Only Fools and Horses

Only Fools and Horses star nearly eaten by an alligator on set

"I nearly died of fear, in fact – I nearly died."

Only Fools and Horses is one of the most beloved shows in UK television history. However, the laughter was almost swapped out for horror when the cast was filming an episode in Florida, USA.

For the 1991 two-part Christmas special (titled Miami Twice), David Jason (Del Boy), Nicholas Lyndhurst (Rodney) and company flew to Florida to film the episodes, which involved working with a real alligator. Sue Holderness, who played Marlene Boyce in the show, almost met an untimely fate during this particular moment, which she explained in the Channel 5 documentary Only Fools And Horses: Secrets And Scandals.

only fools and horses cast, raquel, del, rodney, and cassandra

“The idea was this alligator would walk up behind Del and Rodney, they’d run off and the alligator would run towards them where there was a bowl of food. So the alligator was let off its leash and then headed towards the camera to this bowl of food but didn’t stop. The boys were at the other end of the forest by then,” Holderness said.

“I, meanwhile, was filming on my video camera. I didn’t notice the boys had gone and I lost the alligator in my camera and it was about two feet from me. Sean, the chap who was supposed to be in charge, jumped on its tail, grabbed its jaws shut, and wrapped this thing around it. I nearly died of fear, in fact – I nearly died.”

Holderness starred as Marlene, the wife of John Challis’ Boycie, in 20 episodes of the show. Later, Holderness and Challis starred in the spin-off series The Green Green Grass where Marlene and Boycie relocate to a farm in Shropshire after leaving Peckham.

Only Fools and Horses: Secrets and Scandals is available to watch on My 5, with the documentary revealing tidbits and behind-the-scenes stories from the classic show.

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