David Jason rejected for lead role in Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Em because BBC execs thought he lacked ‘star quality’

David Jason was rejected for the lead role in the 1970s BBC sitcom Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Em because bosses thought he was “only funny in supporting roles”, the show’s writer has revealed.

Raymond Allen, who wrote the show, suggested Jason should star as accident-prone Frank Spencer in the series but was told by executives that the actor possessed “no star quality”.

The actor went on to become one of Britain’s best loved comic actors playing the lead role of Del Boy Trotter in Only Fools and Horses.

First aired in 1973, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Em revolved around Spencer’s inability to hold down a job, which frequently ended in disaster.

The role of Spencer was eventually given to Michael Crawford, who performed the famous ‘Ooh Betty’ catchphrase and earned the show a spot in sitcom history.

Allen, now 81, also revealed in magazine Best of British that other actors who turned down the role included comic Norman Wisdom, who ‘didn’t see the jokes’, and Ronnie Barker, who was ‘too busy’ with other roles.

After suggesting Jason should be given the lead, BBC executives told him: “Yes, he is very funny. “But he’s only funny in supporting roles.

He hasn’t got star quality. “He’ll always be a supporting actor.” Allen added that he found it “stressful” to write the show, saying: “People think comedy is easy to write.

“But you’re sitting there and it’s absolutely… really stressful.”

First broadcast in 1973 the show ran for two series, before returning for a third series in 1978 and again in 2016 for a one-off special episode for Sports Relief.

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