There are some bits of Only Fools & Horses trivia that most fans know. You’ve probably heard how Jim Broadbent was originally meant to play Del Boy (and later showed up as Slater), or how the show was meant to be called Readies. But have you heard these interesting OFAH facts? Maybe you have … but we’re willing to be there will be at least a few surprises in here:
- The character of Uncle Albert was originally meant to be something very different. In fact, he was meant to be a she – playing the part of “Aunty Doris”. As we all know, a replacement for Grandad had to be found after the death of Leonard Pearce … and Aunty Doris was mooted as an option. However, the writers and producers quickly came to their senses, realising that it would hardly be appropriate for Del Boy and Rodney to be as rude as they were to Grandad to an elderly woman (fancy calling your aunty a “stupid old git” as you throw her in the back of the van!) Thus the character of Uncle Albert was born.
- The mafia mansion from the special episode “Miami Twice” was real (and not produced solely for the show). It was the Biltmore Hotel in Miami, in the favourite suite of legendary gangster Al Capone.
- In the episode ‘Little Problems’, we see Micky Pearce with a heavily bandaged right arm, which he states was done by ‘The Driscoll Brothers’. This wasn’t actually in the original script, and John Sullivan had rewritten part of the script to include it after the actor Patrick Murray sustained a serious injury after falling through a pane of glass at his home. What a plonker!
- John Sullivan’s sister-in-law, Penny, inspired John to write the script for a certain fan-favourite episode, as she told him that her father used to go on an annual event which was of course called…..”The Jolly Boys Outing”
- The inspiration for the episode The Sky’s The Limit came when John Sullivan was on holiday in Portugal only to discover he was not booked to go on to a plane!
- Denzil’s wife Corinne was only seen in one episode – the one where Del & the gang make a right cock up of decorating Denzil’s flat- the actress, Eva Mottley, died 2 years later from an overdose.
- The episode Fatal Extraction is inspired by and resembles the classic 1987 film Fatal Attraction which starred Michael Douglas and Glenn Close. Go give it a watch and
- When series 1 aired, the show had a different theme song. It’s instrumental, and can be heard in the first episode, Big Brother, when Del is trying to sell the briefcases to market traders. Sometimes when the episodes are shown on Gold, they leave the original music (well worth trying to catch this).
- The show’s first series was considered a commercial flop, since it had low ratings. The lowest rated of all the first series episodes was Go West Young Man, at just over 6 million viewers. The BBC’s policy at the time though was to commission 2 series straight away. This meant that OFAH was guaranteed a second series (which luckily was much more popular than the first)
- The last episode of series 5, Who wants to be a millionaire?, was supposed to be the last ever episode. Del was going to move to Australia with Jumbo Mills. The BBC then planned a spin off series based on Rodney and Uncle Albert called Hot Rod. Finally, David Jason changed his mind about wanting to leave, and agreed to more episodes. Re-watch the episode, and you’ll immediately see how this would have made sense as an end to the show. Of course you will probably also know Jumbo Mills as being the Australian purchaser of Del’s hooky motor from “Go West Young Man”.
- The BBC DVD releases are incomplete. When they were released, the BBC couldn’t get the rights for some of the music in the background, so some scenes are cut, most commonly in the Nag’s Head, or a bar where music is playing. The solution to this problem? Purchase your episodes from the iTunes store (if possible) and you will get to enjoy the full cut of each episode.
- Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger) wasn’t going to be in the episode ‘Yuppy Love’ – there were no plans whatsoever for the character of Trigger to appear in this. However, Roger, was currently doing other work, in the same street (just down the road) and Roger apparently said to John Sullivan: ‘I’m available if you want me for this episode, I’m just down the street, if you want to quickly re-write it.” This one of the most famous and enduring Only Fools & Horses scenes was born … who could ever forget Del Boy falling through the bar?
- Only Fools & Horses owes, in part, its existence to the popularity of the legendary ITV show Minder. John Sullivan claimed that part of the reason he was able to convince the BBC to commission Only Fools & Horses was due to the popularity of Minder – another show set in London that featured a dodgy-dealing main character (Arthur), and a sidekick who was determined to keep him on the straight and narrow.
- The production manager of the show (Jo Austin) was so unaccustomed to cockney rhyming slang that she often thought the actors were misreading the show’s scripts!
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