Guest reviewer: My Dad on ‘Being Boycie’

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.

Boycie & Marlene

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]

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6 thoughts on “Guest reviewer: My Dad on ‘Being Boycie’

  1. What a wonderful idea to involve your Dad, Annabel. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ray [waves]. This review made me smile. I only know of John Challis through OFAH, so it was interesting to learn more about his background and his other work.

  2. oh wonderful ,thanks Annabels dad ,I can’t remember seeing challis in anything other than only fools and the spin off ,he is good at boycie but wonder if that is him not so much a act ,all the best stu

  3. I saw him in the pantomime of ‘Peter Pan’ a few years ago when even though he was Captain Hook he was ‘Just Boycie’ but then that was exactly what was expected of him. Don’t think I’ve ever seen him in anything else (on stage or on the TV) but can’t think that he could be anyone other than Boycie at this stage in his career!

  4. Totally disagree with this amateur review – who obviously had made his mind up before he even opened the book – again another example of how we shoot someone down for fun in this country. I’ve read the book and find it an honest work written by an honest actor, trying to make a living and a difference. I found it a very enjoyable read.
    Perhaps the reviewer, sitting in the comfort of suburbia no doubt with nothing to do apart for moaning about the cracks in the pavement can concentrate on trying being a ‘somebody’ himself.

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