Only Fools and Horses has given us a lot of laughs over the years. But it’s safe to say none of us have ever been kicked out of work (we hope) because of just how funny we found it.
But that is the case for one unlucky cameraman who just couldn’t help himself. Star of the show Sir David Jason once revealed the episode that was so funny the cameraman had to be replaced because he was laughing so much. It all happened during the filming of the 1982 episode ‘Ashes to Ashes’.
The Trotters intended to scatter the ashes of Trigger’s (Roger Lloyd Pack) grandfather in the River Thames but they faced a few mishaps along the way, including a street cleaning lorry sweeping up the urn on the side of the road. When they gang realise they chase after the truck with Rodney shouting to the driver: “You’ve just sucked up our urn.” The lorry driver apologetically responded: “Oh my God, what was he? A kitten?”
Sir David revealed that one of the cameramen was in hysterics and “couldn’t control himself”, he “would get the shakes” as he tried to hide his laughing. He recalled how they had to haul out the cameraman and replace for the shot. Sir David joked they would still be filming the shot “even now” if they hadn’t had someone else come in to finish filming the shot.
Despite airing 25 years ago, Only Fools and Horses remains the one of the nation’s favourite TV shows. A recent poll by The Sun revealed that viewers voted the Christmas special, ‘Heroes and Villains’, as the nation’s favourite TV show to watch over the festive period.
Whilst popular, the episode faced some drama ahead of its release. Sir David revealed that the episode was at the centre of a clash between the BBC’s publicity and press department when it was suggested a trailer could be released to give viewers a teaser of what to expect.
In the episode sees Del Boy and Rodney dressed as Batman and Robin when they believe they are going to a fancy dress competition with a £1,000 speaker system as a prize. However, they soon realise they’ve made a mistake when they arrive as the only ones in costume. It turns out the organiser died and the event is now a wake.
Sir David revealed in his memoir, ‘A Del Of A Life’, that he felt showing the pair dressed up in the trailer would have ruined the episode as it would have “shredded all that careful build up”. “Even a glimpse of Del or Rodney in those stupid costumes before the episode was broadcast, indeed at any moment…would have been ruinous,” he wrote.
Luckily the stars’ notoriety meant they were able to make the strict demand to the BBC that “nothing showing Del and Rodney in those outfits” could be leaked. The show first aired in 1981 and over the course of 22 years released 64 episodes, you can watch it all on BBC iPlayer.