Telly for Anglophiles | Only Fools and Horses
Only Fools and Horses is a British sitcom, created and written by John Sullivan. Seven series were originally broadcast on BBC One in the United Kingdom between 1981 and 1991, with sporadic Christmas specials until 2003. Episodes are regularly repeated on GOLD and occasionally repeated on BBC One.
Set in Peckham in south London, it stars Sir David Jason as ambitious market trader Derek “Del Boy” Trotter, Nicholas Lyndhurst as his younger brother Rodney, and Lennard Pearce as their ageing grandfather. After Pearce’s death in 1984 his character was replaced by Uncle Albert (Buster Merryfield). Backed by a strong supporting cast, the series chronicles their highs and lows in life, in particular their attempts to get rich.
After a relatively slow start the show went on to achieve consistently high ratings, and the 1996 episode “Time On Our Hands” holds the record for the highest UK audience for a sitcom episode, attracting 24.3 million viewers (over a third of the population). Critically and popularly acclaimed, the series received numerous awards, including recognition from BAFTA, the National Television Awards and the Royal Television Society, as well as winning individual accolades for both Sullivan and Jason. It was voted Britain’s Best Sitcom in a 2004 BBC poll.
The series had an impact on English culture, contributing several words and phrases to the English language. It spawned an extensive range of merchandise, including books, DVDs, toys and board games. A spin-off series, The Green Green Grass, ran for four series in the UK. A prequel, Rock & Chips, ran for three specials in 2011.