As we get another Touch of Frost, David Jason relishes thoughts of his Kiwi comfort blanket, writes David Skipwith
He might be the star of countless iconic UK series, but Sir David Jason has just one question when he talks to TimeOut.
"Is Cobb & Co still as famous as it was? I did a set of very silly, funny commercials for them, which I really enjoyed so very much.
"I was over there for more than a week in the 80s, so I know the country quite well and I enjoyed my stay very much."
We're talking because one of those series, A Touch of Frost is now available to Kiwis via Acorn TV, a streaming platform specialising in British TV.
Jason played the gritty and dogged Detective Inspector William Edward "Jack" Frost from 1992 to 2010, having already established himself as a household name in the 70s and 80s through playing Granville in Open All Hours, and Derek "Del Boy" Trotter in Only Fools and Horses.
Younger generations also grew to love his humour, through his work voicing the title characters in children's cartoons Danger Mouse and Count Duckula, and Mr Toad, in The Wind and the Willows.
Just days after celebrating his 80th birthday, Jason fondly recalled his golden years, and how 1980s New Zealand reminded him of Britain in simpler times.
"It was just like the UK 25 years previously," he says. "There was a very nice respect for law and order and it was rather old-fashioned, but in a very nice, charming way.
"It had a lovely aura about it, which was like a comfort blanket. It was a really nice feeling of just being a safe place and a nice place to be.
"New Zealand, I hope, hasn't changed too much from my visit, but certainly, I would hope the work that I've done is being enjoyed still."
The cultural similarities between England and New Zealand extend to our shared sense of humour; Jason believes Kiwis have always had a stronger connection to his comedy than our transtasman neighbours.
There have been rumours over the years that Frost might come out of retirement but it seems fans will have to make do with reruns, despite Jason's enthusiasm for a revival.
"I certainly would love the chance to bring it back because it was a wonderful series to do.
"He was such a rewarding character to play. I enjoyed the fact that he was a clever, irascible sort of character trying to find the evildoers in the world. I really did enjoy it.
"And I'm glad that it's gone down so well with my friends in New Zealand."
Having enjoyed more than 55 years in showbusiness, Jason is working on a new book about his career.
The qualified pilot and former mechanic is also fronting a new documentary series about great British inventions, including the jet engine, lightbulb and tanks from World War I.
"I became an actor because I was in love with the ability to entertain people.
"I got as much pleasure by doing things to make people laugh and also moving people emotionally, as they did enjoying me doing silly things.
"So that's the reason why I won't give it up."
• Seasons 1 - 9 of A Touch of Frost are available now on Acorn TV, with seasons 10-15 landing on April 6.