Only Fools and Horses

Group of friends cause storm as the Welsh Trotters

Matthew Colwill, 41, first dressed up as Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses for a day out with his friends but it has turned out much more

A group of friends are causing a sensation dressing up as the cast of the legendary comedy sitcom, Only Fools and Horses. Matthew Colwill, 41, first decided to dress up as the iconic character Del Boy, famously played by David Jason, for a day out with his friends.

But a video showing him and his friend James Taylor, who was dressed up as the character Rodney, in July became a social media hit. Since then, the two friends have joined two other character impersonators for the show to create The Welsh Trotters.

The group’s success has been growing from strength-to-strength, far more than Matthew Colwill could have ever imagined. Speaking to WalesOnline, the Del Boy lookalike explained what the BBC comedy show meant to him.

“I love Only Fools and Horses,” said Matthew, who is from Caerphilly. “I’ve been a fan of it ever since I was a kid. I just like the comedy, the hustle and the characters.

“I can’t choose a particular episode I like – I love them all, it would be hard to pick one. My favourite character has got to be Del Boy – I find him quite similar to me. We both live on a council estate, we both live in a flat, and we’ve both got a clapped-out vehicle. Our personalities are quite similar, he’s a bit of a chancer.”

In July, Matthew and his friends were planning a day out or a “jolly boys’ outing”, as they called it, to Weston-Super-Mare. The event was a nod to their favourite show’s Christmas special episode in which Del Boy and the gang go to Margate.

(Image: Richard Swingler)
(Image: Richard Swingler)

To make it extra special however, Matthew’s friend, Daniel Hackney, had asked him to dress up as Del Boy, while he asked another friend, James Taylor, to dress up as the market trader’s younger brother, Rodney.

Matthew explained: “I organised a jolly boys’ outing, I did, to Weston-Super-Mare at the end of July. Everyone gathered together and we got a coach to Weston. Before going, my friend Daniel Hackney asked me to dress up as Del Boy, other people were dressed up too. And I thought, yeah – might as well, I’ll give it a go.

“I had to go on Amazon, I ordered a red polo neck jumper, a sheep skin coat, then a flat cap and some jewellery. When I looked in the mirror, I thought I looked great – even my parents said that I looked like Del Boy.

“My friend, James Taylor, was then asked to dress up as Rodney. I’ve known him for about 30 years, and I didn’t think he was going to do it, but then he said: ‘yes, alright then!’. He dressed up as Rodney.”

On their way to the coach that would take them to Weston-Super-Mare, their friend Daniel took a video of the two, dressed in their outfits, crossing the road in Bedwas. The video has gone viral, and has garnered over three million views on social media.

“I wasn’t expecting that at all,” Matthew said. “I thought we’d get a few likes from friends and family, but it went into the millions! And then, when we got to Weston, everyone wanted a photo with us. It was unreal – I wasn’t expecting such a reaction, not at all. It added something special to our day out.”

But, the men’s stint as the two characters didn’t stop there. News got around about the two in the local community and they were invited to make an appearance as the characters for a special event at Bedwas Rugby Club. Little did the two know that other familiar characters for the show would be waiting for them.

(Image: Richard Swingler)
(Image: Richard Swingler)

“After that then, we were invited as our characters to the Bedwas Rugby Club,” Matthew explained. “They were hosting a charity fundraiser, raising money for a charity called LooseHeadz. So we thought we’d go there.

“But when we arrived, Phil Lewis was there dressed up as Uncle Albert was there – he’s an actual Uncle Albert impersonator. Then, my co-worker, John Tilley, came to the event dressed as Boycie.

“The good thing is, we are all musically talented, so we ended up performing the theme song in the end. After that, we got invited to perform at the Caerphilly Workmen’s Hall. We performed on stage again then, and that went down really well.”

By now, the four have formed a musical group called The Welsh Trotters, with Matthew as Del Boy, James Taylor as Rodney, Phil Lewis as Uncle Albert and John Tilley as Boycie. In various performances the band play the iconic theme song and other songs connected to the show.

Although the four look very much like their characters, Matthew explained that there was some Welsh twist to their persona. “I give it the Del Boy swagger, but my accent is so Welsh,” he said. “Our initial idea was to change the names and make them more Welsh, for example, rather than Del Boy, I was going to call myself Delwyn, Rodney would’ve been Rhodri, Uncle Albert would be Uncle Albert, and Boycie would be Max Boycie.”

(Image: Richard Swingler)

But according to Matthew, their main aim is to continue performing at various events and venues, with the hope of raising a few smiles and money for charity along the way. Matthew continued: “We have so much charity work we have done or are doing, and people are still booking us in. We just want to entertain people and raise money for charities.

“It makes me feel really good, making a difference in people’s lives – whether that is through a bit of joy or raising money, that’s the main thing. And for me personally, it has changed my life. Without sounding dramatic, I’m doing more stuff over the weekends and I’m meeting new people.

“I never thought I’d be in a band, but here we are. Who knows what will happen in the future? Perhaps this time next year we’ll be millionaires!”

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