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Ten Things You Never Knew About Nicholas Lyndhurst

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Ten Things You Never Knew About Nicholas Lyndhurst

Rex Features

Along with carols and mince pies, Christmas wouldn't be complete without a visit from St Nick - comedy superstar Nicholas Lyndhurst that is. Families all over the country will be settling by the telly for repeats of Only Fools And Horses or dusting off their treasured DVDs to watch the show-ending 1996 Christmas specials. (What 2001-03 episodes?!? I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about!) To celebrate the last Ten Things before the holidays, we at DS have served up ten facts you might not have known about Nicholas Lyndhurst.

1. Born on April 20, 1961, Nicholas Simon Lyndhurst was raised by single mum Liz Long and only visited by his dad Joe now and again. "He was a gentle man; very funny and charming and he always made me laugh," he said of his father. "He also bought me some great toys. My Action Man collection was the envy of my classmates."

2. After studying at the Corona Stage Academy, Lyndhurst appeared as Prince Edward and Tom Canty in The Prince And The Pauper in 1976 and, more interestingly, Adolf Hitler's assistant Karl Brandt in an episode of cult kids sci-fi show The Tomorrow People two years later.

3. His first major sitcom role came in Going Straight, the follow-up to the classic Porridge. He starred as Raymond Fletcher, son of ex-jailbird Norman Stanley (Ronnie Barker) - a fine education. "I came in, said something off the wall, and the laugh came from Ronnie's reaction to it. I watched him like a hawk."

4. "Mum, will we see elephants on holly-day?" - "Not in Corfu, love." Remember those WH Smith adverts that looked like a cross between an Aphex Twin video and a late Eddie Murphy movie? Nicholas won a National Television Award in 2000 for his one-man portrayal of a nuclear family. He reportedly enjoyed playing the mum most!

5. Of course, Nicholas is most famous for his part as Rodney Trotter in Only Fools And Horses from 1981 to 2003. David Jason may have grabbed the attention, but it wasn't Del Boy who was hired first for the show. Writer John Sullivan explained: "Nicholas Lyndhurst, as Rodney, was the first casting. I'd seen him in a few things and I thought that was a brilliant idea."

6. Despite having countless comedy geniuses yell "plonker" at him on the streets, he doesn't hate the role that made him. "I have a real soft spot for Rodney," he admitted. "He never typecast me, and I never wanted to bury him. I would make another series of Fools if the script was good." He'll do the next best thing in prequel Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n' Chips next year, playing Rodney's biological dad Freddie 'The Frog' Robdal.

7. Like every sensible person flung back in time by mistake, Nick's Gary Sparrow doesn't fret about the moral or quantum effect of his actions over the six series of Goodnight Sweetheart from 1993 to 1999. Instead, he hooks up with a pretty barmaid and pretends he wrote The Beatles' hits before they ever picked up a guitar. Eat your heart out, Doctor Evil!

8. Prior to his 1999 wedding to ex-ballet dancer Lucy Smith, their vicar gave the details to a press agency, prompting a last-minute venue change and deal with the glossies. "I didn't want Lucy's day to be ruined. So we chose another church and invited OK" he explained. "We knew they would manage the security, and the world and his wife would not be there taking photos."

9. Another stinging fact for you! Nicholas has been a member of the British Beekeepers Association since 1994 and still keeps bees at his Sussex home.

10. Bees use their ultra-fast wing-beat frequency to take to the skies, but Nick uses a plane and a pilot licence he picked up after classes as a 17-year-old. "The lessons cost £17.50 an hour. That was an astral amount of money back then," he said. "Until the birth of my son, I did consider my pilot's licence my finest achievement."

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