My Life by David Jason
I always knew I was going to get this, whether by picking it up myself or by someone getting it for me for Christmas. When I happened to notice a great deal on Amazon if I bought both David Jason's and David Suchet's books, I told my Mum and she gave the money to buy them - then promptly took them away to wrap up for Christmas *sob*
Janey, another member of the HOEW team, actually read this before me and told me how much she loved it so I was holding out high hopes for it myself.
It didn't disappoint. Much like the majority of the country, David Jason happens to be one of my favourite actors. He has appeared in countless TV shows, many of which make it into my top telly favourites, and every interview I see with him or read about him makes him seem like a charming, well mannered man.
I knew a little about David's life from numerous unauthorised biographies that I happened to have read - my family are big David Jason fans too so there was always one floating around the house. However, he did manage to dispel some rumours that always seemed to come up as gospel truth in these 'biographies'. It is an urban myth that a young David White, when told by Equity there was already a member with that name, chose the surname Jason as a tribute to his dead twin - I have heard this myself numerous times over the years and David quickly tells the reader the truth.
Many people think they know David from the countless books that have been written on him but I have been waiting for this book for a very long time. Who knows David better than himself? Who would best describe working with the fantastic Ronnie Barker for many years but him?
David starts the book with tales of his childhood and his odd dalliance with the law - and the very frequent dalliance with the nearest hospitals A&E department! - and regales the reader with stories of treading the boards, courting and his day job as an electrician. It is nice to get another view of some greats of the time - Sir David doesn't hold back when telling you which celebrities were awful people! Quite a chunk of the book is taken up by David's early years and whilst I found these interesting, I do believe he could have either cut them down a little or added some more depth to stories of his later life.
The period of time when David worked with Ronnie Barker is my favourite part of the book - Ronnie Barker is another of my great heroes and I have the utmost respect and admiration for the friendship the two men shared - you can tell just how much David loved Ronnie from the way he talks about him, page after page. Even the last page is all about their friendship - and I'm not ashamed to say it made me well up a little!
Obviously, this book wouldn't be able to get away without including the phenomenon that is Only Fools And Horses. I did feel as though this section could have been a lot longer - after all, it was one of Sir David's longest jobs and one he is reprising for a one off special for this years Sport Relief! The stories of how close the cast got and the immense loss David felt when members of the cast and crew passed away show just how much this show came to mean to people - whilst the nation took it into their hearts and cherished it, the cast and crew became a family.
All in all, this book was a fantastic read and couldn't have come at a better time - to hear David talk about Roger Lloyd Pack (aka Trigger, who recently passed away) so warmly goes to prove I was right all along - there is no bigger gentleman than Sir David Jason.
I would recommend this to everyone, young and old - you might learn something about a little thing called friendship.
I'd like to leave this review with the last few lines from the last page, regarding David's impending knighthood and written by Ronnie Barker shortly before his death:
The old ex-Guvnor’s proud to see
His comrade reach such high degree,
Knight of the Realm, and TV star
Who never thought he’d get this far.
‘Arise, Sir David,’ she will say,
The sword upon your shoulder lay.
I raise a glass filled to the brim
And truly say: ‘Good Knight from him.’
This book gets 5 stars from me - I'd give it even more if I could!