From Corby to Peckham to Belgrade and back with Only Fools' Boycie

A Corby businessman has produced a documentary with TV sitcom favourite
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A chance encounter in Kettering between a Corby entrepreneur and the actor who played one of the UK's favourite sitcom characters, has resulted in a travel documentary with a difference.

Lazar Vuković unleashed fan-demonium in Serbia when he organised a visit by actor John Challis, who played used-car salesman Boycie in BBC TVs Only Fools and Horses.

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Loved by Brits and the Serbian population of the former Yugoslavia alike, ‘Boycie in Belgrade’ documents Mr Challis' whistle-stop tour of the Serbian capital meeting fans in the Balkan region.

Mr Vuković became aware of the show's popularity when he visited Serbia and heard his cousin say 'Lovely Jubbly' but the idea came to fruition last year when he had accompanied his sister to Mr Challis' one man show, 'Only Fools and Boycies', at the Masque Theatre in Barton Seagrave, only months after spotting a yellow Reliant Regal Trotter-mobile.

Mr Vuković said: "I saw a yellow Reliant Regal last year when I was driving home, so I slowed my car down to have a look but I hesitated about stopping and taking a picture with it, so I carried on driving. I decided to turn the car around and go and get a picture.

"Two months later my sister was going to see John Challis’s one-man show. Her husband couldn’t make it, so she extended the ticket to me.

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"I went to see him in the show with my sister and he mentioned that he'd been to Belgrade on a chat show. That's when I got the idea. I said do you fancy doing a documentary and he said yes."

Lazar and John enjoy a CognacLazar and John enjoy a Cognac
Lazar and John enjoy a Cognac

Three months later the pair travelled to Belgrade with a camera crew visiting St Sava’s Cathedral, the British Ambassador's official residence and Red Star Belgrade FC.

Mr Vuković said: "The recognition we got was great. For one of the shots we had to wait for ages for the street to be cleared of people. He was mobbed.

"I think the popularity is because during the war they had wanted to escape the bombing so they watched repeats of Fool and Horses.

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"Serbian people had to find ways of making money - wheeling and dealing like the characters that's why it resonated with them and that's why the writer is a genius."

Boycie In BelgradeBoycie In Belgrade
Boycie In Belgrade

Born in Corby in 1986 to parents Jelica and Vido, who were of Yugoslav origin, Mr Vuković's business acumen started at Hazel Leys and Queen Elizabeth School where he would sell sweets to personalised cassette tapes at lunch breaks. He went on to study Accounting and Finance degree at DeMontfort University in Leicester

Launching in October in Serbian cinemas, the film has been released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK and he says he is proud of his Serbian and Corby roots.

He added: "I still live in Corby. I've always had a dual identity. My dad was the rector of the Serbian Orthodox Church. I'm proud to be from Corby, there's something special about it."

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Mr Vuković and John Challis will continue their travelogue after Covid restrictions are lifted with a follow-up planned for Montenegro and Croatia.

Lazar with the Reliant RegalLazar with the Reliant Regal
Lazar with the Reliant Regal

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