Sir David Jason talks about solving his final case as curmudgeonly copper, Jack Frost in ITV’s A Touch of Frost

What will you miss most after 17 years of playing Frost?
“Everyone involved. Over the years everyone – the actors, wardrobe and make up and the camera crew – got involved. It was one of the things that bonded us like one big happy family.”

Why then was it time to stop?
“The truth is that, in terms of enjoyment, we could have gone on making Frost indefinitely. But difficult as the decision was, we realised that in an occupation where the retirement age is 60, Frost was getting too old to be believable. So after much debate and heart-searching we finally agreed it was time for Frost to leave the force. But whether he hangs up his hat or leaves feet first is shrouded in mystery.”

You are so keen to keep the outcome secret you have filmed two separate endings?
“Yes, for the viewer knowing the answer would be like reading the last two pages of a book first. I think everyone would rather wait and see.”

Why do you think people love Frost so much?
“He was a one-off, I think – a man who’d eat a bacon sandwich while looking at a corpse on a mortuary slab. He was also old-fashioned in a reassuring kind of way. He didn’t give a hoot about paper work, red tape or bureaucracy. He bent the rules and broke them, but he always got his man in the end. Whenever I spoke to any real cops about him they always said he was the exactly the kind of policeman the public would like to have protecting them.”

What else made it such a success?
“I think the fact it was not violent and there was little swearing. The worst thing Frost might ever have said was ‘sod’ or ‘bloody’ or once, I recall, ‘Stop pissing me about!’ But swearing was incredibly rare.”

What was it like filming the final scenes?
“Not giving anything away, I will say that there’s a point in the drama where I have to find tears. I don’t expect it will be too much of a stretch.”