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24 September 2014
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BBC ONE celebrates 21st birthday of Only Fools and Horses

To celebrate the "coming of age" of Only Fools and Horses, BBC ONE is transmitting the first ever episode of the classic series.

Originally broadcast 21 years ago on 8 September 1981, the episode brought together the writing and wonderful characterisations of John Sullivan and the incredible chemistry of David Jason, Nicholas Lyndhurst and Lennard Pearce as Grandad.

The episode, entitled Big Brother, introduced the Trotter family and Del Boy's cod philosophy to over nine million viewers.

Little did anyone know that, 20 years later, 21 million people would be sitting down on Christmas Day to see Del and Rodney still chasing their millions (but this time they had actually made the money, only to have lost it again).

Over the 21 years the loveable characters had ducked and dived into many scrapes, always coming up smelling of roses.

Del's wonderful way with words generated many fans as he spouted his advice and titbits of wisdom.

The "he who dares wins" attitude infuriated and irritated his family and friends but his cheeky cockney charm always won them over.

The series took its time to find its audience but a second series was commissioned and gradually the public grew to love the character and the world he lived in.

In Big Brother Del is convinced he is on to a winner with Trigger's consignment of briefcases.

What he doesn't realise is none of them open leaving him with a load of "hooky gear".

Meanwhile his younger brother Rodney is thinking of giving up trading to pursue a real job.

During the transmission of the first series there were many enquiries on what "Only Fools and Horses" meant.

John Sullivan never liked the theme tune for the first series and had written a new one that he claimed explained the meaning behind the title.

He persuaded the producer to use it for the second series; but viewers can once again hear the original theme as it is revived to celebrate the birthday of a true gem.

Chas and Dave had planned to sing on the new theme tune but their record hit the top of the charts leaving John Sullivan to do the singing - something he had not anticipated.

Only Fools and Horses - Series 1, Episode 1, Big Brother
Sunday 8 September 2002, BBC ONE, 6.05pm



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