Only Fools and Horses

PC brigade would put Del Boy in a cell, says Marlene

Sue, 69, who became a household name as Boycie’s flirtatious wife Marlene, said Del Boy and other characters could not get away with the same antics now that made the TV show such a success in the Eighties.

She said: “The very first episode Del gave me a big hug, kissed me fondly and pinched my bum and nobody took any offence at it, except Boycie, who looked daggers.

Only Fools star Sue Holderness: Viewers would want Del Boy locked up now |  What to Watch

“Every time we met that would happen. It’s quite fun.

“I don’t think you would get away with Del Boy pinching Marlene’s bottom without everybody saying ‘He’s a pervert and that shouldn’t be allowed and he should be locked-up’.”

Sue, who starred alongside Sir David Jason as Del Boy and Nicholas Lyndhurst as Rodney, added that men “don’t know how to behave” now because “almost anything can be deemed inappropriate”.

She said: “A wolf whistle isn’t supposed to be allowed now, which I think is such a pity. It has gone too far. I’m sure it will swing back and eventually we’ll be able to flirt away again, but at the moment I don’t think it’s possible.

“There have been people saying you could never make Only Fools And Horses now, that it was racist. It wasn’t remotely racist.

“Del and Rodney and all that community, there wasn’t a racist ounce in their bodies.”

Only Fools and Horses
Del Boy (c), Grandad (L) and Rodney in Only Fools and Horses (Image: GETTY)

However, she said that she welcomed the increased respect with which women are now treated, particularly over pay.

Sue said: “I’m absolutely with the MeToo movement. Of course women should be paid as much as men. I’m praying that there will be more parts written for women, which is happening.

“I was paid much, much less than John Challis (Boycie) on Only Fools And Horses”.

She said it was only when the two appeared together in a spin-off show, The Green Green Grass, that “the BBC did the decent thing and we got parity”.

The actress is appearing with Sir David for the first time since 2001 in a new series of BBC One sitcom Still Open All Hours.

She said that working with him again felt “like putting on some old slippers”, explaining: “It’s like coming home. It’s been the most wonderful job.”

Sue will appear in three episodes as a divorced woman who is “very disappointed in love and has been very badly let down by her Italian husband”. She added: “It’s clear that she is not planning to be single for very long.”

Only Fools And Horses was created and written by John Sullivan over seven series from 1981 to 1991. Its Christmas specials continued until 2003.

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