Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Ashleigh Rainbird & Susan Knox

David Jason starred in play with unknown daughter and her mum - but didn't know

Sir David Jason has made the jaw-dropping discovery he has a 52-year-old daughter he knew nothing about for her entire life.

Not only that, but the Only Fools and Horses legend, 83, starred in a play with her unbeknownst to himself that she was in fact, his daughter.

He has now told of his joy at discovering he is dad to Abi Harris and grandad to her little son, Charlie.

The acting legend is now making up for lost time by building a bond with Abi – born in 1970 after her actor mum Jennifer Hill had a brief relationship with him – and 10-year-old Charlie.

It has been revealed that Abi started to suspect he was her biological father after hearing about his time with Jennifer and then realising she had the same shaped nose as him.

David Jason and his newly found daughter Abi Harris (Mirror Pictures)

Sir David and Jennifer’s relationship began at the start of 1970, when he was 30 and when they both starred in Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood at London’s May Fair theatre.

A year later he appeared in a film version of the classic.

The pair stayed in touch through a shared circle of friends. Abi was born in October that year.

She and Sir David have crossed paths several times through mutual friends but he had no idea they were related.

Jennifer was married to screen star Geoffrey Davion, who appeared in Miss Marple and The Stars Look Down, and Abi believed he was her father until his death in 1996.

Jennifer, who has appeared in Doctor Who and Bond movie, Octopussy, and Sir David were reunited in 2008 for a reprisal of Under Milk Wood, featuring many of the same cast from the 1970 production.

But in a remarkable turn of events, it also starred Abi alongside her mum.

However, it would be another five years before Abi started to suspect Sir David could be her real father, after conversations with Jennifer.

Abi and Sir David happened to be standing beside one another at an event for a mutual friend when she spotted they had similar side profiles. She then became convinced he was her father.

Understandably, she felt reluctant to broach such a sensitive subject for many years afterwards, though it played on her mind often.

But it was watching Charlie grow, and fearing there could be a line of her family’s hereditary health conditions she knew nothing about, that finally compelled her to act.

Abi bravely decided to write Sir David a letter and, fittingly, opened with a line from Dylan’s play which read: “To begin at the beginning. Or to be more precise, my beginning…”

In the note, she told Sir David of her hunch and asked him if he would take a -paternity test.

The letter naturally came as a shock to Sir David, who became a father to Sophie at the age of 61 in 2001.

But rather than being horrified, he was sympathetic to Abi’s request.

Abi bravely decided to write Sir David a letter (BBC/Matt Squire)

“It’s a lovely letter, which David has kept," a source told The Mirror.

“It was light-hearted but serious, without being overwhelming. It was obvious whoever had written it was a nice person who just wanted to find out her heritage. The Dylan quote was the perfect way to start it.

“It was a sympathetic way of saying, ‘Brace yourself’.”

Sir David agreed to take the paternity test but it still came as a complete surprise to everyone when it showed he was Abi’s father.

Actor Abi Harris has told of her delight at discovering her father is Sir David Jason, after years of wondering.

But this of course is tinged with sadness at the family’s lost years together. Now, she and her ­10-year-old son Charlie are looking forward to spending more time getting to know her father, his wife, Lady Gill White, 62, and her new sister Sophie, 22.

The 52-year-old said: “In ­discovering my father’s identity, I am starting to piece together my own.

“Of course, I am tickled pink and incredibly proud but, frequently, completely overwhelmed with sorrow for the years we have lost.

“After a measured start, now I hope we can consciously make time to see each other more often, so that I can master the art of being the best big sister and build a ­meaningful father-daughter relationship in its truest sense.”

Friends revealed Abi, who lives in Brighton, has now developed a stronger sense of identity, after spending years wondering about her roots.

The source added: “She finally has a sense of who she is, and where she has got her genes from. It’s been a difficult process, but one everyone has handled with kindness and compassion, and it seems like - everything is now settling into place.”

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.