Only Fools and Horses

Only Fools and Horses: Uncle Albert star’s ‘stage fright’ and fears he’d get kicked off the show

Audiences at home probably never knew this about Uncle Albert

Uncle Albert is remembered incredibly fondly by Only Fools and Horses fans. The long lost brother of Edward ‘Grandad’ Trotter, and great uncle of Del Boy and Rodney, became a staple of the sitcom for a major chunk of its lifespan. He was introduced to the show in 1985, at his brother’s funeral, and stayed right through until 1996.

The late, great Buster Merryfield is held dear in the hearts of Only Fools fans. His portrayal of the gormless Uncle Albert, great uncle to Sir David Jason’s Del Boy and Nicholas Lyndhurst’s Rodney, has gone down as one of the best and funniest performances in British comedy history.

In fact, Buster played the sly old sea dog Albert so well that Only Fools viewers could have never guessed the incredible stage fright the actor suffered with in the early days of his tenure. According to IMDb, Buster “had limited television experience before being cast as Uncle Albert, and as a result, he was very nervy in his early days on the show.”

Among a goldmine of Only Fools trivia, the TV and film website describes how Buster, inexperienced and gripped with nerves, used to “crash” into the TV audience; in other words he used to try to plough on with his lines before he had let them finish laughing. Buster would also “dry up and lose his words” on set.

According to reports, numerous scenes had to be re-recorded in Buster’s early acting days after he fluffed them, and it really “got to him.” The actor became really worried that he wouldn’t last on the show.

Luckily for Buster, David and Nicholas weren’t just his pals on-screen, and they stepped in to save the day. The actors reportedly sat Buster down for a talk and assured him that if he – or any of them – made mistakes mid-shoot, they would simply blame someone else and make a big joke out of it, helping the audience to relax and feel more involved.

This is thought to have been the turning point for Buster, who overcame his fears, relaxed into the show, and went on to become everyone’s favourite Uncle Albert. The 1996 episode of Only Fools, ‘Time on our hands’, was Buster Merryfield’s last run as Uncle Albert, and he died three years later, in June 1999, before the final three episodes of the show were made.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

Back to top button