Iconic Only Fools and Horses van to pay tribute to John Challis at Ludlow Fringe Festival

An iconic three-wheeled van will be visiting Shropshire next month in a tribute to the memory of an unforgettable TV character.

John Challis played "Boycie" in classic BBC sitcom "Only Fools and Horses" and in the follow up about Boycie's new life living in Shropshire called "The Green Green Grass".
John Challis played "Boycie" in classic BBC sitcom "Only Fools and Horses" and in the follow up about Boycie's new life living in Shropshire called "The Green Green Grass".

This year's Ludlow Fringe Festival will be the first to be held since the death of John Challis - who died of cancer in September last year at the aged of 79.

So the organisers of the festival have organised a visit from the three-wheeled Trotters Independent Trading van, famous from Only Fools and Horses, the show he brought to life as the cigar smoking used car salesman, Boycie.

John's widow Carol Challis has welcomed the visit.

She said: "I know that John would have been really touched by this gesture.

"He fell in love with Ludlow when we moved to the area, and the townsfolk always loved him back. He always quoted Ludlow as one of his favourite places in the world.

“The people made us feel like adopted Salopians, and John was always keen to champion the town's independent businesses and promote the 'shop local' message, as well as supporting events like the festival, and food festival.

“Although John travelled the world with his stage and screen career, he was very proud to get the chance to take part in Ludlow Arts Festival, playing Malvolio in Twelfth Night in 2011.

“He always had time for up-and-coming young actors and comedians too, sharing what he had learned over his long career. John came alive when he was performing, and was a firm believer that if there's something you want to do, you should give it a go - because if you don't, it could haunt you for the rest of your life.

“You always regret what you don't do, and rarely regret what you do – that’s what he used to tell people who were considering whether they should pursue their performing dreams.”

Undated Handout Photo of John Challis at the opening of the Only Fools and Horses The Musical show in London in 2019. See PA Feature WELLBEING John Challis. Picture credit should read: Ian West/PA. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature. WELLBEING John Challis.

The rickety van used by Del Boy and Rodney will be parading in the carnival on June 18 and promoting the Soap Box Derby which will take place the following week, on June 26, on Hanway Common, Richard’s Castle.

The actor lived near Leintwardine, on the Shropshire border, and once performed at Ludlow Castle in one of the festival’s Shakespeare plays.

The comedy legend and national treasure, was a patron of the festival and often quoted Ludlow as one of his favourite places.

The van will be on the Ludlow town square after the carnival and visitors will be welcome to take pictures with it.

The festival, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary, will see a variety of acts perform comedy, theatre, music, dance and more at locations across the town.

It will be launched by the town carnival, which returns after a 15-year absence with an eco theme, and acts include TV comic and impressionist Alistair McGowan, as well as Rob Newman, Ivo Graham, Daniel and Gabriella Martinez Flamenco, Old Time Sailors, Electric Swing Orchestra and the Kakatsiki African Drummers - and much more.

It will also feature poetry readings, a performance of Macbeth at Ludlow Castle, an exhibition by artist Frances Clarke, Bhangra Tots Family Dance, a comic art masterclass, puppet shows, magician The Great Baldini and Cabaret at the Brewery.

Events range from free and pay what you can, to tickets priced between £5 and £20.

See the full programme for Ludlow Fringe Festival and buy tickets online at www.ludlowfringe.co.uk

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