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- English actor
Sir David Jason has been praised for creating rare "TV magic" when he fell through the bar in 'Only Fools and Horses' by the actor who set up the stunt.
William Thomas, 75, played the barman in 'Yuppy Love', the iconic 1989 episode of the BBC sitcom which saw Derek 'Del Boy' Trotter - played by David - take a fall through the bar as he gets distracted by two beautiful women.
In the scene, Del, who had been leaning on the bar, turns to pal Trigger - who was played by the late Roger Lloyd-Pack - to say "I think we're on a winner here son, play it nice and cool son, nice and cool, know what I mean…” but as Del goes to lean on the bar again he falls through the open flap, with a glass of red wine in hand.
William was responsible for pulling up the serving flap just before Del Boy takes his tumble and the Welsh actor has revealed that Sir David after a few rehearsals the night before did it in one take in front of a live studio audience and in that moment made comedy history.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror newspaper, he said: "That sequence wasn’t in the script to start with and I think it was introduced halfway through the week of rehearsals.
"David Jason was known as a very physical actor. He had done West End farces and fallen through windows on stage.
“There was a crash mat on the floor and I had to step over that and open the flap. If you look at it, it is a real piece of technique because David remained absolutely rigid as he fell. His leg didn’t buckle, he just went straight down. It is a real gift to do that. They only had to film it once because David nailed it.
"I don’t think I realised how big it would be. They repeated the episode and I think it dawned on people then what a piece of TV magic it was."
William who went on to portray the vicar Father Chris in 'Gavin & Stacey' and have a number of memorable screen roles insists he is immensely proud to have been part of that scene, because even though he had a minor role it was key to what writer John Sullivan wanted to achieve and he will forever be part of sitcom history.
He said: "I do feel proud and privileged to have been a part of a piece of TV comedy history.
"I don’t think you will get prized moments like that often in your career."
'Only Fools and Horses', which follows the misadventures of Peckham brothers Del Boy and Rodney Trotter (Nicholas Lyndhurst), aired from 1981 to 2003 and as one of the UK's favourite ever sitcoms is still repeated constantly on TV and streamed, attracting new generations of fans.
Del Boy falling through the bar regularly tops polls to find the funniest ever TV moment and in a 2021 RadioTimes.com poll to mark the 40th anniversary of 'Only Fools and Horses' it was chosen as the show's best ever moment.