Only Fools and Horses is now officially 40 years old!
The legendary BBC sitcom, created and written by John Sullivan, burst onto our television screens on September 8, 1981, and the nation has been laughing along with the Trotter family and their friends ever since.
The debut episode called Big Brother introduced Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter (David Jason), his younger brother Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst), their scruffy Grandad (Lennard Pearce), and their long-term pal Trigger (Roger Lloyd Pack).
Through to the final episode in 2003 the sitcom has remained one of Britain’s most-loved TV shows as we continue to watch the hilarious episodes to this very day.
So, four decades on from when the BBC sitcom was the first broadcast, let’s see what the regular characters are up to now.
Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter – David Jason
Sir David Jason is a British television icon and undoubtedly one of the best actors of his generation.
Originally from Edmonton in North London, Sir David has continued to reign a very successful career in showbiz since he first appeared as wheeler-dealer Del Boy.
For decades he’s entertained the nation in a number of other television roles including Pop Larkin in The Darling Buds of May, Granville in Open All Hours, Blanco in Porridge, and Jack Frost in A Touch of Frost.
Now 81-years-old David continues to appear in TV shows and documentaries and has a number of books including A Del of A Life: Lessons I’ve Learned which was released in October 2020.
He’s also has amassed more than £2.3million in the last two years alone, thanks to his non-stop work schedule, reports The Mirror.
In July, David reprised his role as Del Boy to send a good luck message to the England football team ahead of their Euro 2020 final against Italy.
He even dressed up in his famous flat cap and leather jacket once again, au contraire!
Rodney Trotter – Nicholas Lyndhurst
Rodney Trotter was Del Boy’s younger brother who was often referred to as a plonker and squirmed at Del’s over-the-top money-making ideas.
Like Sir David, actor Nicholas has also continued to star in other television series since his days in Only Fools – and well before as he started his acting career as a child.
The 60-year-old, from Emsworth, played time traveler Gary Sparrow in Goodnight Sweetheart, Dan Griffin in New Tricks, Dr. Graham Moss in Thin Ice, and Uriah Heep in David Copperfireld – plus many more.
He also, of course, portrayed Rodney’s own father Freddie Robdal in the Only Fools and Horses prequel, Rock & Chips, back in 2010.
His last TV appearance was as Johnny in So Awkward in 2019.
Nicholas and his wife Lucy have been left heartbroken after their 19-year-old son Archie died from a brain haemorrhage in September 2020.
Grandad Trotter – Lennard Pearce
Grandad was the first person to ever speak on Only Fools and Horses.
He’s also famed for wanting an ‘Emperor burger’ rather than a cheeseburger, and although he wasn’t exactly the smartest card in the deck Grandad was very crafty and quite the comedian.
Ted Trotter aka Grandad was one of the original characters and starred in the first three series of Only Fools.
At the age of just 69, wonderful actor Lennard died unexpectedly following a heart attack in 1984.
The cast and crew were left devastated by Lennard’s death and filming had already kicked off for the Hole in One episode.
He was consequently written out of the BBC sitcom and Uncle Albert was introduced as his replacement. Grandad and Uncle Albert were estranged brothers.
Trigger – Roger Lloyd Pack
Trigger referring to Rodney Trotter as ‘Dave’ is an ongoing joke that is still funny to this day!
Devoted road sweeper Colin Ball, better known as Trigger, was a petty criminal who had a warm heart and slow sense of humour – ‘Why ask!’.
Roger Lloyd Pack played Trigger from the very first episode of the show right up until the last.
Comedy fans will know he then played Owen Newitt in the iconic comedy series the Vicar of Dibley between 1994 to 2007.
He also hit the big screen appearing as Barty Crouch in Harry Potter’s Goblet of Fire in 2005.
TV treasure Roger, the father of actress Emily Lloyd, sadly died in 2014, at the age of 69, following a battle with cancer.
Boycie – John Challis
Boycie has one of the most infectious and identifiable laughs ever heard on British TV.
He is a self-certified yuppy and thought of himself as a cut above the rest of his Peckham pals, yet carried around an air of humour.
John Challis, 79, played Boycie from the second episode of Only Fools until the last.
Boycie and wife Marlene (Sue Holderness) also had their own spin-off series The Green Green Grass in which they fled to avoid the Driscoll brothers.
John has had a very successful career in television and has appeared in a long list of shows including The Bill, The Sweeney, Dixon of Dock Green, Coronation Street, My Family and so many more.
Between 2015 and 2018, John played Monty Staines in the hit sitcom Benidorm where his famous saying included: “Chips and rice for us tonight, chips and rice!”.
He’s also starred in the documentary Boycie in Belgrade which sees the actor travel to the Serbian capital to discover why Only Fools and Horses is so popular abroad.
Cassandra Trotter – Gwyneth Strong
Cassandra stole the heart of Rodney Trotter whilst they studied at evening school and the pair went on to get married and have baby daughter Joan.
Gwyneth Strong played Cassandra from 1988 through to the last episode in 2003.
Since appearing in the show, Gwyneth Strong, now 61, hasn’t been short of television work and has appeared in loads of shows including A Touch of Frost, Casualty, New Tricks, EastEnders, Silent Witness, and more.
Raquel Turner – Tessa Peake-Jones
Raquel was first introduced during the Christmas special episode Dates, in 1988, where she told Del Boy she was an actress but was actually working as a stripper.
After a rocky start, Del and Raquel found love in each other during a reconciliation in The Jolly Boys’ Outing.
Raquel was played by Tessa Peake-Jones, who is now 63, and is still working in TV.
The mother-of-two has had a regular role in the ITV series Grantchester, as well as a recurring role in Holby City and Doctors.
She’s also starred in the drama series Unforgotten, Waking the Dead, Poirot, Marchlands, and more.
Marlene Boyce – Sue Holderness
Sue Holderness, 72, also appeared in The Green Green Grass spin-off reprising her role as Marlene Boyce alongside on-screen husband John Challis.
Originally from Hampstead, Sue has continued to act; with roles including Mrs. Rossi in Still Open All Hours and Gloria Davidson in Holby City.
This year, Sue played a cameo role in EastEnders as talent agent Estelle, which left fans of the BBC One soap hoping she’d be a regular character.
Uncle Albert – Buster Merryfield
Born in Battersea, Buster Merryfield served in the army and saw action in the Second World War.
He had been a bank manager and only took up acting when he retired from work.
Buster arrived in Peckham as Albert Gladstone Trotter, aka Uncle Albert, during the Strained Relations episode, following the death of Grandad.
Famously starting each tale with “during the war…” his overly dramatic stories are timeless, very dubious, and still funny.
Buster died aged 78, in 1999, from a brain tumour.
The character of Uncle Albert was written out of Only Fools during the If They Could See Us Now episode when Cassandra takes a phone call and is informed of his death.