Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst are on track to win the highly-regarded Lifetime Achievement Award this year at the UK’s National Film Awards.
Presented to those actors and actresses who have dedicated their whole lives to the craft, this award is considered one of the biggest to be given. It is decided by a vote of the public, and with over 1.5 million fans voting for them back in December, they have a very great chance of getting the award. Even the National Film Academy was included in the large swaths of votes.
While the prize is relatively new to the National Film Awards UK, it is considered an award of high rank when considering that Dame Judi Dench and Helen Mirren are those who had won the first two.
Jason & Lyndhurst have certainly put their heart into many works of the stage and screen, but their likely best known performance is one close to many hearts. The much-loved sitcom Only Fools and Horses ran from 1981 to 1991, and had extended Christmas specials beyond the actual running all the way up until 2003. The show itself has already won 6 BAFTAs in addition to 12 nominations, leaving it as one of the most acclaimed sitcoms in history. The award nominees here were the main duo of the show, Del Boy and Rodney.
The show itself was set in a small town in southern London. The star was the aforementioned Del Boy, played by Sir David Jason. Del Boy was a market trader, ambitious and optimistic. He had a younger brother Rodney, who was played by Nicholas Lyndhurst, second in command of the show’s cast list. Right behind them was Royal Shakespeare Company actor Lennard Pearce as dear old Granddad; after Pearce’s death, the brothers were joined by their great uncle Albert, who was played by Buster Merryfield.
All four of them were highly developed and fully rounded-out characters, in contrast to many sitcoms where only one or two characters have much development. They weren’t the only ones to get a fair share of the pie. Many supporting characters have their own sitcom’s worth of character development, a level of detail which is consistently lacking in similar television shows.
The show watched the brothers, their trials and missteps as well as their triumphs, as they tried to achieve their lifelong dream of becoming millionaires.
Only Fools and Horses got high ratings all throughout its airing, even during the last stretch where its new airings only consisted of the Christmas specials. Those actually became especially well-regarded, transforming into a holiday staple in many British households.
The show was so popular, its last regular-series episode and its last Christmas special with Uncle Albert both reached huge audiences. The two of them gathered a massive 24.3 million viewers, absolutely crushing most statistics of the time. While the mid-90s may seem relatively recent to today, before then, numbers like those were completely unheard of, even against classic Christmas specials that aired alongside it.
With massive successes regarding both home audiences and critics alike, the show really clicked with the general British publlic. Its influence became a part of the culture, adding new slang and a whole lot of supplementary books, videos, shows, and games to add to the world that the brothers lived in. It spawned a spinoff series, a prequel series, and even a Sport Relief episode special, leaving this show’s mark on television all the way into 2014.
The UK’s National Film Awards are going to take place on March 29th.