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Sunday, 20 October 2013

David Jason's Autobiography - A Lesson in Longevity

For those of you in the USA, you might not know who he is. But here in the U.K., he's television royalty.

We love him for many reasons, but mostly for 'Del Boy' in "Only Fools and Horses". I feel happy just thinking about that show. Makes me feel all warm and English and proud.

And I've not even got to the part in the book where he talks about the show. I'm still reading about his humble upbringing, the embarrassing auditions, his struggles with women and his insecurities about never having gone to drama school.



Did you know he was offered a role in "Dad's Army" which was then retracted only hours later? Did you know he was in a TV show with three Pythons in the 1960's? The show was called "Do Not Adjust Your Set".

Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Jones were all on the show, but they got frustrated by the limits of children's TV; creatively stifled by the producers and the censors, so they left after two seasons.

And David Jason was left bitter, jealous and unemployed. Everyone was off making "Monty Python" and "Dad's Army", and he was NOWHERE.

But isn't it funny when you have hindsight. When you realise that David Jason on "Monty Python" would have meant no "Open All Hours" for him, and no Derek Trotter.

The year the Python's ditched him was 1969. Seven years before "Open All Hours", twelve years before "Only Fools and Horses". Makes you realise how long a career takes.

I wonder if it's a modern problem for people to want success so immediately. Everyone seems so depressed that they don't have their own "Only Fools and Horses", yet they don't seem willing to pay their dues to get there. How many years of failures have you had? How many times have you nearly got an opportunity only to see it swept away from underneath you?

And paying your dues isn't about doing enough for other people, it's not about doing what you've got to do to deserve something, it's about what needs to happen for you to be GOOD ENOUGH.

I was reading some comments on Twitter earlier, where a heap of people were ripping a famous actor to pieces -- full of criticism, judgement and hate. Some of them were actually actors themselves. They just don't GET IT, they don't realise that what they're saying comes from a place of jealousy. The person they're bullying is in that position because of years of industrious hard work. 

Paying your dues means staying up late; it means reading, it means extra rehearsals, it means missing the party, it means twenty years. You can be that actress who bitches about how crap Keira Knightley is, or you can realise she had ten years of credits even before "Bend It Like Beckham", and you can be aware enough to know she's a better actor than you are. 

"Only Fools and Horses", "A Touch Of Frost", the OBE, they weren't accidents. They're the result of dedication, of longevity, of a man who worked tirelessly at his craft. Who failed more times than most of us have dared to try. David Jason, you're my hero and I'm not even halfway through your book yet. 

Lovely Jubbly. 

Care to share?

2 comments:

  1. There definitely is a climate of "instant success" these days. Closely linked to "instant gratification". We want things now. No waiting. Everything has to be now. And so we have all the talent shows that give people instant celebrity status. Patience is disregarded. The future isn't really thought of. It's how people can do well NOW, rather than how can do they do well now as well as further down the line.

    David Jason is definitely a national treasure. I remember when A Touch of Frost started and there were plenty of papers wondering whether "Del Boy" could do well in a serious role. YES.

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  2. Yay! Kid is back. :) I'm American, so I don't know who Mr. Jason is, but he sounds like a seriously inspirational person. Thank you for another great message.

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