John Challis knew he wanted to be an actor from the moment he saw Peter Pan live on stage, aged eight. His first book, Being Boycie, tells the story of how by 1984, in his forties and with two marriages behind him, he emerged as a leading character in the British TV comedy series, Only Fools & Horses.
Despite a third broken marriage, a struggle with alcohol and an unhappy affair, John continued to extend his career on stage and on TV. In 1990 he met Carol Davies, whom he married in 1995. Three years later they moved to the Welsh Marches where they now live happily in the remains of an ancient abbey.
BOYCIE & BEYOND is the second volume of John Challis’s autobiography. It covers the years 1985-2012 and describes his continuing love of live theatre, his third marriage to Sabina Franklyn and their subsequent painful divorce. He writes movingly of the death of his parents and hilariously of his venture into an aloe vera farm in Portugal and the eccentric Danish lover he met there.
John speaks frankly of his journey through a tunnel of depression and booze and how meeting his future wife, Carol Davies, brought him out the other end. This time, he knew he’d found his life’s partner and they were married in 1995. Since they moved in in 1998, John and Carol have largely restored Wigmore Abbey and its garden, while writer John Sullivan, who created Only Fools was inspired by a visit to there to write a spin-off series, The Green, Green Grass, which went on to run for four series until 2009. In 2011 John appeared as Malvolio in an acclaimed production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at Ludlow castle. Later that year, Being Boycie was published and has been enthusiastically received.