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Only Fools and Horses: The Story of Britain's Favourite Comedy Hardcover – 3 Nov 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (3 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857860542
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857860545
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 437,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"

Praise for Graham McCann:
'What is not to love about this book? It is meticulous, exact, intelligent, affectionate and somehow inspirational. McCann, who has written on Cary Grant and Morecombe & Wise, has delivered his best one yet.

" (Guardian on Dad's Army)

"McCann's impeccably detailed biography is both a celebration and a lament." (The Times on Morecambe and Wise)

"Never has the sheer awkwardness of the human condition been so comically or beautifully conveyed." (Daily Mail on Frankie Howerd)

"You will laugh, you will learn and you will undoubtedly, start speaking in a silly voice." (Word Magazine on Spike & Co)

"This book also makes one look anew at one's favourite scenes . . . McCann has some nice insights into the production techniques that made this the most frenetic farce to have appeared on television." (Telegraph on Fawlty Towers)

"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)

"McCann provides hundreds of interesting details . . . on how the show crept into the British consciousness and captured the British public's imagination with its characters and humour . . . The back stories of the actors and actresses are engrossing and how the theme music came about is a comic tale in itself" (Telegraph)

Book Description

On the 30th anniversary of the show, Britain's favourite entertainment writer celebrates Britain's best-loved sitcom.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
very good read and lots of fun,if your a only fools fan then this is a good buy.
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Format: Hardcover
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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By For Tomorrow 24 TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 July 2016
Format: Hardcover
I have got to hand it to Graham McCann, this man is clearly passionately in love with classic British comedy, and his outstanding publications on a wealth of them are a testament to this. If you buy one of his books, then you just know that you're going to get something good, and his 2011 chronicle on the nations favourite sitcom, 'Only Fools and Horses', is no exception.

To mark the landmark comedy's thirtieth anniversary, and to pay tribute to the genius who invented it, the then recently deceased John Sullivan, McCann wrote this comprehensive history book, which is a page-turner from it's prologue.

McCann tells the complete, behind-the-scenes story, beginning with writer John Sullivan and Ray Butt's genius idea of a new British sitcom, at a time (the start of the 1980s), when the future of this traditional TV genre was looking very bleak. He writes about the early life of Sullivan in sufficient, but never overly wordy detail, as well as those three wonderful actors, David Jason, Nicholas Lyndhurst, and Lennard Pearce, whose careers had began to look rather uncertain before they landed the roles of Del Boy, Rodney, and Grandad.

I read this well researched book in just a few sittings, and truly lapped the 'Only Fools' story up from start to finish, finding all of the behind-the scenes information about how it all came together, and the reasons as to why certain changes had to be made as the show went on, absolutely fascinating. I learned a lot from it, and my respect for all the brilliant cast and crew only increased. There is no juicy, scandalous gossip to be found, this is a straight story, but told in an entertaining way, and a fitting tribute to John Sullivan, and his greatest, ground-breaking TV legacy.
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Format: Hardcover
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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