Only Fools and Horses was famous for its Christmas Special episodes, with some of the most iconic scenes in the sitcom’s 22 year run, from Heroes and Villains to Miami Twice and even the show’s very last episode all coming as part of the highly anticipated festive instalments.
Not all of the Christmas specials are as memorable as those famous Batman and Robin scenes though, and even the most dedicated Only Fools fans may struggle to remember one particular edition, which clocked in at just eight minutes long in 1982.
The official Christmas special that year was named Diamonds are for Heather, and aired on December 30, the storyline following a lonely Del as his romance with a single mother named Heather blossoms. Sadly for him though the episode ends in heartbreak as his feelings for her go unrequited, and his marriage proposal is rejected as Heather goes back to her estranged husband in Southampton.
The episode is a strong one, but what many may fans may not realise, is that it was actually the second Only Fools festive special to air that year, as three days earlier on December 27, Grandad, Del and Rodney had all appeared in an eight minute sketch on variety show The Funny Side of Christmas, hosted by comedy writer Frank Muir.
The show featured sketches from 10 different and much loved BBC comedies, the at the time fairly new Only Fools and Horses making it onto the bill with a sketch written by John Sullivan titled Christmas Trees. In classic Only Fools fashion, the scenes depict Del Boy trying to make a quick score, this time by flogging 149 telescopic Christmas trees at the market.
Describing them as “containing all the traditional yuletide values plus 21st century technology,” allowing them to ‘fold down’ like a telescope for easy packing. Unfortunately he doesn’t attract much interest from shoppers though.
After selling just one though, Del decides to try and shift them faster by getting faking an endorsement from the Church of England when Rodney donates one to the local church. This leads to the brothers falling out as Rodney accuses Del of being a “dirty little mercenary” with “no ethics”.