Actor and sitcom legend Sir David Jason was once turned down by Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em bosses for not having ‘star quality.’ The much-loved David Jason, 82, has been appearing on our screens for over 50 years, making us laugh in numerous British comedies such as Only Fools and Horses, Open All Hours and Porridge.
The popular TV star also has a whole host of awards under his belt – including multiple Baftas, NTAs and received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. However, before his illustrious career, sadly, David was rejected for the lead role in the 1970s BBC sitcom Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Em because he was thought to be “only funny in supporting roles”.
This was according to BBC bosses at the time which the sitcom’s screenwriter, Raymond Allen, revealed to Best of British Magazine. After Raymond suggested to BBC bosses that David Jason should play bumbling Frank Spencer, he recalled how they didn’t agree with his casting choice.
Raymond explained that he was told: “Yes, he is very funny. But he’s only funny in supporting roles. He hasn’t got star quality.” Before his attempt with Some Mothers, David had been in minor roles on TV like detective show Randall and Hopkirk and sci-fi show Counterstrike.
In the end, Frank Spencer was played by Michael Crawford who always landed himself in a predicament to the despair of his wife Betty. He was then invited to Some Mothers after his stage performance in No Sex Please, We’re British, in which he played the part of frantic chief cashier Brian Runnicles.
Michael had a propensity to star in comedies where he put his body on the line, especially when he made his debut on Broadway where he would walk into walls and fall down staircases.
Raymond Allen explained that the show’s bosses also had difficulty having an actor to play the role, as some turned down the offer such as comic Norman Wisdom, who ‘didn’t see the jokes’, and Ronnie Barker, who was ‘too busy’ with other roles.