Only Fools and Horses star Michael Jayston dies aged 88

Michael Jayston has died at the age of 88 credit:Bang Showbiz
Michael Jayston has died at the age of 88 credit:Bang Showbiz

Michael Jayston has died at the age of 88.

The actor was best known to fans of the classic sitcom 'Only Fools and Horses' for playing the father of Raquel Turner (Tessa Peake-Jones) in the 1996 episode 'Time On Our Hands' where his character spots the valuable watch that finally made Del Boy (Sir David Jason) and his brother Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst) millionaires after years of wheeling and dealing when it is sold at auction but he passed away on Monday (05.02.24) morning following a "short illness", his agents have announced.

M+M Famous Faces said: "It is with great sadness, that I have been asked by his family to share the news, Michael Jayston sadly passed away this morning after a short illness. Those who knew Michael will know he was full of love, laughs and happiness. He adored meeting his fans all over the world.

“His family and friends would appreciate privacy at this time."

As well as his key role in 'Only Fools and Horses', Michael played Nicholas II of Russia in the 1971 film 'Nicholas and Alexandra' and played Valeyard in 'Doctor Who' in the 1980s before making appearances on 'Coronation Street' and 'Emmerdale' as well as ITV's now-defunct Sunday night drama 'Heartbeat'.

He had also carved out an illustrious theatre career, having appeared in numerous Shakespeare productions and starred in the 1981 revival of 'The Sound of Music' as Captain von Trapp opposite 'Downtown' singer Petula Clark as Maria.

In 2010, he guest starred in an episode of CBBC drama series 'Tracy Beaker Returns ' and his final television role came in 2014 when he played Reverend Arthur Gould in an episode of ITV's 'Midsomer Murders'.

Michael is survived by his wife Elizabeth Ann Smithson - whom he tied the knot with in 1978 and their children Richard and Katy.

Earlier this year, Michael reflected on the legacy of his role in 'Only Fools and Horses' all these years later but revealed that some of his jokes ended up on the cutting room floor.

He told The BTG: "I did five days' work on 'Only Fools and Horses', and I liked doing it a lot. But it was five days and thought that was it. What got me in that episode was the gags. But I had some stuff cut. And it was lovely stuff, like when I found the watch I said 'I think it could be worth a lot of money, but it's a bit dirty. Can I have an old rag or something?' And Rodney said 'That's my shirt!' Oh, there were so many!"