Only Fools and Horses

Only Fools and Horses legend who forgot his lines on first day on the set

Only Fools and Horses has gone down in the annals of comedy history having first aired in 1981.

The original cast as many of you will know had David Jason as wheeler-dealer Del Boy, Nicholas Lyndhurst as dopey younger brother Rodney and the late Lennard Pearce as Grandad.

Other characters formed part of the original fray including Trigger and Boycie until the cast was expanded later down the years.

There was one actor though who got the absolute jitters when he first stepped onto the show.

Buster had huge admiration for David and Nicholas (Image: BBC)

Buster Merryfield made it onto the set as Uncle Albert in 1985 as a replacement for Lennard Pearce’s Grandad who sadly died.

Buster or Harry as his real name was, was not a big time actor before Only Fools.

His youth was filled with different roles and activities, as a child boxing prodigy in the 1930s being named British Schools Champion in 1936.

He would then be conscripted into the army where he rose to the rank of jungle warfare instructor.

Buster worked as a bank manager for 40 years until his breakthrough role in Only Fools. (Image: Daily Mirror)

Buster worked as a bank manager for 40 years until his breakthrough role in Only Fools.

In this time, Buster was a keen amateur actor and won many small awards for acting and directing.

In an interview with the BBC, Buster revealed his nerves before filming for his first episode – Strained Relations in 1985.

Hearing Buster’s real eloquent voice is a far cry from Uncle Albert’s seafaring vocals.

“I left the bank and went into showbusiness, and I went on for about five years before I got my break in television,” he said.

“Whilst in pantomime at Windsor I got the call to ring the BBC to be in Only Fools and Horses.”

Naturally, this was a huge moment for Buster.

“David and Nicholas are two of the most experienced television actors and to be thrown in the deep end with them I was terribly nervous,” he explained. “In the first recording, I recall, I forgot my lines.”

Buster remembers how he was pacing backstage saying to himself how he had ‘blown it’ – the opportunity of a lifetime.

But there was one man who comforted him straight away and put his mind at ease.

He said: “David Jason, he knew that it had upset me forgetting the line and do you know the very next line… he forgot.

“The audience was laughing at him but he just turned around and said to them ‘I don’t know what you’re laughing at, you got in here for nothing, keep quiet.’

“I know in my heart he did that deliberately to bring me a bit of comfort and that says a lot about David.”

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