For many it was the show that defined a golden generation of British comedy, with classic lines still remembered, iconic scenes still discussed on TV countdowns and seemingly endless repeats aired across a variety of channels.
It is of course Only Fools And Horses, the show that immortalized David Jason as loveable South London “fly” trader Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter and helped launch the career of relative unknown Nicholas Lyndhurst as his hapless brother, Rodney.
While the show signed off some 18-years ago, hundreds of never-before-seen photos have been unearthed and made available for public viewing by the BBC.
Hang-gliding issues: David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst, as Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter and his brother Rodney, are seen sitting together on director chairs with their characters’ names on the back. The pair are sat together at Butser Hills, Hampshire, during filming for the fifth series of Only Fools And Horses in 1986. The site was used for filming of the episode Tea for Three in which Del Boy is tricked into flying a hang-glider by Rodney
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of its fist ever episode on September 8th 1981, the long-forgotten negatives – all of them featuring the principal cast on set – have been brought to life with the aid of digital technology.
The black and white images include an assortment of much loved cast-members, among them Patrick Murray as Mickey Pearce, John Challis as wheeler-dealer car salesman Boycie, the late Buster Merryfield as Uncle Albert and the late Roger Lloyd-Pack as dimwitted Trigger.
While the show was ostensibly set in Peckham, the images include scenes at Butser Hill, near Petersfield in Hampshire, Studland Beach in Dorset and Margate in Kent.
Numerous locations were also used to film exterior shots of the fictional Nelson Mandela House – the looming tower block that houses the Trotter family flat.
Harlech Tower in Acton, west London was originally used for the show’s opening credits, before producers selected Whitemead House in Bristol from 1988 onwards.
The original trio: Lyndhurst, Jason and Lennard Pearce – who played the character of Grandad – stand together in character in front of a double-decker bus in London in 1981. The stars were in the middle of filming for series one episode five, titled A Slow Bus to Chingford, in which Del Boy ropes in Rodney and Grandad to turn Trotter Watch Security and Trotter’s Ethnic Tours into successful businesses
Newly released: A shocked-looking Nicholas Lyndhurst sits alongside Patrick Murray’s Mickey Pearce in the Nag’s Head pub during filming for series three episode five, May The Force Be With You in 1983. Although exterior shots of the pub were filmed in South Ruislip, the majority of scenes shot inside the pub were filmed in Bristol. In the episode, the Trotters are arrested by DCI Roy Slater in connection with a stolen microwave
What a plonker! Nicholas Lyndhurst poses alongside his co-star Buster Merryfield, who plays Uncle Albert in the show, inside the legendary three-wheeled Trotter van. The shot was taken during filming for series six of the sitcom in 1989 and captures a casual behind-the-scenes moment between the two sitcom stars
Of the new collection, Robert Seatter, Head of BBC History, said: ‘This cache of new photos reveals the genuine joyful camaraderie at the heart of one of the nation’s best loved sitcoms.
‘Fans will love seeing the on set antics of the leading actors, as well as the paraphernalia of broadcasting on location of ever popular episodes.’
Luke O’Shea, Archive Collections Manager, added: ‘These unique photographs show filming on location, set design and the cast and crew from the first episode to the last. It is brilliant to share these fantastic memories with the audience.
‘To the best of our knowledge, these images have not been released or viewed previously and have now been fully restored for the enjoyment of fans of the show and of photography. It is an honour to be the custodian of these images and to curate a collection that brings joy to the viewers.’
Good times: David Jason as Del Boy and Nicholas Lyndhurst as Rodney Trotter are seen larking around with Lennard Pearce, who plays Grandad, while on the set of It Never Rains in 1982. The two stars are making the most of their time at the seaside as they hoist Lennard up in the air at Studland beach in Dorset. In the episode, Del, Rodney and Grandad go on holiday to Spain before Grandad is arrested for jaywalking
Here we go: This shot, captured during filming for the 1993 Christmas special episode of Only Fools And Horses sees Del Boy spending time in a casino alongside his younger brother Rodney. The scene, which was filmed in Bristol, featured in the episode Fatal Extraction, which saw Dely Boy’s partner Raquel temporarily leave him after he picks up his gambling habit again, while Rodney and Cassandra are trying to have a baby
Slow off the mark: The late great Roger Lloyd-Pack, who tragically passed away in 2014, is seen dressed in character as Trigger for the 1988 Christmas special episode, Dates. Wearing a pirates hat on his head, the actor beams for the camera while stood inside the set of the Nag’s Head, which was located in Bristol. The episode sees Del Boy meet his future wife Raquel for the first time through a dating agency – and she is working as a struggling actress and stripper
Here’s Rodney! In a picture taken during filming for the very first series of Only Fools And Horses in 1981, Nicholas Lyndhurst is seen standing in front of the infamous block of flats that the Trotters lived in throughout the duration of the sitcom. The iconic tower block was filmed in London for series one to five, before moving to Bristol from series six onwards
Hugely popular: David Jason, dressed in a classic Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter outfit stands on the set of Only Fools And Horses during filming for series four episode 4, titled It’s Only Rock and Roll. In the episode, Rodney decides to take up a role with an aspiring rock band. Del Boy decides to become the manager of the band and books them a gig at a location called The Shamrock Club
Festive episode: One of the newly released images show David Jason, as Del Boy, standing alongside TV personality Jonathan Ross during filming for the 2001 Christmas special episode, If They Could See Us Now. In the episode, Derek and Rodney lose the fortunes they had earned in the previous series after their investments turned bad. In a bid to regain their lost wealth, Derek participates in a gameshow called Goldrush. At the end of the episode, a tribute was aired to Buster Merryfield, who played Uncle Albert and to Kenneth MacDonald, who played the landlord of the Nag’s Head Mike
Set in South East London, Only Fools and Horses first broadcast on BBC One on 8th September 1981 with the episode Big Brother.
The series received numerous awards, including recognition from BAFTA, the National Television Awards and the Royal Television Society, as well as individual accolades for both David and Nicholas.
The programme ran for seven series and 16 Christmas specials until 2003, with the final episode of series seven attracting a record audience for a British sitcom of 24.3m viewers that still stands today.
Characters: A whole host of legendary Only Fools And Horses characters appear in this photo. John Challis, who played Boycie, David Jason, Kenneth MacDonald, Roger Lloyd-Pack and Nicholas Lyndhurst are all seen standing next to each other out on the street during filming for series six episode three, Chain Gang. The episode, which aired in 1989, saw Del Boy put together a consortium to buy a set of 18 carat gold chains from a retired jeweller
Iconic: The cafe set used in Only Fools and Horses 1982-1986 is one of the never-before-scene photos. Known on the show as Sid’s Café, scenes filmed on this set were recorded in Ealing, West London. It first appeared in Only Fools And Horses on October 21, 1982 in the episode The Long Legs Of the Law
Behind-the-scenes: The empty set for Boyce Autos, the car dealership run by Boycie, taken in 1991. The set featured regularly throughout the show’s duration, with the set being found in the regular filming location of Bristol
Steady on: John Challis, who played Boycie, David Jason, Kenneth MacDonald, Roger Lloyd-Pack and Nicholas Lyndhurst take part in a raucous scene from series six episode three, called Chain Gang. The group of characters are seen running away from an unseen threat and attempting to open the back of the three-wheeled van, in London, in 1989
Old times: In a picture taken during filming for the very first series of Only Fools And Horses in 1981, Lennard Pearce is seen standing in front of the infamous block of flats that the Trotters lived in throughout the duration of the sitcom – which was originally filmed in London, before being moved to Bristol. He passed away in 1984 following a heart attack at the age of 69
Leggit! Del Boy leads the way as the Trotters do a runner in an unseen still from the Christmas 2001 special If They Could See Us Now. Closely following behind, Raquel, Cassandra and Rodney can all be seen following Derek’s lead as the flee from the Hotel de Paris – the scene was shot in Monte Carlo. In the episode, the characters lose their wealth as a result of a stock market crash and are forced to flee the glamorous hotel when they can no longer pay their bill
Quiet on set! David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst are seen standing together in smart tuxedos, while dressed in character. The scene comes from the 2001 Christmas Special when the pair lose the fortune they earned, from the sale of what they thought was an antique egg timer, after a stock market crash. The glamorous episode, which saw the pair showing off their wealth was filmed in Monte Carlo
All at sea: Lennard Pearce, as Grandad, doesn’t look happy while filming a coastal scene for season two episode six, It Never Rains, for the BBC show in 1982. With his shoes off, Lennard appears to be in a poor mood as he walks across the sand at Studland beach in Dorset. During the episode, his character is arrested for jaywalking and dreams up an elaborate lie to try and deceive Del Boy and Rodney about why he was arrested
Showing off his moves: This picture, taken during the early days of Only Fools and Horses in 1981, shows Derek Trotter larking around in the Trotter family’s flat. The scene comes from series one episode four, The Second Time Around, in which one of Del Boy’s old flames re-enters his life and they decide to rekindle their relationship – but Rodney and Grandad have their doubts
Del Boy’s hilarious ‘Play it cool’ scene, which ends with him falling through an open bar, has previously been voted the greatest Only Fools and Horses moment of all time.
The scene was named a fan favourite ahead by Radio Times readers, beating other legendary moments from the show – including Del and Rodney inadvertently deterring would be robbers as they race to a Christmas party on foot, dressed as Batman and Robin.
David Jason, who played wheeler dealer Derek Trotter, told how he was delighted by the findings of the RadioTimes.com poll.
He said: ‘I am thrilled the falling through the bar scene has given so much pleasure over the years. I feel very fortunate to have been involved with such an iconic show.
‘It started with the great John Sullivan for the fantastic scripts and the chemistry of the cast which brought it all to life. So many laughs over so many years.’
True love: Del Boy’s relationship with former stripper Raquel, played by Tessa Peake-Jones, became a recurring storyline throughout the duration of Only Fools And Horses. This image, taken in 1990, came from the series six Christmas special called Rodney Come Home. In this picture, Del Boy and his wife Raquel are enjoying a romantic dinner at home with each other. Elsewhere in the episode, Rodney and Cassandra’s marriage is in trouble, with Rodney leaving his home with Cassandra and going on a date with another woman
Side by side: Kenneth MacDonald as Mike and Roger Lloyd-Pack as Trigger take a break from filming series six episode seven, Jolly Boys Outing. Kenneth holds up a hand waving hello to the camera, while Roger smiles for the picture, taken in 1989. The special episode saw Del Boy, Rodney and Uncle Albert take their friends from Peckham on a trip to Margate
Lads lads lads: In another shot taken of Del Boy, Rodney, Boycie, Mike and Trigger in series six episode three, Chain Gang, the group are seen staring intently down the road. The image was taken in 1989 in Ealing, London
Farewell Grandad: Nicholas Lyndhurst, David Jason and Lennard Pearce film a scene together for the 1983 episode Homesick. The episode, from series three of Only Fools And Horses, focuses on Rodney becoming chairman of the local Tenants Association, with Del Boy hoping to use the new-found influence to secure a move for the family to a bungalow. The picture was taken during a scene in which Grandad has been left bedbound after collapsing on the floor
Cheeky chappies: David Jason as Del Boy Trotter visits the home of Boycie, played by John Challis, and his wife Marlenes, played by Sue Holderness
And that’s a wrap! The behind-the-scenes images gave fans a look at what went on when the cameras weren’t rolling
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