John Challis is best known to audiences worldwide as Boycie in Only Fools & Horses. And he’s currently touring the UK with his entertaining one man show, where he recalls stories from his career, and takes questions from the audience.
He was in the Midlands last night, and his show covered his appearance in the Doctor Who six-parter The Seeds Of Doom, starring Tom Baker. Challis’ affection for Doctor Who shone through, and when quizzed by a member of the audience later in the evening as to what roles he always coveted but never got, Challis admitted “I always wanted to be Doctor Who”.
He added, though, that “I think I was somewhere in the running at one stage”, although he didn’t elaborate on just when that was. His Who appearance was before his career began to take off with Only Fools & Horses, so he would have been pretty much unknown when Jon Pertwee left the TARDIS, and it’s more likely he was being considered when Tom Baker finally quit the role. From how Challis talked, he didn’t seem to get especially close to the role, just that he was aware he was considered for it.
But his affection for the show was certainly helped by a trip to Boston in the 1970s. He was performing in theatre there, and was one day told that dozens of people were at the stage door waiting for him. Puzzled, given that his profile as an actor was low at this stage, he went to investigate. It turned out to be the local branch of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society, and The Seeds Of Doom has just been on local television!
Challis’ tour continues, and you can find details on where to see him next, here.