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 500.

    #490 Farmer Joe
    What is the obsession with innovating?

    Television executives should give the people what THEY want, not what the execs. want to dole out.

    -So, anyone for public executions live from Saudi Arabia, or another dictatorship? Sponsored by Gillette perhaps?
    Not pc?
    Thats how it used to be!

  • rate this

    Comment number 499.

    Why do people complain about PC? There is plenty of irreverent stuff on TV, It's almost as if these people mean something else than PC.

  • rate this

    Comment number 498.

    Bring back Mr Bean

  • rate this

    Comment number 497.

    He has a point. With virtually all mainstream art - TV, movies, music, computer games - refusing to push things forward, instead going for the safe option every time, the endless remakes and spin-offs are getting very repetitive. I know original stuff is out there, but this can be hard to find, and it rarely gets the support it needs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 496.


    The only programme of note in your list is The Office, the others are truly dire, especially Miranda...a 'comedy' I find absolutely revolting which merely panders to the 'we are funny too' pathetic feminist sentiment.

    At the time The Office was a hidden gem with low ratings and it took a re-run after a lot of word of mouth promotion for it to be a hit.

    I agree with Rodders!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 495.

    I rarely watch anything unless it is on the BBC iPlayer and even that is rare, most of the programmes are repeats.

    The best shows for me are from the US by far, nothing compares that is made in the UK, it just looks so cheap when we do it.

  • Comment number 494.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 493.

    He is absolutely spot-on. TV is now all about instant gratification or bust! There are some very good shows out there, but the bulk is cheap no-mark celebrity focused mind-addling nonsense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 492.

    Those who rated #7 Denaris down, didn't realise he was being ironic.
    Surely he was????
    Who wants to pay for 20-30 mins of advertising an hour?

  • rate this

    Comment number 491.

    The discussuions around the quality of the humour in recent shows has rather missed the point that Lyndhurst was making. Shows such as Little Britain, The Office,Alan Partridge,The Thick of it, all take risks with alienating part of their audience.They may or may not fit with one persons taste in humour, but that is the point about taking risks. Sticking with the OFAH formula is just the opposite.

  • rate this

    Comment number 490.

    What is the obsession with innovating?

    Television executives should give the people what THEY want, not what the execs. want to dole out.

    Those at the BBC in particular need to reminded who their paymasters are....

  • rate this

    Comment number 489.

    What a dismal shower of ill-informed gibberish. The unemployed / unemployable aged UKIP members on here need a grumble on a wet day but in fact its bright & clear right across the country.

    Why don't you go out and complain about the litter or the pollen or the fact that you can't hear the words in modern songs & how we need national service for people who aren't white? Might cheer you up

  • rate this

    Comment number 488.

    TV has become stale with a constant diet of reality shows and soaps. There is very little new cutting edge stuff these days and when something does come along it only usually survives one or two series. Almost every subject is no out of bounds for comedy so it is unlikely we will see shows like Steptoe & Son, Young Ones or Goodness Gracious Me ever again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 487.

    I think he is right. I have seen a few new UK sitcoms recently that I am sure have not remotely matched talent show ratings. They may even have been a bit weak but then isn't this his point that so was Only Fools and Horses at the start? It developed into something much better over time but would probably be killed off after one series now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 486.

    This is something I've been thinking for a while now. I was thinking why is there nothing outstandingly engaging nowadays like the classics Only Fools, Dad's Army, more recently Father Ted and Red Dwarf. There is little on at the moment I would say could stand the test of time.
    One previous comment mentioned Horizon. That used to be an hour of entertaining education but not really any more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 485.

    While I agree with the general argument about declining standards in television (mainly to please advertisers), we shouldn't be overly nostalgic about the past.

    We can all list great sitcoms and dramas from past decades, but there was also a lot of mediocre TV as well. Talent shows are nothing new - New Faces and Opportunity Knocks lasted for many years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 484.

    Too many channels!
    There's only so many types of programmes/subjects so: tv is repetitive, dumbed down and is often just an interruption for advertising, either commercials or other programmes, products or services by the broadcaster.

  • rate this

    Comment number 483.

    Whenever you see the word 'Celebrity' in a shows title, e.g. "Celebrity Come Dine With Me" or "Celebrity Come Dancing" or "Celebrity Master Chef" try substituting it with another word beginning with 'C'. You'll get a better feeling what the show is really about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 482.

    What we need on TV are MORE repeats.

    Only Fools and Horses and innumerable others garner only a niche audience in their first run ... but word of mouth sells such shows, and more people (both original viewers and others) tune in for prime-time re-runs.

    More recently, Miranda - the first series passed me by; only when repeated did I latch on to it, and later series were "must see" events.

  • rate this

    Comment number 481.

    @ 463.lenkel
    I have to agree with you, the office is an example of the cringe making style of comedy that appears to be all the rage nowadays-singularly notable for not being funny at all!!


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