The X-Files to The Crown: Gillian Anderson’s best TV showsMar 28 | 2 min read
Nearly 40 years on from its first episode, Big Brother, Only Fools and Horses remains the most loved, most watched and most enduring British sitcom of them all.
Del Boy, Rodney, Grandad, Uncle Albert, Boycie, Denzil, Marlene and Trigger aren’t just a bunch of comedy characters created by John Sullivan, they are beloved TV icons who helped earn Only Fools... its status in the pantheon of great British TV shows.
BritBox has got all seven series of Only Fools of Horses and the unforgettable Christmas specials, so we took on the unenviable task of picking our five all-time favourites.
We’re sure you’ve got your own personal favourites, but if you don’t like these five you must be a right plonker.
1. The Jolly Boys' Outing
The 1989 Christmas Special had it all. Romance, calamity, the seaside and the classic John Sullivan mix of heart, soul and belly laughs.
At the centre of the storyline are Del and Rodney’s love lives as Rodney struggles with married life and Del is reunited with Racquel, but they sit alongside Trigger’s Kiss Me Quick hat, an exploding coach and all the fun of a trip to Margate.
2. A Touch of Glass
One of the first truly great episodes, A Touch of Glass from 1982's series 2 is remembered by most viewers for one unforgettable scene – the crashing chandelier.
A classic piece of John Sullivan writing, the episode finds the Trotters offering their services to an aristocrat and weaselling their way into some money-making work cleaning the stately home’s grand ornaments.
The writing and direction are masterfully crafted: everyone knows the chandelier is going to fall, but no matter how many times you watch it, it's bound to leave you in floods of laughter.
3. Tea for Three
Fools and Horses was in full swing by series five and this classic episode featured several of the show’s most memorable moments.
Centred on a romantic rivalry between Del Boy and Rodney over Trigger’s niece Lisa, the episode includes Uncle Albert’s performance for his estranged wife Ada, Rodney’s solarium disaster and Del Boy’s hand-gliding hilarity.
4. Heroes and Villains
The classic 1996 Christmas trilogy was a record-breaking hit with over 24 million of us tuning in for the finale Time On Our Hands (more on that later…).
But it was this first episode of the trio which remains the most well remembered, largely down to the scene where Del Boy and Rodney end up dashing through the streets of London in full Batman and Robin regalia.
It’s also the episode featuring the greatest Trigger moment as he reveals the history of his broom, with its 17 new heads and 14 new handles.
5. Time On Our Hands
Although the series did return, the final part of the 1996 Christmas trilogy is viewed by many fans as the show’s true ending as Del and Rodders finally struck lucky.
But it was far from a simple fairytale ending as John Sullivan weaved together moments of heart-breaking poignancy.
Rodney’s tears over Cassandra’s miscarriage is beautifully acted and written and although the series celebrates the Trotters finally becoming millionaires, it also looks back at what they’ve lost. Their old life, filled with joy and laughter may never be the same now they’ve reached the top.
Watch every episode of Only Fools and Horses on BritBox.
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