There was a time when the Yuletide telly appearance of David Jason was as regular an occurrence as the untouched box of Newberry fruits and the DFS Boxing Day sale. Mind you he’s back on BBC1 this Christmas in The Royal Bodyguard.
Rightly loved an applauded for his performances as Del Boy, Frost and Pop Larkin et al, Jason’s radio hinterland is often overlooked. His versatility in ‘doing voices’ was first put to good use in Radio 4’s weekly satirical sketch show Week Ending (1970-1998). David was a regular on the show between 1979 and 1982 alongside Sheila Steafel, David Tate and Bill Wallis. I plan to post about Week Ending in 2012.
Doing straight impressions David was a semi-regular on Radio 2’s The Impressionists and you can hear an edition of that programme here.
From 1977 to 1981 David also had his own Radio 4 series The Jason Explanation of… , with a different theme explored in sketches and song in each programme. This is the 1981 Christmas offering The Jason Explanation of the Festive Season as broadcast on 25 December.
The programme has an incredible comedy pedigree. Alongside Jason at the mic is Sheila Steafel and Jon Glover (also on Week Ending and provider of voices on Spitting Image). Writers include Any Hamilton and Guy Jenkin (TV’s Drop the Dead Donkey and Outnumbered), John Langdon (a regular writer for Rory Bremner), Peter Hickey (creator of Trivia Test Match), Jon Canter (later Lenny Henry’s regular collaborator), Tony Sarchet (Delve Special on the radio and This is David Lander on Channel 4) and Geoffrey Perkins (Radio Active and BBC Head of Comedy). The producer is Jimmy Mulville (Who Dares Wins and co-founder of Hat Trick Productions).
You can also hear David Jason on the radio this Christmas Day presenting classic comedy clips on BBC Radio 2 at 6 p.m.