'Only Fools and Horses' legend John Challis has died aged 79

John Challis on the NTA red carpet
John Challis has died aged 79. (Image credit: Getty)

John Challis, the actor best known for his legendary role as second-hand car dealer Terrance Aubrey Boyce in Only Fools and Horses has passed away. 

The news was announced today by his family, who told fans that he died peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer.

John became a firm favourite with comedy fans thanks to his role in Only Fools and Horses, the show which he starred in alongside Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst

The comedy series aired between 1981 and 2003 with John playing Boycie, a long-time former schoolmate and devious rival of Sir David's character Del Boy. 

In fact Boycie was such a hit with comedy fans that John also starred in spin-off show, The Green Green Grass with his co-star Sue Holderness, who played Boycie's wife Marlene. 

Following his huge success in Only Fools and Horses, John went on to tread the boards in theatre productions like Richard III and a Midsummer's Night Dream, while also enjoying a brilliant TV career, most recently delighting fans as Monty Staines in ITV show Benidorm.

John Challis in Only Fools and Horses

John Challis became a firm fan favourite as Boycie in Only Fools and Horses.  (Image credit: Getty)

In a tribute to John, his family said in a statement released today: "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.

"Be assured that in the future there will be an occasion to celebrate John's life - when everyone will be welcome to come along."

Sir David remembered his former Only Fools and Horses co-star with this statement: "Such sad news. John was such a lovely man, a fine actor and a friend for over forty years. Hard to think of the world without him. Condolences to his family at this incredibly sad time”.

The BBC's chief content officer Charlotte Moore said Challis was "a wonderful actor who will forever be remembered for playing Boycie in Only Fools and Horses - a character so well-loved by millions".

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.