By Giles Whiting 

JOHN Challis, 72, best known for his portrayal of household name Boycie, the shifty used car salesman with a misguided sense of superiority, appeared in all seven series of classic BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses (1981-2003) and the four series of its less popular spin-off, The Green Green Grass (2005-2009)

He is a tall, dapper and well-spoken old-school actor who was in the right place at the right time to get into TV with bit parts in Z Cars, Coronation Street and Dr Who, and, later in Citizen Smith and Open All Hours – cue grainy footage – alongside stints in panto, the West End, off Broadway, Sir Peter Hall’s fledgling RSC ... and a failed garden centre.

Boycie appeared in one episode of the poorly received first series of OF&H, but became a regular presence with his ‘Marlene!’ catchphrase and tommy-gun laugh in a programme with a record audience of 24million.

The character is memorable, but how many remember the actor? 
His anecdotes were not particularly interesting, apart from one involving his successful audition in front of three Beatles for a ‘Mystery’ film part he eventually could not take.

David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst were hardly mentioned, while being regularly mistaken for Trigger still riles.

A lame running gag bemoaning smoking restrictions ran out of puff, and he seemed happy to conclude a short Q&A session to meet and greet in the bar...and flog autobiographies to the punters.