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Remembering Only Fools and Horses castmates who sadly died

The beloved sitcom starred David Jason and ran for over 20 years

John Challis and Kenneth MacDonald as Boyce and Mike in Only Fools and Horses
Francesca Shillcock
Francesca ShillcockSenior TV & Film Writer
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As one of the nation's favourite comedy shows, Only Fools and Horses has stood the test of time. Despite being first shown in 1981 and the final episode being shown almost 20 years ago, the sitcom remains hugely popular and is still firmly cemented in viewers' hearts.

The stellar cast and characters, of course, made the show what it is but, sadly, some of the stars are no longer with us. HELLO! pays tribute to them and their beloved on-screen personas...

Lennard Pearce, David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst stand for portrait for Only Fools and Horses in Only Fools and Horses
Lennard Pearce, David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst in Only Fools and Horses

Kate Saunders - Sandra

Kate Saunders played the part of Sandra in Only Fools and Horses' episode titled The Long Legs of the Law which aired in 1982. Sandra was a police officer who was a love-interest of Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst).

Sadly, Kate, who in later years had become a journalist and novelist, recently passed away aged 62. On Monday 24 April 2023, her sister confirmed the news via Twitter: "My sister, who we lost last Friday. The warmest, bravest, most generous, and most brilliant woman I will ever know. Heaven knows how we will live without her."

Although Kate only had a small part on the sitcom, the programme put out a statement to pay tribute to her: "We are sorry to learn of the passing of Kate Saunders. In addition to her acting career, Kate was an award-winning novelist, journalist and critic. Our thoughts are with her family."

Kate Saunders holds up book at Costa Book Awards© Getty
Kate Saunders was an actress turned writer

John Challis - Terrance "Boycie" Boyce

Boycie was a beloved character on the sitcom and was known for his love-hate relationship with Del Boy throughout the show's run. On Sunday 19 September 2021, it was announced by his family that actor John Challis had sadly died "peacefully, in his sleep" from cancer.

Many actors and co-stars paid tribute to him, including Sue Holderness, who played Boycie's wife Marlene. She wrote on Twitter: "Marlene without Boycie – it's unthinkable. John Challis was my partner on screen and stage for 36 years and my beloved friend. R.I.P. darling John. I will miss you every day."

MORE: Tessa Peake-Jones' relationship with on-screen son revealed 

MORE: Susanna Reid 'devastated' as she shares emotional tribute to late Strictly star

john challis© Photo: Getty Images

John Challis played Boycie in the hit show

Lennard Pearce - Edward Kitchener "Grandad" Trotter

Playing the role of loveable if slightly dopey Grandad was Lennard Peace. Lennard began acting in the 1930s, and had a successful career in the theatre before joining the sitcom in his later years. Sadly, Grandad only appeared in the first few series of the show as Lennard passed away in 1984 at the age of 69.

only fools grandad© Photo: Getty Images

Lennard Pearce (far right) played Grandad

A few years before his death, the actor was diagnosed with critical hypertension and had a number of health issues. On 15 December in 1984, Lennard suffered what was his second heart attack at his flat in London and died instantly. His fellow castmates were said to be "devastated" at his sudden death.

Buster Merryfield – Uncle Albert Gladstone Trotter

After the death of Lennard, Buster Merryfield was brought in as the third Bfamily member in the Trotter clan, playing the role of Royal Navy veteran Uncle Albert. The character of albert who first appeared on the show at the funeral of Grandad.

buster merryfield© Photo: Getty Images

Buster Merryfield as Uncle Albert

Buster remained on the show until his death from a brain tumour in 1999 at the age of 78 At the time, his co-stars paid tribute to Buster, with David Jason labelling him as a "great man" and Nicholas Lyndhurst hailing him a "national institution".

Roger Lloyd-Pack – Trigger

Roger Lloyd-Pack played Trigger, the dim mate of Rodney's, for the entirety of the show. Trigger wasn't Roger's only popular role, however, as he was known for his parts in the Vicar of Dibley, Harry Potter and The Old Guys. 

roger only fools© Photo: Getty Images

Roger Lloyd-Pack (right) as Trigger

In 2014, Roger sadly passed away from pancreatic cancer aged 69. Sir David Jason said at the time: "I was very saddened to hear of Roger's passing. He was a very quiet, kind and unassuming actor who was a pleasure to work with."

Roy Heather – Sid

Roy Heather might have had a smaller part on the sitcom, but his on-screen presence as café owner Sid will always be remembered. Roy also starred in a number of other shows, such as Poirot, Birds of a Feather, Bottom and My Family. He sadly died in 2014 at the age of 79 from an unknown illness.

roy heather© Photo: Rex

Roy Heather as Sid

Kenneth MacDonald – Mike Fisher

Landlord of the iconic Only Fools pub, The Nag's Head, was Mike Fisher played by Kenneth MacDonald, who sadly died in August 2001.

mike only fools© Photo: Getty Images

Kenneth MacDonald (right) as landlord Mike

Kenneth appeared on the show from 1983 until 1996 when he left the show. His character Mike wasn't killed off, but was instead said to be serving five years in prison for embezzling money from the brewery. Mike's character plot was revealed in an episode of the sitcom shortly after Kenneth's death and was said to be a request made in his will.

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