Only Fools and Horses

Only Fools and Horses star Jim Broadbent reveals why David Jason landed Del Boy role over him

The legendary BBC sitcom could have looked a lot different!

Although Roy Slater was mentioned throughout Only Fools and Horses the corrupt cop surprisingly only appeared in three episodes of the iconic BBC sitcom. Obnoxious and arrogant detective chief inspector Slater was the nemesis to Peckham wheeler-dealer Del Boy Trotter, and was unpopular amongst the locals at The Nag’s Head.

Especially after it transpired he was once married to Del’s partner Raquel Turner. Slater first appeared in the May the Force Be with You episode in 1983 before he turned to diamond smuggling during To Hull and Back in 1985.

He then reappeared in Peckham in 1991 for a reunion with old school pals including Del, Trigger, Denzil and Boycie – plus Rodney and Uncle Albert. Jim Broadbent played the role of Roy Slater, however, writer John Sullivan initially had another idea for the actor.

Roy Slater makes a return in Class of ’62 (Image: BBC)

The 73-year-old was originally asked to portray the role of Del Boy Trotter as David Jason wasn’t actually the producers’ first or second choice. TV star Jim opened up about the role on the Graham Norton show earlier this year and explained why he turned the part down.

When chat show host Graham asked about the roles he is most famous for, Jim talked about the Only Fools and Horses role he missed out on. He says: “Originally I was the second choice for Del Boy. The first choice was Enn Reitel, but he didn’t fancy it and I couldn’t do it because I was doing a show in the West End. Luckily David Jason was available so my biggest contribution to British culture is not being available!”

David Jason as Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses (Image: Don Smith/Radio Times/Getty Images)

Although Jim missed out on the iconic Del Boy Trotter role, Jim starred as recurring bent copper Roy Slater in the sitcom. He said: “It’s Only Fools and Horses more than anything else and it goes across the generations – kids who weren’t even alive when we made it say Slater is their favourite.” But Jim is no stranger to the big screen.

Even before his role as Slater, actor he had already appeared in a long list of movies and TV series including popular sitcom Blackadder. Then between 1995 and 2000 Jim played Peter Duff in series The Peter Principle before hitting the big screen as Bridget’s dad in the Bridget Jones movies (2001, 2004, 2016), Harold Zidler in Moulin Rouge! (2001), Boss Tweed in Gangs of New York (2002) and Mr. Osborne in Vanity Fair (2004).

Jim Broadbent was another choice for the role (Image: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage)

Since the early 2000s, Jim has continued to carve out a very successful acting career with roles in a lot of other movies and TV shows. He notably starred as Denis Thatcher in The Iron Lady (2011), Mr Gruber in Paddinton 2 (2017), Archmaester Ebrose in the hit series Game of Thrones (2017), Terry Perkins in King of Thieves (2018) and is the voice in children’s show Teletubbies. Plus many more.

In 2020, Jim starred as Lord Thomas Badgley in Dolittle, Kempton Bunton in The Duke, Charlie in Six Minutes to Midnight, and Father Roberts in Black Narcissus. He’s also won a string of awards including multiple Golden Globe’s, Academy Awards, a BAFTA and many more

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