John Sullivan was variously described as "the best, most natural and heartfelt comedy writer of our time" and "the Dickens of our generation". He created some of the most memorable and best loved characters in British television. Here is just a small selection of classic moments from the many different shows John created...
After showing the then BBC Head of Comedy, John Howard Davies, a script he'd written for a show called Citizen Smith, John Sullivan was almost immediately ordered to write further episodes and in doing so gave us the classic comic character of Wolfie Smith. The show ran for four series and a Christmas Special after a successful Comedy Special pilot, finally coming to an end in 1980. Oh, and it gave rise to the oft-quoted 'Power to the people!' In this clip the 'revolution' is getting in the way of Shirl's marriage plans.
Cheryl Hall, who starred as Wolfie's girlfriend Shirley Johnson in the first two series of Citizen Smith, made the assertion that John Sullivan couldn't write for women, so he created Just Good Friends as a challenge to himself. The show centred on the characters Vincent Pinner and Penny Warrender, played by Nicholas Lyndhurst and Jan Francis, who meet in a pub five years after Vincent jilted Penny at the altar. The show ran for three series from 1983 to 1986 culminating in Vincent and Penny eloping to Paris and finally marrying.
Only Fools and Horses is a bona fide classic, which ran for seven series and numerous Christmas specials. The show first aired on BBC1 in 1981 and ended 22 years later with the Christmas special 'Sleepless in Peckham'. The characters of Del Boy, Rodney, Boycie and Trigger, along with numerous others that graced the show, have long since entered comedy folklore as did the show's theme, which was sung by John Sullivan himself. In honour of the show we've not one but two clips for your viewing pleasure, one featuring dear old Grandad and the other demonstrating a typical hilariously foolish moment from Rodney. The plonker.
With Only Fools and Horses and Just Good Friends still being broadcast, John Sullivan was already onto his fourth show, this time creating and writing Dear John, a bittersweet sitcom about a man whose wife has left him for his best friend. The show was first broadcast in 1986, ran for two series and starred Ralph Bates as the title character, who is forced to move into lodgings and decides to attend the 1-2-1 Singles Club, where he meets a variety of social misfits. In this clip John tries to befriend Louise.
If the 1980s was a very busy time for John Sullivan then the '90s continued that trend with Roger Roger. The pilot episode first broadcast on BBC 1 in 1996 and was followed by three series, ending in 2003. More of a comedy drama than straight-up sitcom, the show concerned the struggling taxi company owner Sam and his attempts to keep Cresta Cabs afloat after his business partner commits suicide.
Ostensibly an Only Fools and Horses spin-off, The Green Green Grass took two of the former shows characters and using the 'fish out of water' format, plonked them into a rural setting. Over the course of four series and three Christmas Specials which ran, the characters of Boycie and wife Marlene were expanded and given greater depth by John Sullivan, who also wrote the theme tune as he had done with all his previous shows.
Another Only Fools and Horses spin-off was Rock and Chips. A prequel to the original show focused on Joan Trotter and her family, including a young Del Boy during the late '50s and early '60s. There have been three episodes broadcast. The revelation that Freddy the Frog is in fact Rodney's father makes us want to go back and watch the brilliant original series all over again.
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