Only Fools and Horses

LOVELY JUBBLY! Only Fools and Horses stars look unrecognisable 30 years on from beloved comedy

ONLY Fools and Horses stars Tessa Peake-Jones and Gwyneth Strong look unrecognisable 30 years on from the hit comedy's launch.

The actors look worlds away from the characters they portrayed all the way back in the 80s and 90s.

Clockwise from top left: Only Fools and Horses' Del (David Jason), Raquel (Tessa Peake-Jones), Cassandra (Gwyneth Strong) and Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst) in 2003

Clockwise from top left: Only Fools and Horses’ Del (David Jason), Raquel (Tessa Peake-Jones), Cassandra (Gwyneth Strong) and Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst) in 2003Credit: BBC
Tessa Peake-Jones played Del Boy's partner Raquel

Tessa Peake-Jones played Del Boy’s partner Raquel
Gwyneth Strong starred as Rodney's wife Cassandra

Gwyneth Strong starred as Rodney’s wife Cassandra

Tessa and Gwyneth showed off their updated looks when they previously appeared on ITV’s Loose Women for a reunion.

Only Fools and Horses, about wheeler-dealer market traders the Trotters and their pals in Peckham, South East London, was first broadcast on September 8, 1981, and ran for 64 episodes until 2003.

The characters of Raquel and Cassandra were brought in after concerns the show, which was almost entirely about three men, was becoming too “blokey”.

They were so well-received by viewers that they lasted the entire rest of the run, until the curtain finally came down in 2003.Tessa played Del Boy’s lover and partner from 1988 after originally only being signed up for one episode – Dates – but her chemistry with David Jason saw bosses decide to bring her back in a permanent role.

Gwyneth starred as Rodney’s wife Cassandra, and said she formed a friendship with Tessa despite them rarely sharing any scenes.

She told the panel: “We were never really alone together because that wasn’t the push of the storyline really, we were their partners.”

Meanwhile, Tessa has continued to act, appearing in Doctors, Holby City and Grantchester.

During its long run Only Fools attracted fans from all walks of life including the Royal Family, and it still holds the record for the most-watched comedy ever after 24.3million people tuned in to watch stars Del and Rodney finally become millionaires.

Nicholas Lyndhurst was first to be cast, as dopey Rodney. He was just 19.

The inspiration for the character came from writer John Sullivan himself.

He said: “I was a dreamer and an idealist, just like Rodders.”

Casting the crucial role of Del wasn’t easy.

The first two actors wanted for the part – Jim Broadbent, then Enn Reitel – were each too busy.

Robin Nedwell from Doctor In The House, and The Bill’s Billy Murray, were also considered.

Producer Ray Butt wanted David Jason, then starring in Open All Hours, to get the job, but he faced opposition from BBC bosses and John, who wasn’t sure he was right for the role.

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