Only Fools and Horses

Where Only Fools and Horses stars now – secret child, tragic deaths and co-star split

Only Fools and Horses is one of the UK's biggest comedies and first aired in 1981 before ending in 2003, the show catapulted actors into stardom, but where are they now?

Only Fools and Horses is one of the UK’s much-loved comedies – but where are some of the big stars now?

The beloved BBC series focused on dodgy market trader Derek “Del Boy” Trotter and his family.

The show gloriously ran from 1981 to 1991 and continued with successful Christmas specials until 2003.

The hit programme gave some of the most iconic scenes ever shown on British TV and is still a fan fave to this day.

Only Fools and Horses became such a household name that it even had pubs named after it, in this country and abroad.

Daily Star has taken a look at what happened to the show’s biggest stars, from their careers in pantomimes to a huge tragedy.

John Challis

John Challis
Only Fools and Horses star John Challis has died at the age of 79 (Image: BBC)The actor, best known for playing Terrance Aubrey “Boycie” Boyce in the beloved sitcom and his roles in The Green Green Grass and Benidorm, died “peacefully” in his sleep in September 2021, after a long battle with cancer.

A statement from John’s family read: “A statement issued by his family published on Sunday afternoon read: “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.

Only Fools and Horses cast
An Only Fools and Horses themed pub coming to the UK (Image: bnm)

“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.

The message ended: “As Boycie would have said… ‘you know it makes sense’.”

Tributes quickly came pouring in from his co-stars, including Sue Holderness and Sir David Jason, as well as rapper and actor Ice-T, who he had struck up an unusual friendship with.

Challis had no children, but married four times, and was married to wife Carol Davies from 1995 to his death 26 years later.

Sir David Jason

Sir David Jason played Del Boy Trotter in Only Fools and Horses
Sir David Jason played Del Boy Trotter in Only Fools and HorsesThe cushty role made a star out of Jason and he has gone on to become one of Britain’s best-loved actors.

Since then he’s probably best known as Detective Inspector Jack Frost in police drama A Touch Of Frost, which aired from 1992 to 2010.

Pre-Only Fools, he played Granville in Open All hours with Ronnie Barker – he reprised this in a 2013 sequel Still Open All hours which is still running today.

Abi Harris and David Jason
Sir David’s daughter Abi has opened up about the discovery (Image: Mirror Pictures)

Jason, now 83, lived with his long-term girlfriend, Welsh actress Myfanwy Talog, for 18 years and nursed her through breast cancer until she died in 1995.

In 2001, the award-winning actor became a dad for the first time aged 61 when his wife Gill Hinchcliffe gave birth to their daughter Sophie Mae.

Though this week, David found out he had another “secret” daughter called Abi aged 52. Plus, also a 10-year-old grandson, Charlie.

The family are now “making up for lost time” and trying to build a bond together.

Abi’s mum is actress Jennifer Hill, who he had a relationship with.

According to Spears magazine, Jason has amassed an eye-watering fortune of £6.9million from his successful career, including making royalties from the BBC series.

Nicholas Lyndhurst

Nicholas Lyndhurst (r) played Rodney Trotter
Nicholas Lyndhurst (r) played Rodney Trotter (Image: UKTV)

The butt of brother Del’s jokes and forever a “plonker”, Rodders’ fortunes changed when he met his wife Cassandra.

After Only Fools and Horses, Lyndhurst also became one of the nation’s favourite actors thanks new new roles.

In hit 90s sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart he played the time-travelling love rat, Gary Sparrow, juggling women in the present and during World War Two.

Nicholas Lyndhurst and wife Lucy mourned the death of son Archie (c) last year (Image: COPYRIGHT UNKNOWN)

Lyndhurst, 61, starred in crime drama New Tricks between 2013 and 2015, a one-off Goodnight Sweetheart sequel in 2016 and has also appeared on stage.

Married to former ballet dancer Lucy, the family was struck by tragedy last September when their 19-year-old son Archie, also an actor, died in his sleep from a brain haemorrhage caused by acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Daily Star Sunday revealed Nicholas “may never” return to TV following the death of his son, saying: “Nicholas underwent tragedy. It must have broken his heart. It would break anyone’s heart.

“He has always kept himself to himself and now he’ll do that more than ever. Now he’s lost his son, he’ll never come out again. I doubt we will see him do any more acting.”

Lyndhurst has since said he is still getting offers for TV and has plans to return to screen at some point.

Gwyneth Strong

Gwyneth Strong played Cassandra Trotter
Gwyneth Strong played Cassandra Trotter

Rodney’s love interest, and later wife, Cassandra enjoyed a privileged upbringing, initially making Rodney too embarrassed to reveal he lived in Nelson Mandela House.

Actress strong has regularly worked in TV since, most recently joining EastEnders in 2016 as Geraldine Clough.

The 63-year-old is married to actor Jesse Birdsall, who starred in Eldorado and Footballers’ Wives, and the pair have two children.

Sue Holderness

Sue Holderness and John Challis, pictured at Comic Con Liverpool 2020, still work together
Sue Holderness and John Challis were on-screen husband and wife (Image: Getty)

Married mum-of-two Sue Holderness, 73, has mostly done stage work including panto, but also appeared alongside David Jason in Still Open All hours.

She also appeared on Loose Women days before her former on-screen husband’s tragic death.

Opening up about John’s health battle, the actress said: “I know you’re all interested because John’s had the diagnosis that he’s not been well.

“And he’s very disappointed that he had to cancel his one-man tour.”

“Let’s all have positive thinking,” the actress replied. “But don’t be too upset, we had lunch in the pub three weeks ago.

“And two weeks ago, exactly I spent all day with him filming a little documentary about Only Fools.”

“But enough positive thinking and he’ll get home, have some rest and he’ll get back and having us all laugh again very soon.”

Tessa Peake-Jones

Tessa Peake-Jones, who played Raquel, is still acting
Tessa Peake-Jones, who played Raquel, is still acting

Raquel was introduced in the sixth series and became Del’s girlfriend and mum to their son Damien.

Actress Peake-Jones, now 65, went on to appear in TV shows including Doctors and holby City, and has played the vicar’s grumpy housekeeper in Grantchester since 2014.

She was previously in a relationship with actor Douglas hodge, who played the Trotters’ son Damien as an adult in a dream sequence in Only Fools episode heroes And Villains.

They split in 2013 after 27 years together and have two children.

Lennard Pearce and Buster Merryfield

Lennard Pearce (l) and Buster Merryfield (r) as Grandad and Uncle Albert
Lennard Pearce (l) and Buster Merryfield (r) as Grandad and Uncle Albert

The original elder statesman of the Trotter clan, Pearce died from a heart attack in 1984 at 69 and was written out of the series.

Merryfield, a bank manager who became an actor after he retired, was brought in as Uncle Albert whose catchphrase was “During the war…”.

The popular actor tragically died aged 78 in 1999.

Roger Lloyd Pack, Paul Barber, Kenneth MacDonald, Patrick Murray

Only Fools and Horses cast
Roger Lloyd Pack (second row-second right), Paul Barber (second row, furthest right), Kenneth MacDonald (third row, furthest right), Patrick Murray (bottom row, furthest right) (Image: Getty)

Dopey Trigger, who always called Rodney “Dave”, was there when Del famously fell through the bar.

Lloyd Pack went on to have many top roles including Owen in The Vicar of Dibley and in Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire before he died in 2014 aged 69, following a battle with cancer.

Barber, 71, also went on to appear in a string of film and TV roles, most famously Horse in The Full Monty.

MacDonald died in 2001 from a heart attack while on holiday with his family in Hawaii. He was just 50.

Murray, 66, is still working but in 2018 revealed he was suffering from lung disease.

He revealed on Jan 25 that he had been diagnosed with cancer after doctors found a tumour in his lungs, which the star has since had removed.

Murray told fans on social media: “I now speak from my own experience. Naturally I wanted to keep my own health problems private, but failing to fully endorse this ad would be selfish.

“Thanks to my ultrascan I have a fighting chance. It showed my organs needed further investigation and tumours were spotted.”

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