Only Fools and Horses Boycie star says show helped end war in Yugoslavia

Only Fools And Horses legend John Challis says the show helped end the Yugoslav wars.

It was massively popular in the region during the conflict.

And John, who played legend Boycie, learned what a difference it made to people when he took a trip there recently.

He said: "A producer out there told me, ‘It was the only thing that made people smile during the wars’.

"It’s such a divided part of the world. But there’s no question that the show brought people together."

The 78-year-old added: "It is extraordinary that everyone sat and watched Only Fools And Horses and laughed and then go off and get on with the war.

"Maybe the answer to the world’s problems is a television programme. It’s like medicine. You have a swig of it and everyone gets on with each other."

The Yugoslav wars were a series of ethnic conflicts leading up to and resulting from the break up of Yugoslavia from 1991 to 2001.

John visited Serbia – which used to be part of Yugoslavia – last year to film a documentary and was amazed how popular the show still is. He said: "I had an extraordinary time. People came out in their droves.

"The love for Only Fools And Horses is very strong. They identify with Del Boy. The entrepreneurial spirit is very big."

During his time in Serbia, John went on a tour of some of the country's most unique sites, from a Royal Palace to a brandy distillery.

Elsewhere, he visited a university where they teach cockney rhyming slang to locals, and got to know his many, many fans in the Balkan country.

Following on from the spectacular success of Only Fools and Horses, John – having played a treasured character – starred in its spin-off series, The Green Green Grass from 2005.

Boycie In Belgrade is on DVD and digital from June 14.

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