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Sir David Jason, 73: 'A Disney Trip With My 12-Year-Old Daughter Nearly Killed Me'

14/08/2014 16:55 | Updated 22 May 2015

Actor David Jason and wife Gill Hinchcliffe

Sir David Jason has spoken about how trying to keep up with his 12-year-old daughter at the age of 73 'nearly killed him' during an exhausting trip to Disney.

The Only Fools and Horses, Frost and Open All Hours star became a dad to Sophie when he was 61. But for all the joy she gives him, he confessed that she makes him 'feel old!'.

He told the Mirror: "They say having a child makes you young at heart," he says. "But, bloody hell, Sophie makes me feel old! She shouldn't, but she does.

"We went to Disney a few years back and it nearly killed me. She wanted me to go on all the rides – up and down the roller coasters. Never again!

"As soon as I got there I just thought, 'Oh Gordon Bennett!' She wanted me to take her on all the rides...which I did, but I was soon cured. I was exhausted!"

He laughed: "We went on this ride where you go on a boat and there's these monsters and dinosaurs that come out. We were all enjoying ourselves saying, 'Oh look at that', and getting the camera out.

"Then we came round and suddenly there was this huge ramp going up and I thought, 'Oh gawd, we're going up on that are we?' And of course, you can't get out of the bloody boat.

"I was going, 'Oh no' because I could see what was going to happen. There's a sheer drop and I went, 'Oh no, no, no, no'. "We went underneath the dinosaur and it went 'Raaaaa!' again. Well that cured me. I got out of that boat soaking bloody wet, with a tearful child, who then said, 'Argh, argh, argh, can we go again?' And I said, 'No we bloody well can't!'?"

He added: "She's off to EuroDisney soon, but I won't be going," he says. "So, bless her socks, she does miss out a little bit with a father of senior years. She does get the short end of the stick."

As he prepares to revisit his role as Granville in Open All Hours, David believes he and wife Gill have brought Sophie into a world that has lost its sense of community and he worries that we'll never get it back.

"Young people today have a command of technology that means that they no longer need to communicate in the way we did," he said.

"They're texting and tweeting but not learning any skills. Social interaction is very, very important but we're losing the ability to do it properly."

He added: "I know it's going to get harder as we move towards the teenage years. Sophie's already got a mobile phone, but that's only because of peer pressure.

"What do you do when a little person comes to you and says, 'I'm the only one that doesn't have a phone'. They go on and on, drip, drip, drip, until you go, 'Oh alright'. But that's the world today. It's not something I'm particularly happy with.

"Between three and seven are the best years. Sophie made me laugh so much. I remember reading Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and I asked her the next night, 'What do you want me to read?' She said 'I want Snow White and the Seven 'Warfs'. So now her nickname is The Warf. Those times were so funny."

He hopes that by making good old-fashioned shows like the Open All Hours special he's doing his bit.

"You can sit there with a two year-old or a 92-year-old and not have to worry about what might happen or what might be said," he said.

"I've been caught out many a time watching TV with Sophie. Before I know it people have taken their clothes off or are swearing and I've been unable to get to the remote or cover her eyes in time."

• Sir David's autobiography My Life is out now.

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