Only Fools And Horses, Christmas Trilogy, 1996
Only Fools And Horses as a TV series had finished in 1991. However the show continued to be broadcast as Christmas Specials until 1993. There was a huge appetite for the show’s return, the Christmas Specials had attacted audiences averaging 20 million.
In 1996, after a three year break, writer John Sullivan announced he would write a one off trilogy bringing the Trotter saga to an end.
So in Christmas 1996 Only Fools And Horses returned with three brand new feature length episodes. The final episode “Time On Our Hands” drew the show’s highest ever audience of 24.3 million. It was also a record audience for a British sitcom to date.
Heroes and Villains
The first episode of the trilogy. Rodney has a bad dream in which Damien (Del’s son) rules the country. Things aren’t going too well for Del either. Business is not good and his home improvement grant from the council has been rejected. Meanwhile, Raquel and Damien visit Raquel’s estranged parents and Cassandra joins her parents in Spain at their family villa.
While the girls are away, Del and Rodney attend a fancy dress party as Batman and Robin. The brothers are forced to run to the venue when the van breaks down and coincidently stop a gang of muggers. In classic Fools and Horses style they arrive at the party in fancy dress only to discover that the party’s host died the day before and the party has been cancelled in place of the host’s wake.
A few days later, Del and Rodney stop the same gang of muggers that they stopped on the way to the fancy dress party, resulting in Del Boy receiving a medal and £5000 for his home improvement grant and Cassandra reveals that she is finally pregnant.
Del is reading a book called ‘Modern Man’. Despite being convinced he is the dictionary definition of debonair masculinity, the book is making him behave irrationally and rashly.
Rodney is concerned about this. Cassandra is expecting, and he wants more responsibility and a better job to provide for his family. Unwittingly he replies to a job advertisement, posted by Del to alleviate Rodney’s workload.
Meanwhile, Del decides to take his manhood into his own hands and get a vasectomy. Doctor Singh is hounding him regarding dodgy paint, and the nightmare of him getting revenge on Del’s crown jewels puts him off the idea.
Cassandra is rushed into hospital, suffering a miscarriage. Rodney breaks down, and it is Del who tells him he has to be strong for his wife. He then blubs his eyes out, as Rodney supports his wife.
Time On Our Hands
What was believed at the time to be the final episode. Rodney is bottling up his emotions following the loss of his baby. Del, realising Cassandra needs his support, wants to help Rodney adjust.
Raquel’s estranged parents arrive for a meal, and to meet their daughter’s new man. He does little to impress, and Uncle Albert mixes the coffee with the gravy by accident.
The next day, Raquel’s Father meets Rodney and Del whilst they are clearing their garage. Being an antiques dealer, he spots a long-lost 18th Century Harrison marine watch, which he recommends getting valued.
When the watch is sold for auction at Sotheby’s, the highest bid is for £6.2 million. Now the trotters are finally millionaires. We are given a brief glimpse into their new life and left to wonder how Del will handle his new found wealth (This is the final appearance of Buster Merryfield as Uncle Albert in a full episode.)
Heroes and Villains
Time On Our Hands
Written By: John Sullivan
Produced By: Gareth Gwenlan
Original Transmission Dates:
Heroes and Villains; 25th December 1996
Modern Men: 27th December 1996
Time On Our Hands: 28th December 1996