Only Fools and Horses

How Only Fools and Horses legend David Jason was only 25 years younger than actor who played Grandad

The ages of the Trotter family may surprise you!

Only Fools and Horses burst onto television screens nearly 40 years ago and has remained at the centre of British comedy ever since.

The BBC sitcom follows the wheeling-dealing Trotter family and their quest to become millionaires and the trials and tribulations of living on a council estate in Peckham, South London.

The first episode, Big Brother, aired in 1981, and viewers were introduced to Del Boy, younger brother Rodney and their Grandad.

The character of Grandad was made to look much older than Del but the actors themselves were closer in age than you might imagine.

Lennard Pearce, who played Grandad, would have had his 106th birthday today (Tuesday, February 8), while David Jason is 81.

But how old were Del Boy and Grandad in the show?

During the debut episode, Rodney, played by Nicholas Lyndhurst, clearly states to Del Boy that he is 23 years old.

We needed our top Only Fools and Horses knowledge to work out how old the characters of Del Boy and Grandad were in the show
We needed our top Only Fools and Horses knowledge to work out how old the characters of Del Boy and Grandad were (Image: BBC)

Del’s age was never clearly mentioned so let’s look at some indicators of when he was born.

During the Sleepless in Peckham episode, Rodney shows his wife Cassandra a photo of the Jolly Boys’ Outing taken in 1960, he states that Del Boy was 15-years-old.

This suggests Del was born in 1945 and would therefore be 36-years-old in 1981 when the show first aired, in real-life actor David Jason was 41-years-old.

The age of Grandad was also never confirmed on-screen.

In The Russians Are Coming episode, broadcast in October 1981, Grandad says he saw soldiers going to the First World War in 1914 and then returning home at King’s Cross Station in 1918.

Grandad said: “I remember when I was a little nipper and I saw the soldiers marching off to battle. Oh yes, it was a glorious sight alright.”

Speaking about his brother, Grandad continues: “I was at King’s Cross Station when his regiment came home after the armistice. Most of them were carried off the train.”

The Armistice was the ceasefire that ended hostilities between the Allies and Germany on November 11, 1918 so Grandad would have been around 10-years-old, to remember the soldiers going to and coming from war.

So, during series one of Only Fools in 1981, Grandad would have been in his early to mid-70s, possibly 74-years-old.

In real-life, Pearce was actually only 66-years-old and only 25-years-older than Jason at the time.

Lennard Pearce died from a heart attack in 1984, aged just 69 (Image: BBC)

Although on-screen the age difference between Del Boy and Grandad could be around 38 years.

Pearce played Grandad Trotter between 1981–1984 and was styled to look older with moth-eaten clothes, an unshaven look teamed with a rag for a scarf, and an old Trilby hat.

Sadly, Pearce died from a heart attack in December 1984 aged 69.

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