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Only Fools And Horses actor Michael Jayston dies aged 88

Michael Jayston, who appeared in Only Fools And Horses, 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, 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 Jayston’s 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.

Buster funeral/Jason, Lyndhurst
Only Fools And Horses stars Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst (Barry Batchelor/PA)

“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.”

Doctor Who star Bonnie Langford paid tribute and shared a photo of herself with the late actor.

On X, formerly Twitter, she said: “Just over a week ago I was with this wonderful man.

She added: “We laughed about when this pic was taken and all the joy and jokes we’d shared on ⁦@bbcdoctorwho. So sad he’s gone. So glad he was here.”

In the BBC adaptation of John le Carre’s espionage thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Jayston portrayed Peter Guillam, confidant of George Smiley (Sir Alec Guinness).

The series secured nine Bafta nominations in 1980, including best drama, and saw Sir Alec win best actor.

Jayston also portrayed Nicholas II of Russia in the 1970s historical film Nicholas And Alexandra.

The movie about the last days of the tsars in Russia and the relationship between the ruler and his wife Alexandra (Dame Janet Suzman) also featured Doctor Who star Tom Baker as Grigori Rasputin and Lord Laurence Olivier.

Jayston also starred as Edward Rochester in a 1970s TV adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre, and appeared in science fiction series Doctor Who as Valeyard – an evil character made up of the worst aspects of the Doctor.

He played The Confessor in Roger Crane play The Last Confession opposite David Suchet as Cardinal Benelli at Chichester Festival Theatre in May 2007.

In the ITV soap Emmerdale, from 2007 to 2008, Jayston played the husband of Nicola King (Nicola Wheeler) before his character died within a year of moving to the Yorkshire village.

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.