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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Ashleigh Rainbird

Sir David Jason's unknown daughter 'sad for years we've lost' but 'incredibly proud'

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.”

With Abi and Sophie being brought up as only ­children, it has delighted both of them to suddenly find they have a sister.

Sophie has offered to help decorate Abi’s Brighton home, and makes an effort to pop home from university when she and Charlie are visiting Sir David and Gill.

Cheeky Charlie, who was already a fan of Sir David’s work voicing the Big Friendly Giant, even bought his mum a game of Only Fools and Horses-themed Top Trumps for her birthday, in a nod to her dad’s time spent playing Del Boy in the series.

Not only does Abi clearly share her father’s genes, she has also inherited his acting talents, appearing in Doctor Who: The Eighth of March, Strange Chemistry and The Avengers: The Comic Strip Adaptations Volume 7.

She also, of course, appeared in a theatre production of Under Milk Wood, which Sir David narrated, in 2008, with no idea at the time they were father and daughter.

A source said: “It would be a dream come true for Abi, if they could work together again now they know they are related.”

Sir David is a beloved actor known for his iconic roles in Only Fools and Horses, The Darling Buds of May, A Touch of Frost, and Open All Hours. Born in Edmonton, North London, in February 1940, his dad was a B­illingsgate market porter and his mum a maid.

But while Sir David started out working as an electrician, his love of theatre lured him into acting.

But from early on it was clear his talents stood out, and he was quickly snapped up by agents who then encouraged him to move into TV.

In the 1980s, he starred alongside Ronnie Barker in classic comedy Open All Hours, when he was offered to read a script for a new series called Only Fools and Horses. He was immediately drawn to the character of Peckham market trader Derek “Del Boy” Trotter.

He has said that during their very first read-through with Lennard Pearce, who played Grandad, and Nicholas Lyndhurst, on-screen brother Rodney, the cast knew immediately “there was magic in the room”.

Buster Merryfield later joined as Uncle Albert.

The show went on to win six BAFTAs, with two going to Sir David for his portrayal of Del Boy, and 18.8 million viewers tuned in to one episode in 1986.

That year, the cast appeared at the Royal Variety ­Performance, in front of the Queen Mother. Sir David went on to spend 15 series playing ­Detective Jack Frost in A Touch of Frost, throughout the 1990s until 2010.

He then returned to his role as Granville in 2013, for Still Open All Hours, for another 41 episodes.

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