John is best known for his portrayal of that national institution Boycie in the popular TV series Only Fools and Horses. Boycie and Marlene also starred in their own series. The Green Green Grass, which had four highly successful series on BBC1. More recently, John has played Monty in four series of Benidorm on ITV.
His theatre highlights include appearing in London and New York in Tom Stoppard’s Dogg’s Hamlet, Cahoot’s Macbeth; the National Theatre productions of On the Razzle and The Rivals with Sir Michael Hordern; national tours of Entertaining Mr Sloane with Barbara Windsor, and Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor with Frank Finlay. John appeared with his screen wife Marlene in Relatively Speaking, Time and Time Again, How the Other Half Loves and London Suite, all successful national tours, and also in their own show, Boycie and Marlene. He also tours his one-man show Only Fools and Boycie.
John has appeared in feature films, The Tichborne Claimant with Bob Pugh, Five Seconds to Spare with Ray Winstone, Dream with Brian Conley and Subterrain. John has been seen in numerous television shows, including Coronation Street, a six-part series of Doctor Who with Tom Baker called The Seeds of Doom, My Family, Last of the Summer Wine, Doctors, Heartbeat, The Last Salute, Family Affairs. He played Captain Peacock in Are you Still Being Served? for the BBC and has recently appeared on Sooty.
BBC Radio musicals recorded before a live audience include Guys and Dolls as Nathan Detroit with Mandy Patinkin and as second gangster in Kiss Me Kate with Bryan Pringle.
John has played many villains in pantomime having starred in Peter Pan, Aladdin, Dick Whittington and Jack and the Beanstalk.
John lives with his wife, Carol, among the ruins of a 12th century abbey in Herefordshire, which was featured in the BBC’s programme The House Detectives, and he is the author of two best-selling autobiographies and a book about his house and garden.
John filmed ‘Boycie in Belgrade’ in 2020 to uncover the popularity of Only Fools and Horses in Serbia which resulted in John receiving honorary Serbian citizenship in August 2021.
In August 2021 John filmed a TV Special: ‘A Marriage Made in Peckham’ an unscripted reunion with Sue Holderness celebrating 40 years of Only Fools and Horses as Boycie and Marlene.
Sadly, John Challis passed away in September 2021.
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