Regularly touted as one of the best British sitcoms ever, Only Fools and Horses
kicked off in 1981 when mobile phones were the size of bricks and wine bars were the ultimate places to hang out. The formula was simple enough: Cockney wideboy Derek "Del Boy" Trotter (brilliantly played by David Jason) dreams of better things for himself while sharing a cramped council flat in the nicely named Peckham tower block Nelson Mandela House with his unworldly brother Rodney and his sweet but doddery old grandad. Trouble is, Del's endless money-making schemes (such as his attempt to flog a consignment of one-legged turkeys, or his plan to sell bottled tap water under the label "Peckham Spring") inevitably backfire, like the beat-up old Robin Reliant van he uses to cart around all this faulty gear in.
Created by John Sullivan, who also sings the very catchy theme tune, Only Fools and Horses is a wonderful mix of dodgy but loveable characters (such as Del Boy's dimwit friend Trigger), knockabout slapstick (no-one falls down with as much comedic grace as Jason) and brilliantly crafted dialogue. Sadly, Leonard Pierce, who played Grandad, died in 1983 (his armchair in the Trotter household was filled in 1985 by Buster Merryfield as Uncle Albert, an old merchant seaman who used to bore Del and Rodney with tales of his war days). The show ran to seven series and ended with characteristic warmth in 1991, when Del Boy became a father; but the Trotters made occasional returns to the small screens with six hugely popular one-off Christmas specials. This, as Del Boy himself might say, is "lovely jubbly". --Edward Lawrenson
Third series of John Sullivan's popular comedy, featuring the wheeling and dealing of Del and Rodney Trotter on the streets of Peckham. In 'The Long Legs of the Law', Del is aghast when Rodney starts dating a policewoman and invites her back to the flat. 'Ashes to Ashes' sees the ghost of one of Grandad's old friends returning to haunt him when the Trotters look after Trigger's grandad's ashes. In 'A Losing Streak', Del's luck is at an all-time low, and the Trotter finances are placed in peril during a game of cards with Boycie. 'No Greater Love' sees Rodney falling for an older woman. In 'Homesick', Grandad's health becomes a cause for concern. 'Healthy Competition' sees Rodney going it alone with Mickey Pearce, while in 'Friday the 14th' the Trotters are trapped in a remote fishing lodge with an escaped psychopath on the rampage. 'Yesterday Never Comes' sees Del taken in by a wily female in the art world.