Sir David Jason tells us about his new comedy series The Royal Bodyguard and why he’s back on BBC1 after 20 years away…

You haven’t done a BBC comedy for 20 years, so what enticed you back?
“I’ve never really left comedy, it’s just that I got asked to do some other interesting projects beginning with The Darling Buds of May and that led on to Frost. But with everything I’ve done, I’ve always tried to make sure that there’s a bit of comedy in it. When I read this script, I just thought it was very funny.”

Does it matter to you that it’s on BBC1?
“Yeah I suppose it does really. It was a big challenge to go straight back on to BBC1. The reputation of Only Fools & Horses is pretty high so it is a great compliment, I think.”

Your character, Captain Guy Hubble, works at the Buckingham Palace car park, but gets put in charge of Royal Security. What’s he like?
“He has a great sense of duty and his heart is totally in the right place, but he keeps putting his foot in it. He’s just a wonderful character.”

How does he get promoted?
“There’s an assassination attempt on The Queen at the State Opening of Parliament and Hubble manages to save her life. So she promotes him to Royal Bodyguard and, of course, he’s totally out of his depth.”

How would you describe the series?
“It’s good family entertainment that everyone can watch. It’s the sort of TV that we’ve lost sight of a little bit lately. People still love Laurel & Hardy and we all love watching Morecombe and Wise – those shows were all very simple, but very, very funny.”

Is there a lot of physical comedy?
“Yes and it has been very hard work. Some of the stuff they made me go through! I get thrown in mud, I’m left swinging off pipes, thrown down the chimney and covered in soot, wrapped in cellophane! I also had to wear a wig in one episode. It’s what they used to call a Crown Topper and it plays a bigger part in the storyline than you think.”

Where did you film the series?
“The main location was Basildon House which is an absolute ringer for Buckingham Palace, so it’s all very realistic. The quality of the production is very high which is extremely important for something like this where you’re bending the truth.”

You’ve had such a successful career,, but what are you most proud of?
“I’ve done so much I’m proud of it all, apart from one film called White Cargo which hopefully no one’s seen! I learnt a lot about TV from Ronnie Barker when we worked together on Open All Hours. I’ve been driven by the fact that I enjoy making people laugh. That’s the best drug in the world.”

The Royal Bodyguard is on BBC1 on Boxing Day