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Only Fools and Horses: The Story of Britain's Favourite Comedy [Paperback]

Graham McCann
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

7 Jun 2012
In the thirty years since viewers first visited Nelson Mandela House, Only Fools and Horses has won countless awards and is still Britain's most-watched and best-loved sitcom. Del Boy's overwhelming popularity has even inspired the Oxford English Dictionary to include a selection of his most famous words and phrases, such as 'lovely jubbly' and 'twonk'. In this fascinating, entertaining and meticulously researched book, acclaimed biographer Graham McCann goes behind the scenes to tell the inside story of Britain's most enduring comedy. With major contributions from the people who wrote, produced and starred in the programme and with material drawn from the BBC archives, it's time to take one last trip down Hooky Street ...

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Only Fools and Horses: The Story of Britain's Favourite Comedy + Only Fools and Horses: The Official Inside Story + The Official Only Fools and Horses Quiz Book
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd (7 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857860569
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857860569
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This is a thoroughly-researched, breezily-written, affectionate and yet never dewy-eyed account of how a great TV series was put together. It stands as a worthy monument to its creator - Daily Mail

About the Author

Graham McCann is the most trusted and admired entertainment writer working in the UK today. He is the critically acclaimed and best-selling author of books on Dad's Army, Fawlty Towers, Frankie Howerd, Cary Grant, Spike Milligan, Terry-Thomas, Woody Allen, John Le Mesurier, Morecambe and Wise, and Marilyn Monroe. He also writes regularly on politics and culture for a wide range of publications.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Dissapointing 5 April 2012
By Perry
As a huge fan of Only Fools and Horses, and founder and President of the OFAH Appreciation Society, I was very much looking forward to reading this book, ony to be left feeling very dissapointed. First of all, while the book is about the show, it is fair to say that is as equally about the author's own opinions of it--many of which I found to be way off the mark. By far its biggest and most irritating flaw though is the amount of mistakes relating to the show that it contains--I gave up counting at about 20! I know I am in more of a position to notice these than the average person on the street, but still, if you are going to write about and criticise the show (or any show) the very least you can do is get your facts straight. It left me wondering whether the author has actually ever even watched the show and wishing that they had spent as much time and care on this side of things as they have on their personal views. Finally, apart from these views the book doesn't really tell anything about the show that hasn't already been told in previous Only Fools' books. Sorry to say but overall a big let down.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The clue is in the title of the book 10 May 2013
The clue is in the title. It's the story of the show, it's not a reference work full of facts and dry interviews. For anyone looking for an exhaustive reference work about Only Fools and Horses this is not for you, such books are already available. Too often this kind of book can be deadly dull. They can never be as funny as the subject they are written about and are often simply just a litany of facts about it. Graham McCann's book about Only Fools and Horses is much more than that. It provides a wealth of interesting background material on how the show came about, how some of the show's iconic moments came to be written and how they were performed. There's also material on the earlier careers of the writer and the main stars. Above all it is a very warm tribute to the late John Sullivan, and a well written one at that.

The author provides his own opinion of the show throughout. This is fair enough, it's not a reverential history and it provides an insight into why some of the show's quality varied. If you are a die-hard fan of OFAH and think it never put a foot wrong then this book will not be an easy read. If you are more realistic and accept that like everything else it had high points and low points, then this is a fascinating work on how a TV sitcom is created and produced, nearly disappears and then becomes probably the most popular British sitcom ever.

According to some reviewers the book contains some factual errors. If that is the case, perhaps they should point some of them out so we could all be aware. I'm sure the author would be interested and if the errors are substantiated could then update his book. Either way, it's not something that will bother the general reader.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Only Fools and Authors 21 July 2014
I enjoy the award laden BBC comedy Only Fools and Horses (OFAH) but I cannot commit to being a huge fan of how long the show went on for, nor the reverence it's given over other shows of its genre, hence why I thought that this book would provide a balanced view. It's an interesting view in parts for the comedy fan, telling little bits of background that I wasn't previously aware of and there are some nice reminiscences from key cast and crew. However, all too soon the author starts including his own political prejudges and the narrative suffers as a result. He also (inaccurately at times) describes the plot from most of the episodes which becomes rather boring after a while. I do agree with him about the way the show was revived over and over again and yes, the spin offs were generally a bit naff.

What made this book a three and not a four star read for me was the epilogue where the author bemoans the legacy of the show and manages to brand all comedy forum fans who discuss the various episodes and themes of the series as "the dourest of these obsessives" - hmm. He makes a fair enough point about how the continual showings on vintage channels such as Gold have ruined the immediacy and story arc of some of the series, but I guess that's how those channels make their money by selling advertising during the breaks? Yes, some people do study comedy, but surely making such people out to be rather pathetic he's somewhat alienating his future audience for all of the behind the scenes this author specialises in? I certainly won't be reading another if myself and other fans are held in such contempt?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES 23 Mar 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Graham McCann's book is a brilliant read. It gives the full background story to the long-running and very popular tv comedy, and helpfully provides a guide to every episode. A great publication!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AN INTERESTING READ 3 Sep 2013
Being a keen follower of OFAH,and yes watching the jumbled episodes of Gold I found this book enjoyable. I took to be an overview of the programme, and not a blow by blow account of each episode and how it came to fruition. This book is for the keen amateur, not the obsessive who will obviously have far greater knowledge of the series, and its nuances. I am not sure I would pay 20 for the book, price from Amazon, but for a good introduction to the genre, and overview of each episode, which I found useful as a reference point then this is a good starting point.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable if v detailed read
Lots of interesting insights into the life of the series, characters and actors. Too detailed in parts and somepolitical comment that was unnecessary, but enjoyable read.
Published 7 months ago by Ian Mclaren
1.0 out of 5 stars Not impressed with the party political broadcast on behalf of the...
I settled down to read this book, a Christmas gift. First few pages were fine and then it turned into an obnoxious rant against one of the finest Prime Ministers that this country... Read more
Published 8 months ago by AJL
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
Highly reommended by my son as I got it for one of his birthday presents.He really enjoyed it as he is a masive OFAH fan.
Published 12 months ago by merlin
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Always loved the comedy show and this book (Only Fools and Horses) I thought was a good read, happy times.
Published 12 months ago by A. R. Gostling
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable
I read this book with enthusiasm. I did not notice any of the aforementioned mistakes. I really enjoyed the anecdotes and history of the times. Read more
Published 16 months ago by B Reanualt
4.0 out of 5 stars Only Fools & Horses - Book
Delivery excellent. This was a Christmas present for a friend; he hasn't read it yet, but the book was of reasonable quality.
Published 19 months ago by Country Boy
5.0 out of 5 stars Not so sure.
As a loyal fan of OFAH, I'm not sure about this book. In my opinion, it misses out on several things.
Published 19 months ago by MeloMan
5.0 out of 5 stars REAL GOLD
Great insight into the programme and its characters the trails and tribulations John Sullivan endured to come up with the masterpiece the show is.
Published on 22 July 2012 by THE MOKE
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it from start to finish
While accepting there are a few inaccuracies in terms of facts here and there, it doesn't detract from the average fan of OF&H really enjoying this book. Read more
Published on 19 Jun 2012 by FoxOutOfTheBox
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