I keep on encouraging my Dad to write some reviews for me. A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a publicist wondering if I’d like to read a showbiz biography – they said if I didn’t fancy it, maybe my father would. The lure of a free book hooked him! So please welcome Ray, my Dad …
Being Boycie by John Challis
When Annabel rang me recently and asked me if I’d like to review John Challis’s autobiography, my first thought was ‘What? He’s a nobody’. But being a sucker for showbiz auto/biographies and never one to turn down a free book, I reluctantly agreed. Being Boycie arrived a day later and now I’ve read it, so here goes.
My first thought was confirmed. Here is somebody who considers himself to be a pretty good actor but although he has played the odd big part, it’s a fact that most of the parts he played were on the small side with long periods with no work. One of those lasted a year during which he and a couple of pals set up the St Margaret’s Garden Centre. He did however appear in Tom Stoppard plays in the USA, in the Ray Cooney/John Chapman farce Move Over Mrs Markham in South Africa and performed in minor parts at the National but my opinion has not changed. He was however unlucky in that he was picked to play a good part in the Beatles film Magical Mystery Tour but the BBC would not release him from his contract at that time. So, Boycie he is and Boycie he will remain. Challis had played Detective Inspector Humphreys in one episode of John Sullivan’s Citizen Smith and that led Sullivan to cast him as Boycie in his new series Only Fools and Horses, only once in the first series and not again until the third episode of the second series. Subsequently he has gone on to be a staple character in OFAH as he likes to call it.
Strangely, this autobiography stops just as Marlene is about to be introduced intoOFAH, but I’ve no doubt that Challis, when he comes to write the follow-up to Being Boycie (perhaps to be called Still Boycie and assuming of course that this one sells – I have my doubts) will point to Boycie being a key character which led to his being given the dire The Green Green Grass. In the book Challis seems to be obsessed with all the women he has been involved with so much so that it could alternatively have been called Being Casanova or The Many Women I Have Loved and Left. I should perhaps balance this by saying that he insists he is now (and has been for the last 20 years) happily married.
Oh well, that’s done and I’ve now also read Joanne Harris’s blueeyedboy (very contemporary in that it consists of a series of blogs – it’s weird, confusing but nevertheless entertaining) and am about to start on Jeffrey Deaver’s Carte Blanche.
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To explore further on Amazon UK, click below:
Being Boycie by John Challis
Only Fools and Horses – The Complete Collection [DVD]