Only Fools And Horses - the Albert years

Only Fools And Horses. Image shows from L to R: Uncle Albert (Buster Merryfield), Del (David Jason), Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst). Copyright: BBC.

Only Fools And Horses

Sitcom about two market traders, Del Boy and his brother Rodney

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Tommy Griff

  • Wednesday 21st November 2018, 10:06pm [Edited]
  • Wiltshire, England
  • 407 posts

Moving to the other side to the argument - Uncle Albert was, for me, a wonderfully performed character with hilarious mannerisms, slapstick moments and incredible delivery - all thanks to Sullivan's story-telling ability that kept improving.

Some of my favourite Albert moments:

-Being accepted into the family at the end of Strained Relations
-Him being almost caught-out by Del by falling asleep in the flat when he should be cleaning
-Bribing Del for a drop of brandy when sticking up for him at the end of Stage Fright
-The 'Urrrghhh a girl' moment
-"one night it was so cold, the light on my flame had froze" - ridiculous
-Albert's touching speech when recolecting his youth after he had run away to Tobacco Road

I consider myself to be a fairly hard-core fan - no more than the millions of others, but I find myself in the small majority who thinks he's an alround funnier and lovable character than Grandad.

I love Grandad - he delivered several hilarious one-liners where the actor did this with such ease, but for me, just not as lovable as Albert and that is largely thanks to the storytelling as mentioned.

I just cannot imagine Grandad shadow boxing in the flat, singing in the pub, back-chatting to Del and Rodney as well as Albert did.

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Wheel

  • Wednesday 21st November 2018, 10:21pm
  • Wakefield, England
  • 376 posts

I loved the time when Del said if you say during the war one more time then I will throw this cup all over of you and Albert said During the 1939 1945 conflict with Germany. Dell's reaction was hilarious.

Albert was a brilliant character. He was hilarious. Grandad was funny with his one liners.

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Saturday 24th November 2018, 7:19am
  • Aldershot, England
  • 6,257 posts

Sorry but most times I found him very annoying. His mugging of the scenes especially overdoing a secondary line so he could be more prominent and his general one tone acting style was off putting and I'd have watched more if it wasn't for him and that Cassandra. They needed a third character when Grandad left but not one who wanted to be the star when it was clearly not his place to be.

It sort of worked over time because they gave his character a more prominent role than Grandad but to me that was just indulging the awful scene stealing actor and made watching an ep even more difficult. There was a very believable rumour back then that Jason and Lyndhurst didn't get on with him offset because he wouldn't tone down his mugging acting style on it.

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Tommy Griff

  • Saturday 24th November 2018, 1:55pm
  • Wiltshire, England
  • 407 posts
Quote: Alfred J Kipper @ 24th November 2018, 7:19 AM

Sorry but most times I found him very annoying. His mugging of the scenes especially overdoing a secondary line so he could be more prominent and his general one tone acting style was off putting and I'd have watched more if it wasn't for him and that Cassandra. They needed a third character when Grandad left but not one who wanted to be the star when it was clearly not his place to be.

It sort of worked over time because they gave his character a more prominent role than Grandad but to me that was just indulging the awful scene stealing actor and made watching an ep even more difficult. There was a very believable rumour back then that Jason and Lyndhurst didn't get on with him offset because he wouldn't tone down his mugging acting style on it.

Jesus wept - what a load of horse shit you speak on - especially the final line.

Buster Merryfield, going by what the cast and crew said, was a gentle and nervous actor who had DJ and NL comfort him a lot of the time off stage because he suffered from a bit of stage fright.

Characters are written as per the storyline set out by the writer, the direction is provided from the director/producer/writer and the actor does what he is told. When they become more prominent, they can add in little bits to their character and it clearly worked. Wasn't for everyone for people like you, clearly.

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Paul Wimsett

  • Saturday 24th November 2018, 4:49pm
  • Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • 3,391 posts

Surely Kipper is entitled to his opinion?

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Tommy Griff

  • Saturday 24th November 2018, 5:26pm [Edited]
  • Wiltshire, England
  • 407 posts
Quote: Paul Wimsett @ 24th November 2018, 4:49 PM

Surely Kipper is entitled to his opinion?

Yeah but there's opinons and there's facts and Buster Merryfield was not the actor and man he was potrayed as by Kipper, as John Sullivan and members of the cast spoke-of. He wasn't so egotisical git trying to play-up.

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Stephen Goodlad

  • Saturday 24th November 2018, 6:42pm
  • Mirfield, England
  • 3,712 posts

I always wondered if the episode where uncle Albert said he was a boxing champion was taken from his real life. He actually was a forces boxing champ.

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Wheel

  • Saturday 24th November 2018, 6:55pm [Edited]
  • Wakefield, England
  • 376 posts
Quote: Stephen Goodlad @ 24th November 2018, 6:42 PM

I always wondered if the episode where uncle Albert said he was a boxing champion was taken from his real life. He actually was a forces boxing champ.

Well Sullivan used a lot of stories and material from real life so it's a huge possible he did.

Even David Jason said on that documentary he was quite nervous on the show. Remember Buster didn't take up acting till he was 57. He would have been scared of messing up in front of Nick and David. Buster came into the show as it was about to start getting popular would have been difficult for him to get settled in at first as the cast all knew each other and he didn't.

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Sunday 25th November 2018, 9:39am [Edited]
  • Aldershot, England
  • 6,257 posts
Quote: Tommy Griff @ 24th November 2018, 5:26 PM

Yeah but there's opinons and there's facts and Buster Merryfield was not the actor and man he was potrayed as by Kipper, as John Sullivan and members of the cast spoke-of. He wasn't so egotisical git trying to play-up.

It's my opinion from what I watched Tommy, regardless of the facts. And not just my opinion as I've heard or read many people saying the same. Buster was clearly an untrained am dram actor, and got himself heard by shouting to the back of the room. He didn't/couldn't change his style because he knew nothing about acting for the screen.

This comes across as 'mugging' on the screen and is frowned upon and sent up especially by natural acting purists of which I'm not. But it was too much for me and jarred against the gentle acting style of Grandad. Sullivan's writing has very little to do with that, but he did pick him so he must have wanted a roistering panto style actor for some reason.

This style of acting especially on screen is easily seen as hogging the limelight because the ham actor in a secondary role makes much more of his/her lines than the lead. Answering your point - Directors can't really direct these one note actors towards another style as they only have one style. And it does come across to many viewers as though they are hogging the limelight, although it can simply be down to limited acting ability.

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Paul Wimsett

  • Sunday 25th November 2018, 10:08am
  • Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • 3,391 posts

For a bank manager, he was a good actor.

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Tommy Griff

  • Sunday 25th November 2018, 11:48am
  • Wiltshire, England
  • 407 posts
Quote: Alfred J Kipper @ 25th November 2018, 9:39 AM

It's my opinion from what I watched Tommy, regardless of the facts. And not just my opinion as I've heard or read many people saying the same. I've been involved with amdram and pro dram used to go to the theatre a bit and watched hundreds of actors. Buster was clearly an untrained am dram actor, and got himself heard by shouting to the back of the room. He didn't/couldn't change his style because he knew nothing about acting for the screen.

This comes across as 'mugging' on the screen and is frowned upon and sent up especially by natural acting purists of which I'm not. But it was too much for me and jarred against the gentle acting style of Grandad. Sullivan's writing has very little to do with that, but he did pick him so he must have wanted a roistering panto style actor for some reason.

This style of acting especially on screen is easily seen as hogging the limelight because the ham actor in a secondary role makes much more of his/her lines than the lead. Many have been notorious for doing this few moreso than Lionel Jefferies who got such a reputation for it in films that some lead actors would threaten to quit the film if he wasn't taken off or controlled by the director. Then they'd shoot the film and Jefferies would steal every scene by throwing himself at it in usual fashion and the leads would say 'I've been Lionelled again'.

Answering your point - Directors can't really direct these one note actors towards another style as they only have one style. And it does come across to many viewers as though they are hogging the limelight, although it can simply be down to limited acting ability. In its place bold hammy stage shouting can work on screen as in Never The Twain which I love. Out of place I find it Annoyed

Have you ever considered the strong possibility that Buster was acting the part very well, was very funny (to vast majority, even if not as prefered to Grandad by some) and not 'mugging'? I don't see any evidence for him 'mugging' - hogging the limelight??

Sounds like a personal vendetta to me. I have never heard anyone ever suggest the actor was how you perceived him - ever. That's from both amateur and professional actors (to which I know many) who love the show.

As someone said on here, he was a decent actor for a bank manager.

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Stephen Goodlad

  • Sunday 25th November 2018, 1:01pm [Edited]
  • Mirfield, England
  • 3,712 posts

He had small parts in a few TV shows before OFAH. I can't find any on YouTube to compare his style though.

Talking of bad actors in OFAH though, Del's old girlfriend was hopeless.

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Sunday 25th November 2018, 1:08pm
  • Aldershot, England
  • 6,257 posts

He probably was but I'd have preferred a professional screen actor to take the part in a burgeoning and funny sitcom.
No vendetta other than his mugging irritated the hell out of me at times.
If Sullivan asked him to act like that then JS made a mistake (for my personal taste and others).
Again it's IMO but casting wasn't all great on OFAH. Boycie, Trigger, Marlene were all brilliantly cast for their cartoon roles, Jason & Lyndhurst superb but I never worked out why a scouser was playing Denzil. The inclusion of dead weight Cassandra was also an abysmal choice and ended my OFAH watching days.

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Wheel

  • Sunday 25th November 2018, 1:32pm
  • Wakefield, England
  • 376 posts
Quote: Alfred J Kipper @ 25th November 2018, 1:08 PM

He probably was but I'd have preferred a professional screen actor to take the part in a burgeoning and funny sitcom.
No vendetta other than his mugging irritated the hell out of me at times.
If Sullivan asked him to act like that then JS made a mistake (for my personal taste and others).
Again it's IMO but casting wasn't all great on OFAH. Boycie, Trigger, Marlene were all brilliantly cast for their cartoon roles, Jason & Lyndhurst superb but I never worked out why a scouser was playing Denzil. The inclusion of dead weight Cassandra was also an abysmal choice and ended my OFAH watching days.

The character of Denzil was in Liverpool before he moved to Peckham so that might be why a Scouser was cast.

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Sunday 25th November 2018, 2:02pm
  • Aldershot, England
  • 6,257 posts

Unless a dialect expert corrects me I find it hard to believe that a young kid would retain his original accent after living in a place for 30 years especially Saaf Landon. The Class of 62 is one of my top 5 OFAH eps, possibly my favourite but I was surprised and still am by hearing that Denzil was schoolmates with Del and the rest. With such a thick Scouse accent it still bewilders me to this day how he was at school in Peckham as a teen. And I haven't seen it for a while but they don't talk as though Denzil had just moved down but maybe I'd better watch it again. Huh

Quote: Wheel @ 25th November 2018, 1:32 PM

The character of Denzil was in Liverpool before he moved to Peckham so that might be why a Scouser was cast.

Reference please Wheel, ta.