”
“I’ve got lots of book signing opportunities coming up, mostly local at the Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fair and Shrewsbury Christmas Fair, then two days in Wrexham at Wales Comic Con which has grown and grown into this mega event! I usually do panto over the Christmas period but this will be the first time in 26 consecutive years that I won’t be either Captain Hook or Abanazar . I just decided to have a break but I’ll probably miss frightening the children, so I might go back to it in 2018”.
What you got for 2018?
“As for 2018, like most actors I haven’t a clue what’s in store. No filming next year for Benidorm as we’re taking a year out, so who knows what will turn up. Our business is notoriously fickle but when it’s good it’s very, very good. Watch this space”.
John Challis will be back in Dorset with his one man show ‘Only fools and Boycie’ on Saturday 11th November at the Riviera Hotel, Bowleaze Cove, Weymouth
SAT NAV – DT3 6PR
John Challis on twitter @BeingBoycie
Riviera Hotel, Weymouth on twitter @RivieraHotel3
By Lee Dolbear – Dorset Newsdesk – @leedolbear7 twitter