Sir David Jason recently opened up about his tragic family history, shedding light on the loss of his twin brother at birth. Best known for his iconic role as Del Boy Trotter in Only Fools and Horses, Sir David’s life has been marked by personal struggles that many are unaware of.
Born on February 2, 1940, Sir David was part of a set of twins. Unfortunately, his brother, still in the womb, did not survive, leaving David as the sole survivor. Reflecting on this early loss, Sir David revealed, “I’m a twin, but only I emerged live from the womb.“
“The fact that I was originally one half of a duo gave rise to a theory, much propounded in newspaper profiles, that my life has been one desperate effort to compensate for that stillborn brother.“
“The incident, sad as it was, dates back to the day I was born. It was hard to feel it as a loss.”
Personal Tragedy Spurred Jason On
While the tragedy shaped part of his life, few may know that Sir David Jason’s older brother, Arthur White, played a pivotal role in his journey to becoming an actor. Arthur, who also pursued acting, was the one who paved the way for David’s entry into the theatre. “It was Arthur who helped secure my first big break in the theatre,” Sir David recalled.
In a warming turn of events, Arthur later starred alongside Sir David in the police crime drama A Touch of Frost, playing PC Ernie Trigg. The bond between the brothers strengthened as Arthur appeared in 27 episodes of the show. Reflecting on their collaboration, Sir David expressed, “Life came full circle when I recommended him for a part in [A Touch of] Frost. It was great having him around.”
Despite a solid connection, David Jason and Arthur do not share the same surname. This distinction arose from Sir David’s need to change his name due to the presence of another David White in the acting industry at the time.
Arthur White’s influence extended beyond his career achievements. As the first in the family to pursue acting, he inspired David to follow in his footsteps. Returning from National Service, Arthur declared his interest in becoming a thespian and secured a scholarship to Rada. David recalled, “I can remember the family crowding round excitedly at home to listen to his debut appearance in the long-running BBC radio drama serial Mrs Dale’s Diary.”
As of December 2023, Sir David Jason, now 83, continues to appear at Only Fools and Horses conventions and has recently just gotten over significant surgery.