Sir David Jason has confessed as a young amateur actor he didn't believe he would ever make it as a professional, because he didn't think he was good enough.
The 73-year-old star of much-loved shows including Porridge, Open All Hours, Only Fools And Horses, The Darling Buds Of May and A Touch Of Frost is publishing his autobiography.
David revealed: "When you go back to the beginning I found it difficult to believe that I would ever be able to achieve anything as a professional actor. I shied away from it for a long time because I never thought I was good enough.
"Eventually it took me over."
My Life By David Jason is packed with hilarious anecdotes, as well as the revelation that the much-loved actor has come close to death on numerous occasions.
David reveals how he was once left marooned on a rock for hours when he was left behind on a scuba diving trip, he nearly fell off the roof at Ronnie Barker's house while tipsy, h e was almost electrocuted while working as an electrician, and as a small boy was hung on the back of the door by his collar by his brother.
The actor was born the son of a Billingsgate market porter in 1940 at the height of World War II in North London. In his book he recalls spending his early life dodging bombs and bullies, before becoming an electrician, a career he did not enjoy.
It was when he joined amateur group The Incognitos that he found a love for acting and went on to have a long and prolific acting career, with roles including the voice of cartoon superhero Danger Mouse.
He revealed: "The reason I was attracted to it was because of my love of cartoons, and that came from the fact that when I was a young lad my mother used to take me to the pictures, usually Disney cartoons, and they were the big favourites of mine. So when I got this opportunity to audition for a cartoon character I just couldn't wait.
David added: "Whatever challenges there are in life you should try and have a go, because it doesn't matter if you fail, you can always say, 'I had a go and I wasn't good enough'. I was prepared to do that, I really was. But fortune made other decisions for me."
::My Life By David Jason, £20, published by Century, is available now.