Only Fools and Horses

‘This time next year we’ll be millionaires!’ Laugh out loud to the best bits of Only Fools And Horses, Dad’s Army and Rising Damp in part three of our rib-tickling series …TV’s funniest moments

 Weekend magazine is 25 and, to celebrate, the Mail’s TV critic Christopher Stevens has picked his favourite scripts from Britain’s top comedy shows. Today, we start with this classic 1982 episode of Only Fools And Horses in which brothers Del Boy (David Jason) and Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst) are hired to clean a stately home’s priceless chandeliers.   

The Sketch: a touch of glass

Written by John Sullivan 

When Lady Ridgemere’s car breaks down the Trotters help out. At Ridgemere Hall, Del convinces her husband that he’s qualified to renovate two Louis 14th chandeliers. He also tries to sell them a naff pottery cat. We pick up the scene in the Trotters’ flat where Del (Jason) is pacing the room. Grandad (Lennard Pearce) is slumped in an armchair and Rodney (Lyndhurst) is on a dining chair.

 The episode contained one of the sitcom's most famous scenes, where Del & Rodney drop an expensive chandelier

DEL: Don’t be a plonker all your life, Rodney! I’ve just done the deal now. It’s 350 quid just to take down and clean a couple of chandeliers.

RODNEY: And do you honestly think he’s gonna pay us?

GRANDAD: Of course he’s gonna pay us! He ain’t one of your fly-by-the-night merchants. I mean he’s a lord of the realm, he’s got blue blood and — and mottos!

RODNEY: He didn’t even pay us for that cat.

DEL: Oh shut up about that rotten cat.

RODNEY: Del, you need specialised equipment for a job like this — refined glass brushes, advanced soldering gear. What we gonna use, eh? Superglue and a bottle of Windolene, knowing you!

DEL: Look, I’ll get the right equipment, Rodney. I know this panel beater and he owes me a favour. Look, once we’ve done this job our name will spread. All those dukes an’ earls they’ll be crying out for us. Just imagine it, eh? Just think of it, all the hounds, you know, baying with excitement, as our steeds bite on the rein eager for the chase. Hello, tally ho Sir Herbert. Did you ken John Peel? Come on boy…

RODNEY: Take a look at him will yer! He’s spent three hours in a stately home and he thinks he’s the Earl of Sandwich! He can’t wait to get a shotgun and a retriever and go marching across the grouse moors all done up like a ploughman’s lunch, can he?

DEL: No, that’s right Rodney. I deserve a bit of the good life, worked hard enough for it, I mean I’ve always been a trier. Where’s it got me? Nowhere, that’s where it’s got me! We live ’alf a mile up in the sky in this Lego set built by the council. Run a three-wheel van with a bald tyre. We drink in wine bars where the only thing’s got a vintage is the guvnor’s wife! That’s why I want to grab this opportunity with both hands, Rodney. You know, he who dares wins. This time next year we’ll be millionaires.

RODNEY: Do you honestly believe that, Del? I mean, do you really think we can make a success of this?

DEL: Of course we can, Rodney. The door will be opened to a new world. It’ll be like… Alex Through The Looking Glass. You will dine at the finest restaurants on… on steak chasseur and sauté potatoes. Your shoes will be by Gucci, your jewellery will come from Asprey, your clothes will be made by Man at C&A! What d’you reckon Rodders, eh? What d’you reckon?

RODNEY: Man at C&A. Yeah, all right. I’ll give it a whirl.

DEL: Good boy. You know it makes sense, don’t you?

RODNEY: Oi, but we do a proper job, right. No bodging.

DEL: Of course not, what do you take me for, eh?


DEL: I’ll save the best bit for you.

RODNEY: I’ll see you in the morning then.

DEL: Yeah, see you in the morning. Night.

GRANDAD: ‘No bodging.’ I think he lacks faith in you, Del Boy!

DEL: Always been his trouble, innit, eh? Oi, ’ere, do me a favour, will you, Grandad? Pop out in the kitchen, see if we’ve got any Windolene and superglue left, will you?

We cut to the main hallway of Ridgemere Hall. Rodney carries a set of aluminium ladders into the hall and lays them against a wall. He exits to get another set. Grandad is carrying a tool bag and large canvas bag. Del is supervising. Wallace the butler watches from a distance with a growing sense of doom.

DEL: Righto, Grandad, you pop upstairs and get the floorboards up! Now, you know what you’re doing don’t you?

Grandad reaches into his tool bag and removes a hammer, a large screwdriver and a spanner.

GRANDAD: Don’t worry, Del, leave it to me.

DEL: (To Wallace) Oh he’s a craftsman. (Calls) Oi, Grandad, d’you want a jemmy?

GRANDAD: No, I had one before we left.

WALLACE: Why does he have to remove the floorboards?

DEL: What is this, the International Year of the Wally-Brain or something? Listen, my good man, how do you think that great big heavy chandelier stays up there on that ceiling, eh? It is not by the power of prayer or double-sided sticky tape! There is a long threaded bolt through that chandelier, it goes through a wooden joist and is held in position by a locking nut. Now in order to undo the locking nut you must first lift up the floorboards. Ordre du jour!

WALLACE: We learn something new every day! If you need me I shall be round at the garages.

DEL: Right. Here, while you’re there give the van a wash, will you?

Wallace exits as Rodney enters with a ladder.

DEL: Ah, talking of wally-brains. Come on. Here — watch it!

RODNEY: I mean this is terrific, innit! His lordship’s nowhere to be seen and now even the butler’s having a moody. D’you reckon we’re gonna get paid?

They begin to place the ladders beneath one of the chandeliers.

DEL: Look, his lordship is away on holiday, he’ll pay us when he gets back! Now come on, get these ladders up. Yeah, you never know might be in for a bonus.

RODNEY: Oh yeah, perhaps he might bring us back a nice stick of rock each, eh?

DEL: Well, just shut up moaning, will yer! Oi, Grandad, how you doing?

In the upstairs room, Grandad has the carpet rolled back and has one floorboard removed. He is levering another one free.

GRANDAD: (Calls) All right, Del Boy. I’ve found it, Del!

Down in the main hallway, Del and Rodney are standing by the two ladders, unrolling the canvas bag.

DEL: Here you are. See, he’s found the nut. I told you we could trust him. Right, come on, get this out.

GRANDAD: (Out of view upstairs) I’ve started to undo it.


DEL: (Calls) Gordon Bennett, we ain’t even up the ladders yet!

RODNEY: Grandad — don’t you touch nuffink till we tell you.

DEL: Come on, we’d better get it up there.

Holding the canvas bag between them, Del and Rodney climb the ladders, carefully enveloping the first chandelier with the canvas bag.

DEL: All right, Rodders? Is there anything you want?

RODNEY: Yeah, I wanna go home! This ladder’s none too safe.

DEL: The ladder’s all right. Look, this is the chance I’ve been waiting for. Now don’t let me down Rodney, don’t let me down! (Calls) All right, Grandad, we’re ready! You can start undoing it now!

In the upstairs room, Grandad places the spanner on the nut and begins easing it round.

GRANDAD: It’s coming, Del Boy! (He turns it) One more turn, Del!

Back in the main hallway.

DEL: Right. Now brace yourself, Rodney, brace yourself!

Grandad bangs the nut with the hammer and it comes free. In the hall the second chandelier crashes to the floor with an almighty 17th-century crystal type crunch. Del and Rodney stare at each other for a few seconds before turning to survey the damage.

DEL: (In shock) Grandad was undoing the other chandelier!

RODNEY: How can you tell?

They climb down the ladders, lowering the canvas bag gently to the floor. They walk slowly towards the remains of the chandelier, broken French crystal crunching beneath their feet. Grandad comes downstairs, blissfully unaware.

GRANDAD: All right Del Boy?

DEL: All right? What do you mean ‘all right’? Look at it!

GRANDAD: Did you drop it, Del?

RODNEY: Drop it? How could we drop it? We wasn’t even holding it! We were working on that one!

GRANDAD: Well, I wish you’d said something. I was working on this one! Is it very valuable, Del?

DEL: No, not really! It was bleedin’ priceless when it was hanging up there though!

RODNEY: What’s his lordship gonna say when he finds out?

DEL: Well, I think I can safely say that my invitation to the hunt ball has gone for a Burton!

WALLACE: It’s broken!

DEL: Look, what the hell do you know about chandeliers anyway?

RODNEY: I think he’s tumbled, Del!

WALLACE: I shall telephone his lordship at his cottage immediately!

DEL: Yeah, well, tell him to phone us at home. Oh, by the way, has his lordship got our home address and telephone number?


DEL: Good! Right, out of it. Go on.

The Trotters run for the door.

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