Only Fools And Horses star Michael Jayston dies aged 88 after short illness
Posted by  badge Boss on Feb 05

Michael Jayston, who appeared, has died aged 88 after ‘a short illness’, his agent has said.

The British actor played the father of Rachel ‘Raquel’ Turner (Tessa Peake-Jones), love interest of Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter (Sir David Jason) in the BBC sitcom.

In the episode Time On Our Hands, Jayston’s character, the antiques dealer James, tells Del Boy and his brother Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst) that a watch in their garage was made by clockmaker John Harrison and is worth a fortune – leading to an auction where they become millionaires.

A statement from M&M Famous Faces on Monday, on behalf of his family, 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.’

Aside from portraying James in Only Fools And Horses, Jayston also played a main role in historical film Nicholas And Alexandra about the last days of the Tsars in Russia.

Jayston died following a ”short illness’ his agent has announced (Picture: Can Nguyen/REX/Shutterstock)
Jayston originally trained as an accountant before setting his sights on acting (Picture: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Other recognisable roles include Peter Guillam in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre.

Jayston – whose real name was Michael James – also also portrayed Valeyard in Doctor Who in the 1986 season, The Trial of a Time Lord.

In recent years, Jayston appeared on programmes such as Holby City, Doctors, Midsomer Murders and Casualty, and spent a year on Emmerdale in 2007, where he played Donald De Souza.

He also appeared in 1990s ITV police comedy drama The Good Guys with Coronation Street actor Nigel Havers and Call The Midwife actress Jenny Agutter.

Born on October 29 1935, at the age of one Jayston’s father died of pneumonia after he was kicked in the chest while playing rugby with a cold, and aged 14 his mother died too.

Jayston portrayed Donald De Souza in Emmerdale in 2003 (Picture: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

From then, Jayston was brought up as an only child by his grandmother and uncle. He joined the National Service as an adult before training as an accountant.

It was after this Jayston decided to pursue acting at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he obtained a scholarship.

He worked at home in Nottingham fish market during the holidays from drama school, and got his first professional acting credit in 1961 in various productions at Bangor Little Theatre in Northern Ireland 

In 1965 Jayston joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, which led to his role in 1968 movie version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Layston married Lynn Farleigh also in 1965, but they divorced five years later.

In the same year as his divorce, Jayston married Heather Sneddon, who he shared an adopted daughter and two sons with.

Following their divorce in 1977, Jayston married Ann Smithson in 1978, and they welcomed a daughter Katherine, and son Richard.

In 1979, he married Elizabeth Ann Smithson, who he remained with up until his death.