Only Fools And Horses to return

Saturday 4th January 2014 @ 3:20am by Aaron

Only Fools And Horses. Image shows from L to R: Del (David Jason), Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst). Image credit: British Broadcasting Corporation.The BBC has today confirmed that Only Fools And Horses will return as a one-off short sketch for fundraising telethon Sport Relief.

The sitcom, which originally ran from 1981 to 2003, stars Sir David Jason as South London wheeler-deeler Del Boy, and Nicholas Lyndhurst as his younger brother, Rodney.

John Sullivan, the highly celebrated writer and creator of the series died from viral pneumonia in 2011. It was revealed last month that his sons, Jim and Dan, have begun working to develop a new script based on unfinished notes and ideas their father made before his death.

The news is likely to be met with a mixed reaction by fans, with the latter episodes of the series, broadcast in the early 2000s, widely regarded as below the very high standard of previous 'classic' episodes.

David Jason commented of the news last month, "I've had a quick look at the treatment and it's very good, but I'm saving the proper read-through until there are no distractions. It's not the sort of thing you can muck about with."

The now-confirmed short special is likely to last between 5 and 10 minutes in length, and has been penned by the Sullivan brothers.

Jim Sullivan says: "Since Dad passed away back in April 2011 we have been asked a few times whether we'd be interested in writing any new material for Only Fools and we have always said no, our intention being to protect the work and not to attempt adding to it.

"However, Sport Relief being such a worthy cause, and with the opportunity to help raise a lot of money, we felt things were different this time, and we also knew that Dad would approve.

"So we put together a sketch, incorporating some of Dad's old notes - bits of dialogue for the show that he never found a place for - and, thankfully, the response was positive and everyone got behind it.

"Working on the sketch has been a lot of fun, but also quite daunting. The characters are so well loved, but we do feel we know and care for them enough to give them back their voices just this once.

"And we would like to make it clear that it is just this once, and that we are not, and never have been, looking to write any new episodes. There was only ever one writer of Only Fools And Horses, and it is going to stay that way."

No further information has yet been revealed on what the sketch will involve, with the corporation simply stating that: "Further details will be announced in the build up to the appeal night on March 21."

Sport Relief is a spin-off telethon event from the Comic Relief charity, which aims to raise money for charity through sporting endeavours.

Only Fools And Horses. Image shows from L to R: Del (David Jason), Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst). Image credit: British Broadcasting Corporation.In a major poll carried out in 2004, Only Fools And Horses was voted by the public as Britain's greatest ever sitcom. The comedy also holds the record for the most watched comedy programme on UK TV this century, and also last century. The 2001 special - which saw the comedy come back after a break of 5 years - was watched by 21 million viewers, ratings that have only since been beaten by the Olympic ceremonies.

However, the programme's biggest ratings were for the 1996 special - Time On Our Hands (pictured) - in which the Trotters finally made it rich. A huge 24 million viewers tuned in, making the episode (outside of soap operas which accumulated their ratings over a week of repeats) the most watched non-documentary programme in the UK of all time.

The last episode of Only Fools And Horses broadcast was Sleepless In Peckham, which premiered on Christmas Day 2003 to 16.4 million people. The series continues to gain high viewing figures with regular repeat runs, including a hugely successful recent early-afternoon double-bill revival as part of BBC One's daytime schedule.

The news comes just days after ITV launched a highly-anticipated new series of another major BBC 1990s sitcom hit, Birds Of A Feather, attracting an impressive 7.8 million viewers to its midweek slot; and follows the Boxing Day broadcast of Still Open All Hours, which saw Sir David Jason reprise his role as Granville, another classic comedy character.

The below clip - from the 1996 Christmas special - sees Del and Rodney arrive at Sotheby's for the auction of the antique watch they found in their garage:


This story was updated on the 5th January to include Jim Sullivan's comments.


Our Guide to 'Only Fools And Horses'

 

Latest News

QI to be broadcast in America

QI to be broadcast in America

QI, the long-running British panel show hosted by Stephen Fry, is finally set to be broadcast in the USA, with BBC America scheduling repeats.

Radio 4 developing comedy panel show about religion

Radio 4 developing comedy panel show about religion

Radio 4 is developing And God Laughs, a new panel show that 'takes a humorous look at religion in its many and varied forms'. Katy Brand will host.

Catastrophe Series 2 ordered by Channel 4

Catastrophe Series 2 ordered by Channel 4

Just two episodes into its first series, Channel 4 has recommissioned Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney's sitcom Catastrophe.

BBC preparing special to mark 25 years of Harry & Paul

BBC preparing special to mark 25 years of Harry & Paul

Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse are reportedly collaborating with the BBC to make a special to celebrate 25 years of their comedy partnership.

Still Open All Hours ends with 8 million viewers

Still Open All Hours ends with 8 million viewers

The first series of revived sitcom Still Open All Hours came to a close last night with a peak of over 8 million viewers.

Comedy.co.uk Awards 2014 results announced

Comedy.co.uk Awards 2014 results announced

The results of the ninth annual Comedy.co.uk Awards have been announced, with Cabin Pressure writer John Finnemore the biggest winner of the year.

Get More News

In The Press

In The Press

The latest press clippings from the newspapers and various internet blogs.

Newsletter

Newsletter

Subscribe to our mailing list to get news and more in your inbox every Monday.

Twitter

Twitter Feed

You can follow us on Twitter too. We post the latest news and gossip every evening.

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Subscribe to our RSS feed to get our headlines in your news reader software.

David Jason interview

David Jason interview

David Jason talks about Only Fools And Horses, in the process revealing his favourite scene from the show. Read

Let's Play Darts

Let's Play Darts

The comedians involved in Let's Play Darts For Comic Relief talk about how good they are at throwing the 'arrows'. Read

Win 'United We Fall' on DVD

Win 'United We Fall' on DVD

We have three copies of the DVD of football comedy film United We Fall to give away. Find out more: Enter

(After) Life of Cook & Moore

(After) Life of Cook & Moore

A preview of 'Goodbye - The (After) Life of Cook & Moore', the comic play about Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. Read

Arthur Strong interview

Arthur Strong interview

BCG chats to Count Arthur Strong. Somehow he gets the impression we've booked him for Just A Minute. Read

Catastrophe interview

Catastrophe interview

Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney talk about how Catastrophe, their new Channel 4 show was conceived. Read

Leicester Comedy Festival

Leicester Comedy Festival

100s of comedians will take part in Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival 2015 between 4th & 22nd February. Read

Inside No. 9 - Series 2

Inside No. 9 - Series 2

The second series of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton's anthology show is filming now. More details here: Read

Cockroaches interview

Cockroaches interview

The cast of ITV2's post-apocalyptic sitcom Cockroaches talk about the show. Jack Whitehall explains it's unique. Read

Most repeated shows 2014

Most repeated shows 2014

Here's a list of the ten British comedy shows that were repeated the most in 2014. LOTSW was top. Read

The Unbelievable Truth

The Unbelievable Truth

We've selected 10 great facts from David Mitchell's Radio 4 show The Unbelievable Truth. Have a look: Read

Pappy's Flatshare Slamdown

Pappy's Flatshare Slamdown

The hit panel show podcast returns. Pappy's are joined by guests Alex Brooker and Angela Barnes. Listen

Josie Long interview

Josie Long interview

2014 saw the usually politics-fuelled Josie Long take a more personal fork of the comedy freeway. Interview

Milton Jones podcast

Milton Jones podcast

Milton Jones joins Richard Herring to discuss killer heckles, when gigs go wrong and more besides. Listen

David Walliams interview

David Walliams interview

David Walliams talks about bringing another one of his books, The Boy In The Dress, to television. Read