Only Fools and Horses

Only Fools and Horses lost episode only shown in schools widely believed to be Grandad’s last appearance

Even the biggest Only Fools fans may never have seen the specially made educational episode

Only Fools and Horses ran for nine seasons and 64 episodes in total, racking up tens of millions of viewers and gaining an iconic status in the history of British television.

But along the way there were a number of special episodes not made for the actual series. These special episodes were made for adverts, awareness campaigns and even for charity.

But one particular ‘lost’ episode of the show, featuring of course Del Boy and Rodney, is widely believed to be the final ever appearance of Lennard Pearce as Grandad.

Only Fools fans will know that tragically in 1984 whilst season four of the show was in production, Lennard who had played the role of Grandad so well, sadly died of a heart attack at his home in Archway aged just 69.

Pearce had been suffering with his health even before starting work on Only Fools in 1981, and the death was devastating for the entire crew.

After his death all the episodes he had partially filmed for season three were recast with Uncle Albert, meaning the last episode he completed is an educational school special called ‘License to Drill’.

A scene from License To Drill as Del tells Grandad and Rodney about his new oil rig he's 'picking up tomorrow'
A scene from License To Drill as Del tells Grandad and Rodney about his new oil rig he’s ‘picking up tomorrow’ (Image: BBC)

Shown in schools from 1984 onwards, the episode has never been broadcast and features its very own theme song written by John Sullivan himself.

The episode features Del, Rodders, and Grandad and opens with the three sat in the flat, Del reading a magazine about oil and reeling off all the products which couldn’t exist without it.

Del then insists they all watch a documentary on TV about an offshore oil rig, before insisting Rodney reads the magazine himself for ‘an important business meeting’ the next day.

By the time Rodney wakes up the next morning Del has already tied up a dodgy deal with a shady character who has sold him an oil rig for £400 to drill for their own oil.

However, when Del hears oil rigs are hundreds of miles rather than yards offshore he realises he’s been duped, or in Rodney’s words: “He’s done you up like a kipper”.

Del attempts to give chase only to find their famous Reliant Regal Supervan III is out of petrol, instead turning to throttle Rodney as the credits roll.

Whilst the episode is an educational one, it still keeps the humour and it definitely has an extra level of emotional impact given its the last time we see Grandad before Lennard Pearce’s tragic passing.

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