Only Fools and Horses

Only Fools and Horses: How one clever trick saved the classic sex dolls episode from being axed

The sitcom's creator, John Sullivan, thought the episode may be censored so kept the details 'hush hush' before a simple change to custom gave the go ahead

Throughout the Only Fools and Horses series, there are so many unforgettable moments, like when Del Boy (David Jason) fell through the bar, or when the chandelier dropped from the ceiling all thanks to Grandad’s (Lennard Pearce) very expensive blunder.

Fans of the BBC sitcom will also remember the iconic moment when two blow-up sex dolls inflated and led Del Boy, Rodney, and Uncle Albert (Buster Merryfield) to leave the room in a panic. In the 1989 episode Danger UXD, Del Boy tries to sell blow-up sex dolls without realising they were filled with toxic gas.

However, the show’s creator, John Sullivan, had to keep details of the episode under wraps from BBC bosses over fears it would be pulled due to censoring. Thankfully, one detail of the episode was changed and the episode went ahead.

The Trotters with one of the blow-up sex dolls during the classic Danger UXD episode of Only Fools and Horses (Image: BBC)

The costume department stepped in to make the dolls more family-friendly after realising they did not look suitable for pre-watershed viewing. Speaking during the Channel 5 documentary We Love Only Fools And Horses in 2020, Art director Alison Rickman said: “That whole episode was kept hush-hush because they were very frightened of being censored and then being told they couldn’t do it.

“Most blow-up dolls have an open mouth. But we couldn’t show that, so somebody altered the faces to make them more suitable for television because we knew we wouldn’t be able to broadcast it, and we wanted to do the gag which involved the dolls and them being inflated. That was an important part of the whole story.“

During the episode, Del Boy tries to keep up with his yuppie image and invests in a number of hooky goods, including dodgy video recorders to earn some quick cash.

Del’s mate Denzil (Paul Barber) has also launched his own self-employed business as a lorry driver and is lumbered with a load of dolls from a factory that has gone up in flames, and Del takes them off his hands.

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