Only Fools and Horses

David Jason speaks out on Only Fools and Horses filming difficulties: ‘We couldn’t do it!’

David Jason, 80, has had multiple roles on television in a showbiz career which has spanned over half a century. Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter is one character the British public best know the stalwart actor for, with the iconic BBC  sitcom running for 22 years. Nicholas, 59, starred alongside him as his alter-ego’s younger half-brother, Rodney Charlton Trotter. The double act featured in some of the most comical moments on British television, but they did struggle to film the scene where the pair dressed up as Batman and Robin.

The iconic scene played out in the first episode of the eighth season entitled, Heroes and Villains, which saw Del Boy as the superhero and Rodney as his sidekick.

Recalling dressing up as the comic book characters and the fun they had on set, David explained: “We were sitting in the van and doing that scene before we ran out to the lady who was being robbed.

“Trying to do the scene in the van with Nic Lyndhurst looking like the boy, Robin, and me looking like Batman, and trying to be serious [was a challenge].

“Well, we couldn’t do it. It took us ages. We couldn’t do the scene, because we’d get halfway through or a quarter-way through, and we’d just fall about laughing at each other.

“That is an abiding memory that will live with me forever, because it was so silly and so funny, and it reminds me of how much fun we had working together,” he told

David Jason speaks out on Only Fools and Horses filming difficulties
David Jason speaks out on Only Fools and Horses filming difficulties: ‘We couldn’t do it!’ (Image: BBC/GETTY)

When the episode originally aired on Christmas Day in 1996, over 21.3 million viewers tuned in to watch Del Boy and Rodney get up to their old tricks.

At the time, this was a record for the show, which might have got an advantage due to the lack of Freeview channels available.

The iconic scene was recreated as part of the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympic games which was shown to a global audience.

With such a fandom, Nicholas and David addressed whether there would be any chance of some new episodes arriving on-screen any time in the future.

David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst
David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst dressed as Batman and Robin for the 1996 Christmas episode (Image: BBC/PA)

Scriptwriter John Sullivan passed away in 2011 and as a result, Nicholas has said there is no chance the sitcom can be revitalised.

“We can’t do Fools and Horses again as the writers are not there. It will never happen. It ended on a high.”

David added: “When we did Fools and Horses we just had a writer who just wrote and that was his craft and he handed it onto us.

“We were very fortunate that we were doing a TV show that was written by such a talented man. Now everybody wants instant success, an instant winner and you can’t have an instant winner,” he told The Daily Mirror.

There was a reunion planned, Boycie star John Challis, 78, revealed but never came to fruition after John’s passing.

“Just before John ԁıеԁ he was actually getting together a special for us,” The Green Green Grass actor told the Daily Star.

“It was going to be Del Boy’s 65th birthday – for which everyone would meet at The Nag’s Head – and retirement.

“Everyone was going to be part of that but unfortunately John got ill and never recovered, so it never happened.”

Both David and Nicholas featured in a one-off special as their characters in 2014, starring alongside professional footballer, David Beckham, 45.

The short episode was filmed as part of a Sport Relief sketch, bringing an end to the show’s 11-year hiatus.

Once Only Fools and Horses came to an end, David Jason was reinstated in the role of Granville for a modern take on sitcom Classic Open All Hours.

After a seven-year run on the BBC, the future of Still Open All Hours is up in the air but no new episodes will air this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.


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