Only Fools and Horses

The Only Fools and Horses star who only appeared in one episode despite being a Carry On films legend

She was also proposed to by her co-star Kenneth Williams

Only Fools and Horses had one of the best supporting casts of any British sitcom, with many going on to have excellent careers in all sorts of film and television, one of the most notable being Academy Award winner Jim Broadbent, who played Roy Slater.

There were also stars who joined the cast at the tail end of their careers though, having already cemented their names as bona fide film stars in a bygone era of cinema, and one of these was Joan Sims, who appeared in the 1987 Christmas episode The Frog’s Legacy.

In it she plays Trigger’s aunt Reenie Turpin. She tells a wide-eyed Del about a gangster called Freddie “The Frog” Robdal who once had an affair with Del’s late mum back in the 1960s. It turns out Robdal and his gang had broken into a London bank and stolen gold worth £250,000 and Freddie had got away with it and stashed it somewhere.

Joan appeared in 24 Carry On films in total (Image: Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

This sets Del off on a quest to find the gold, and discover more about this mysterious man who was so close to his mother, later discovering that the affair had resulted in an illegitimate child who Rodney begins to suspect might be him.

The epic episode needed a strong set up and an actor of Joan Sims’ calibre was the perfect choice. Joan had made her name in the Carry On era of films in the 1960s where she cemented herself as a household name, appearing in Carry On Admiral in 1957, as well as Carry On Cleo and Carry On Teacher to name just a few of the 24 she starred in.

Despite her professional successes though, Joan’s personal life was beset by disappointment and tragedy. She was shy by nature and had strict parents who disapproved of her relationships leading to a lonely life.

Joan with fellow Carry On star Kenneth Williams (bottom) who proposed a marriage of convenience with her (Image: Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

In her 2000 autobiography she explained: “I was always useless at flirting, and simply did not know what needed to be done in order to snare my target… I always ended up resorting to jokes, and most men don’t like funny women. They like to do the jokes.”

A three year relationship to fellow actor Tony Baird eventually fell apart, and at one point she was even offered a marriage of convenience by another Carry On actor, Kenneth Williams, believing Joan needed some form of companionship.

Later in life Joan fell into the clutches of alcoholism and depression and would tragically die in Chelsea in 2001 aged just 71.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button