John Challis, the actor best known for playing Boycie in Only Fools & Horses, is coming to Chard this September to speak at TV gardener Toby Buckland’s Harvest Festival.
Bristol-born Challis, whose mother came from Bath, takes to the stage in Forde Abbey’s magnificent Great Hall to share the trials and tribulations of restoring an ancient abbey, the topic of his latest book, Wigmore Abbey. It tells the story of how Challis and wife Carol swapped city life for the countryside to lovingly restore an old abbot’s lodge and overgrown garden in Herefordshire, which ultimately became the location for the Only Fools spin-off The Green, Green Grass.
Challis who was recently on our screens as Monty in ITV’s Benidorm says, “I’ve never been to Forde Abbey but friends have told me it’s beautiful and I’m especially looking forward to seeing the gardens which I hear are stunning in September.”
Challis has numerous Somerset connections, having spent summer holidays there as a child, staying at an uncle’s farm in North Cadbury. He also an avid follower of Somerset county cricket, being a huge fan of batsman Marcus Trescothick:
“Marcus came back stage at a panto I was in a few years back at Weston-super-Mare and I was completely star-struck,” says Challis. “My team allegiance always goes with my favourite cricketer and Marcus is one my heroes.”
John Challis will be speaking and signing copies of his book at Forde Abbey on 15th and 16th September.