Lyndhurst: 'Only Fools would never be made today'

Nicholas Lyndhurst Nicholas Lyndhurst will play Dan Griffin in New Tricks - "a man with secrets who shows no emotion".

Related Stories

Nicholas Lyndhurst has said he believes Only Fools and Horses would never be made today.

He told the Radio Times he believes that TV companies would not take a chance on a show like that now.

"TV companies turn down good scripts because they're not prepared to let them develop," he said.

"A talent show will pick up seven million viewers and they can't afford to nurture something that initially will only have a million."

"Only Fools would never be made today, nor Dad's Army."

Only Fools and Horses, which featured Lyndhurst as the hapless Rodney and David Jason as his wide boy brother, had a slow start and it was only when it got to its third series that it became a ratings hit.

It was eventually voted the nation's favourite sitcom in a BBC poll.

New Tricks

Lyndhurst is about to join the cast of New Tricks, replacing Alun Armstrong in the veteran detective series.

The show, which stars Dennis Waterman, Amanda Redman and Denis Lawson, is in its tenth series and has been a ratings success.

Lyndhurst said he was not impressed with the talent shows that TV companies are willing to put money into.

He said he felt watching talent shows was "cruel", and compared watching Britain's Got Talent to "selling tickets to Bedlam" - referring to the Bethlem Royal Hospital for the mentally ill, which allowed the public to pay to look at the patients in the 18th century.

"It's cruel to watch these deluded people - the judges as well, sometimes," he said.

"They don't need to be talented and that's a shame because you don't want to watch people who can't do it."

He admitted his son Archie has inherited the "acting gene" and is at the Sylvia Young Theatre School.

But he worries about what sort of industry he will enter when he leaves.

"I can hardly say, 'Darling, do all this training and the best thing will be Celebrity Dog Watch'. Take away the talent shows, celebrity cook shows, skating, dog training, dancing, putting people on an island - and what's left?

"I've been asked to go on all of them," he admitted.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    TV today is so bad that my viewing is around 2-3 programes a week. Some weeks back HYS asked if we're a nation on anti-depressants, well with depressed story lines on almost every channel being repeated every 5 minutes it would be a miracle if we were not. Good on Lyndhurst for speaking, he's spot on about paying for bedlam. UK has lots of good actors but way too few scripts to match that talent.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    What? The national broadcaster BBC wouldn't take the risk of commissioning a comedy set in the east end of lahndan? Even greater risk would be to have a soap opera set in a fictional east end, or several detective shows or comedies based on the area. Or even a show about a time traveler based in the east end during the war. This is London calling in queens estuary English.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    I've never really understood why the BBC are so interested in getting high ratings. There are no advertisers to keep happy, so can afford to take more risks with their programming.
    Let's see some new and original dramas, comedies and documentaries. It may be a slow start but people will soon come around, possibly quicker with the viral nature of word of mouth in these social media driven days.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    The people that made the BBC great, are now retired or dead.

    The BBC is finished, the licence fee should be scrapped.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Comedy looks to have been outlawed. I know it’s difficult to write but unfortunately laughing at someone on TV is no longer acceptable. The exception at the moment is Big School where Walliams and Tate carry it off beautifully.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    The BBC have FAR less excuses than anyone else. ITV, Sky etc have to make commercially viable shows. The BBC charges a licence fee partially in order to make programmes the commercial channels will not, yet their drama output is no better than Sky (who make a handful of great shows - see mad dogs) and the BBC turns out just as much reality/talent show tripe as the rest

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    Bit unfair about the talent shows. Yes, some *auditions* for BGT and XFactor are despicable laughing at the deluded that shouldn't be aired; but there is a huge amount of genuinely uplifting entertainment in them too. They provided a deserved route to fame for Diversity, Spellbound, and some decent singers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    TV won't take risks. Is that why he is joining New Tricks (in its 10th series and with original cast members leaving because its got predictable)?

    He's right though. Look at The Wright Way - written by Ben Elton - so it must be a winner. Result an absolute turkey. Reliance on former glories rather than quality of the writing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    Dunno what he's moaning about. Or why. If Cameron gets his way you won't be able to watch Only Fools on the net or even talk about it.

    After all in the early episodes there is quite clearly a pin-up calendar on the wall, this sort of smut must be wiped from the net before it poisons our children's minds!

    Going to far?

    Not on the evidence of recent days!

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Agree with the sentiments but when OFAH started the first series were much 'darker' the audience grew as things developed, I personally didn't like the last couple of series & one Xmas special was dreadful (but better than any talent show)

    America finds a winning format then employ dozens of writers to keep them fresh, look at the writing credits for the Simpsons Frazier Friends Etc hundreds!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    TV today is full of reality rubbish that i am surprised people even watch , he is spot on with everything he said , all the good shows of the past probably wouldn't get a look in today .
    It's very sad when you have the amount of channels we have today and most of them have nothing on them worth watching , couldn't find anything to watch the other day and i ended up watching Only Fools and Horses!.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    There is probably as much good TV as there has always been. It's just that this is swamped by a tidal wave of tripe. Too many channels and not enough compulsion to ration the diet of TV the country now consumes. Just watch the good stuff and get out more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    NL was lucky in his timing

    the BBC stated some years ago that it was providing the news that its viewers wished to here/see

    the same applies across the programming board - LCD - QED

    that's populist marketing and that's why most of the bbc should be privatised

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    Thankfully there's far more to do in life than watch other people muck around on telly ......

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    I agree with Nicholas. In general recent British produced drama and comedy is woeful. BBC's Big School is a perfect example. There is so much bias and discrimination in the UK against US made TV shows, but the best of US is so good compared to ours that is has become embarrassing. Scandinavia and France also produces excellent drama. I really question what I pay a licence fee for!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    I am with him 100% on everything he says here.
    Television now is all about talent shows and then calling anybody who ever appeared on them a "celebrity", immediately followed by a multitude of "celebrity" shows.
    Gone are the days where families and/or members of the public appeared in game shows etc.
    As for today's comedy: Get rid of the PC brigade and you might have a chance of success again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    Don't forget the lack of "stickability" of the actors and writers. E.G. the termination of the Gavin and Sacey series.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Rodders is absolutely correct. BBC telly is going the same way as BBC radio.

    We used to be able to 'settle in' to a radio show and enjoy it but now it's all about adverts and trailers wrecking perfectly good transmissions....

    It won't be long before television programmes are splattered with adverts about other telly shows every fifteen minutes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    What's he complaining about? His son will get a job on TV being a "Son or daughter of a famous parents." That's where the real problem lies. Second generation talent-less uncharismatic offspring who, without any formal qualification or audition, walk straight into a job in TV by virtue of the fact they've got famous parents. His son hasn't got the "acting gene", but he'll get a job through it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    omg!! People still watch TV???


Page 26 of 28


More Entertainment & Arts stories



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.