Only Fools and Horses

Only Fools and Horses legend who quit fame, lived in Thailand and became a chauffeur

The actor's career did see a brief revival in 2019 after he worked a number of ordinary jobs out of the limelight

It’s been 19 years since the last ever episode of Only Fools and Horses was made, but to this day it is still one of the most popular shows in British television history. The show became a cult classic after it first hit our screens in 1981, bringing a touch of comedy to our lives that would have us laughing for decades onwards.

Some Only Fools and Horses actors continued to achieve greater heights of fame in other endeavours after the curtains closed on the show for the last time, whereas others seemingly faded into the background. One actor whose face was hardly seen on screen again is Patrick Murray.

Patrick was the actor behind Del Boy and Rodney’s friend from the Nag’s Head pub, Mickey Pearce. His character was a fast-talking Cockney conman who was best remembered for his tall tales of business success and charm with women, but off-screen Patrick led quite a different life.

Patrick Murray starred as Mickey Pearce on the hit sitcom
Patrick retired from acting and worked a number of ordinary jobs (Image: PA/Handout)

Having opened his own pub in 1998, Patrick turned to booze but managed to recover after attending Alcoholics Anonymous. After retiring from acting, he got jobs working as a builder, a taxi driver and a DJ. At one stage he even pursued a career as a professional poker player.

Patrick also spent 10 years living in Thailand, where he married his Thai partner Anong in 2016. Their daughter Josie was born in Thailand shortly after they were married.

But in a 2018 episode of Loose Women, Patrick said he had to return to the UK to get a visa for his family. The Home Office had previously denied their visa on the grounds he didn’t earn enough money to support them.

At the time, the actor, who was born to Spanish and Irish parents, described the Home Office’s decision as “heartbreaking”. After returning, Patrick found it difficult to get back into acting, so he got a job as a chauffeur to make ends meet while waiting to reunite with his family.

He said: “Being out of the industry for so long, the work dried up so I went back to driving an executive car, a Mercedes, to do it. I only saw my baby on the phone for two years, I was a Skype dad.”

Patrick’s career did however see a brief revival in 2019, when he got a role in TV series Conditions playing Frank Bridge for 13 episodes. Earlier this year, Patrick revealed that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

Taking to Twitter, he wrote: “Naturally I wanted to keep my own health problems private, but failing to fully endorse this ad would be selfish. Thanks to my ultrascan I have a fighting chance. It showed my organs needed further investigation and tumours were spotted. This led to a PET scan which covers a much larger area.

“To my wonderful surprise these lesions were not cancerous but the scan did find an early-stage cancerous tumour in my lung. This has since been removed. I am tweeting now, which wouldn’t be the case if I hadn’t had the ultrasound all those months ago.

“A lot of people put these symptoms down to age and the discomfort to simply having a weak stomach. Please don’t ignore it if it persists. As for me, and thanks to the NHS, I can now see the same beautiful horizon as you.”

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