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".

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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.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 380.

    Opium of the people Rodney, the cattle watch the performing cattle and don't give us any bother. Its no different from the Romans watching the Christians being eaten by Lions. Of course its cruel, that's the whole point, they wouldn't watch it if it wasn't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 379.

    Lot of doomsayers on here wallowing in their negativism. Watch some IT crowd, always cheers me up. The US version is rubbish, but the cheque's cleared, so that's their problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 378.

    I hate to say it but Sky are churning out some descent programmes, whilst ITV and BBC (aside from a few flagship items) seem to churn out either poor comedy/drama or talent show garbage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 377.

    54.Heinz Kiosk
    "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."

    Never understood why someone like Cowell who has no skill at music and no manners at all is the hero of any human being! ust derides acts ... manners cost nought

  • rate this

    Comment number 376.

    I disagree with this, especially in an age of multi-channel broadcasting. Many of the "minority shows" may not start as mainstream, but on the minor channels such as ITV2 or BBC3 then move over to the mainstreams when their popularity grows.
    Yes talent shows bring in big audiences, but not just in the "mocking" audition phases. I believe the last BGT final drew in a few million with no "joke" acts

  • rate this

    Comment number 375.

    Instant ratings popularity seems to be the biggest factor.

    To be fair, it makes perfect sense. You can spend a large amount of time and money on a particular program to make it as quality as possible and get a certain number of viewers. Or you can spend less time and money, turn out something average, and get the same viewers. You go cheaper, it's simple. Standards are down.

  • rate this

    Comment number 374.

    The programme format of endless talent shows, celebrity shows and housemate shows do have a demand but from the lower end of the spectrum.
    To avoid the dumbing down and complete and utter tosh being trawled out turn off the TV and immerse yourself in a good book.

  • rate this

    Comment number 373.

    TV is beginning to rot before us. The once great concepts are being replaced with easy, cheap reality. Creating role models not suitable for growing children. Fame hungry and two faced. Children grow up now wanting to be on TV without working towards it. The craft is dying. I have turned towards the internet where very talented people make entertaining videos, ie youtubers such as glove and boots

  • rate this

    Comment number 372.

    Nicholas Lyndhurst is spot on, as was Alan Davies - program makers purely take into account what will net the biggest audience now, not what has lasting value. Will we want to watch re-runs of XFactor/Big Brother/Strictly in 5 years time, let alone 30?

    If program makers were smart they'd be thinking more about royalties in 10, 20 or 30 years, and less about viewing figures today.

  • rate this

    Comment number 371.

    Judging by the voting here it looks like the over 55's have worked out how to register, comment and whine on the BBC website. Seriously chaps, the BBC caters for more than just your demographic - you just have more time to sit around watching it than everyone else so you see more things you don't enjoy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 370.

    I don't think Lyndhurst is saying that there's nothing good to watch on TV. He simply maintains that TV companies don't give shows the time to develop that they used to. Instant ratings popularity seems to be the biggest factor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 369.

    I like to watch keeping Up With The Kardashians much much better the only fools and horses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 368.

    Got to agree with Nick Lyndhurst's list but would add soap operas. TV these days is awful - talent(less) shows, has-been celebs and aggressive, depressing or just plain stupid soap operas and cooking shows seem to be all that's on. Glad he's joining the team of New Tricks - one of only a few class TV shows available.

  • rate this

    Comment number 367.

    In the top right hand corner of bbc news home page... "Three day wait for One Direction fans"... What the....

    That's what I meant in my previous comment about the celebrity worshiping culture. I understand one direction has fans but really? 3 days? REALLY?????

    Maybe im an OAP stuck in a young mans body, but I wouldn't wait 3 days for god himself... lol.

  • rate this

    Comment number 366.

    True and also US like in terms of comedies not being funny - the reason is the BBC are continually trying to make transatlantic co-productions for the US market (like the appalling "my familly") that end up pleasing neither. The BBC has done to more damage the culture of the UK in recent years than any organisation I can think of. That is why a lot of the public want to see it shut down.

  • rate this

    Comment number 365.

    Oh no. From that photo, I won't be able to tell him and Biggs from Star Wars apart.
    I can just about recognise Minder. He sings the theme tune, you know.

  • rate this

    Comment number 364.

    Its easier and cheaper to make so called reality programs than to produce a good series, so shows like Towies and these so called talent shows are in abundance, and because people watch them, more and more are being made, and the standard of television is going down,but then the viewers have only themselves to blame for poor shows.

  • rate this

    Comment number 363.


    "Everything is dumbed down and youth culture prevails."

    Nail on the head.

    Therein lies the problem. Too many executives obsessed with making TV attractive to "young people", hence the dross. What about us not so young people? (32 for the record)

  • rate this

    Comment number 362.

    Why doesn't the UK have shows that rival game of thrones, true blood, the sopranos, fringe, the simpsons,family guy, walking dead.

    You had me up until Family Guy. I will be truly sad the day that gets classed as "Good television".

    If you haven't already though, definiely look up Sherlock. Great series.

  • rate this

    Comment number 361.

    There are still very good programmes on TV but you need to look further afield than BBC1 and ITV, try BBC4 for instance.


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