Sitcom Only Fools And Horses told stories of London street trader Delboy Trotter and his hapless brother Rodney who are determined to improve their lot in life. Del and Rodney lived in a high rise flat in Peckham with initially their Granddad and later their Uncle Albert. Del also drove a rather lovely yellow three wheeled Reliant Robin.
The boys lived at 368 Nelson Mandela House, Dockside Estate, Peckham; A major part of the series success is down to the fabulous supporting players from road sweeper and not the sharpest pencil in the box Trigger, self made businessman Boycie and his wife Marlene and pub landlord Mike. As the series went on both Del and Rodders grew up somewhat and got married, Delboy to old flame Racquel and Rodney to the get-ahead Cassandra.
The final episode of the series proper saw the lads discover a priceless watch worth some six million pounds, making them millionaires at last. Then some five years later (beginning 25 December 2001) there was a special catching up with all the gang and mainly concentrating on the story of how Del and Rodders had lost all their money. Buster Merryfield had died a couple of years previous to this and Uncle Albert was given a burial in the story.
The second episode of the new trilogy was broadcast ( 1x75m) on 25 December 2002. The final part of the trilogy was broadcast Christmas day 2003. By now the show was practically a national institution with repeats still getting massive ratings but these three final episodes, spread over three years, were nice catch ups but less than essential viewing. Most watching thought it would have been better to have left the boys with their millions.
In 2010 John Sullivan penned the beginnings of a prequel called Rock and Chips following Del Boy and his mates in the early 60’s. Nicholas Lyndhurst made an appearance in this as Freddie “The Frog” Robdal who was actually Rodney’s biological father. This showed some promise but with only three episodes made John Sullivan died of a heart attack bringing the series to an understandably premature close.
For four seasons from 2005-2009 there was a lacklustre spin-off called The Green Green Grass which featured the characters of Boycie and Marlene (still played by John Challis and Sue Holderness) moving to the country. John Sullivan didn’t write all the episodes but maintained heavy involvement.
There was a nice surprise on 21 March 2014 when David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst returned as Del and Rodney in a short sketch for that years Sports Relief appeal. David Beckham co-starred in the episode which is is also known as Beckham in Peckham. The sketch was written by Jim and Dan Sullivan, John Sullivan’s sons (they also utilised some unused material from John too).
Trivia: Sullivan wrote and sang the fab theme tune himself.
UK / BBC-1 / 64 episodes of mostly 30m-e but some 50m-e / 1981-1996 and 2001-2002 (8 Seasons + 15 Specials)
Writer: John Sullivan / Producers: Ray Butt, Gareth Gwenlan
DAVID JASON as Derek ‘Delboy’ Trotter
NICHOLAS LYNDHURST as Rodney Trotter
LENNARD PEARCE as Granddad
BUSTER MERRYFIELD as Uncle Albert
ROGER LLOYD PACK as Trigger
JOHN CHALLIS as Boycie
KENNETH MACDONALD as Mike
TESSA PEAKE JONES as Racquel
GWYNETH STRONG as Cassandra
SUE HOLDERNESS as Marlene
PATRICK MURRAY as Mickey Pearce
PAUL BARBER as Denzil
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