Only Fools and Horses cast, characters, theme and where you can watch it

Only Fools and Horses Del and Rodney

Everything you need to know about the legendary series...

Only Fools and Horses, starring David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst, is one of the greatest comedies of all time.

The BBC sitcom, created by John Sullivan, revolves around market trader Derek 'Del Boy' Trotter (David Jason), his dopey brother Rodney Trotter, and their Grandad (Lennard Pearce). Later Buster Merryfield came into the series as the loveable Uncle Albert.

They were joined by a host of other memorable characters including Trigger, Boycie, Marlene, Denzil, Mike the barman, Mickey Pearce, Raquel and Cassandra.

Here’s everything you need to know about Only Fools and Horses…

When was the fist episode of Only Fools and Horses?

Rodney, Grandad and Del in Only Fools and Horses

Rodders, Del and Grandad in the show's early days

The first ever episode, called Big Brother, went out on 8th September 1981. The opening episode saw us meet the legend that is Trigger for the first time!

How many Only Fools and Horses episodes are there?

64 episodes in total, which were all written by John Sullivan. That figure includes seven series and an incredible 16 Christmas specials! Gold is currently showing episodes.

When was the last episode of Only Fools and Horses?

The final episode went out on 25th December 2003. Called Sleepless in Peckham, the 75 minute special saw Rodney finally becoming a father. Rodney and Cassandra named their daughter Joan after Del and Rodney’s late mother.

Is it on Netflix?

Yes, there's currently four seasons to enjoy on the streaming service.

Is Only Fools and Horses on BritBox?

Yes, there are several series on BritBox, including Yuppie Love where Del falls through the bar! We love the way Trigger is so confused about where Del has gone! We have a full list of BritBox shows if you want to check out everything that's on there!

Only Fools and Horses characters…

Del Boy (David Jason)

Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses

Cushty! Del Boy in the 1983 Christmas special, Thicker Than Water

Wheeler dealer, who is always looking out for his younger brother Rodney. Del saw himself - possibly rightly - as the family’s only hope of getting any money. Both Granddad and later Uncle Albert weren’t exactly much help on the cash front. Del had a string of cracking catchphrases including “He who dares, wins!”, “Lovely Jubbly!”, Cushty!” and “You know it makes sense”.

Also when Rodney messed up, he’d famously shout “You Plonker”. Del was constantly getting engaged. Indeed in one of the many great Only Fools and Horses quotes, Rodney joked: “Stone me Del, you’ve been engaged more times than a switchboard.” But Del did eventually meet the love of his life, Raquel Turner. Del was played by James Buckley in prequel Rock & Chips.

Rodney Trotter (Nicholas Lyndhurst)

Rather more sensitive than his big brother, he always feels he’s a little bit different to the rest of his family. We later discover that his real father was Freddie ‘The Frog’ Robdal, a character Nicholas Lyndhurst played in spin off Rock & Chips. Rodney was always trying and normally failing miserably to get a date. But eventually he met his future wife Cassandra and, much to the hilarity of the congregation, we discovered at this wedding his middle name was Charlton!

Grandad (Lennard Pearce)

Grandad was always known as Grandad although his real name was Edward Kitchener “Ted” Trotter. He was loveable but, erm, fairly useless. His uselessness was wonderfully shown in one of the show’s most memorable scenes when the Trotters were hired to clean some chandeliers. In A Touch of Glass, Grandad infamously unscrewed the wrong chandelier, sending it crashing to the floor! Grandad was in the show from 1981 to 1984, when Lennard Pearce sadly died. He was played by ex EastEnders star Phil Daniels in prequel Rock & Chips.

Uncle Albert (Buster Merryfield)

Uncle Albert came into the series following the sad death of Lennard Pearce, who played Grandad. Both Albert and Grandad were the subject of lots of jokes from Del and Rodders, but both were very much loved, although it took a while for the boys to warm to their uncle. Albert Gladstone Trotter, to give him his full name, famously fought in the war. The boys however quipped that he seemed to sink every boat he sailed on!

Trigger (Roger Lloyd-Pack)

Trigger in Only Fools and Horses

Nothing would get past Trigger, erm...

Trigger is without doubt one of the greatest comedy characters. Real name Colin Ball, but known to everyone as Trigger because he’s not exactly the sharpest out of the blocks. One of the great running gags of the show is that he’s always calling Rodney “Dave”. Rodney does try and correct him in one episode, but Trigger is soon back to calling him “Dave”! He was played by Lewis Osborne in spin-off Rock & Chips.

Boycie (John Challis)

Boycie, who has a cracking laugh, is an outright snob. He’s the one going places and he loves selling people dodgy motors from his car dealership. However, Del frequently gets the better of him, including when they both cheat at a game of poker, which ultimately sees Del win. Del also constantly winds Boycie up by flirting with his wife Marlene. Boycie and Marlene were such popular characters they got their own spin off, The Green Green Grass, which ran for four series. In the prequel, Rock & Chips, Boycie was played by Stephen Lloyd.

Marlene (Sue Holderness)

Marlene is the complete opposite of her husband Boycie and enjoys pricking his pride. It’s always hinted at that her and Del might have had an affair at some point. There was, though, a deeper side to Marlene and she was hurt that it looked like she couldn’t have a family. Eventually though she did have a son called Tyler. It's been revealed that Sue Holderness will be enjoying a guest role in EastEnders.

Rodney, Cassandra, Uncle Albert, Raquel and Del

Rodney, Cassandra, Uncle Albert, Raquel and Del

Raquel Turner (Tessa Peake-Jones)

Raquel and Del quickly hit off, only for everything to be ruined when she turned up as a stripper for Uncle Albert! However, the pair eventually reunited and, much to Rodney’s horror, they called their son Damien!

Cassandra (Gwyneth Strong)

Rodney doesn’t have much luck in love until he meets Cassandra. Much to the surprise of his mates, Rodders and Cassandra hit if off together in a club in Yuppy Love. The couple had a baby, Joan, in the show’s final episode.

Denzil (Paul Barber)

Lorry driver Denzil is one of Del’s mate and frequently ends up entangled in Del’s crazy schemes. His wife Corinne was unimpressed by his friendship with Del and she ended up leaving Denzil. Denzil played a key part in many of the show’s most famous episodes, including The Jolly Boys’ Outing. Ashley Jerlach played him in spin of Rock & Chips.

Mickey Pearce (Patrick Murray)

Mickey is a dodgy mate of Rodney’s. Perhaps his most memorable scene came when he was duffed up by the Driscoll Brothers after selling some mobile phones.

Mike the barman (Kenneth MacDonald)

Long-suffering Mike is rather grumpy but basically a nice chap, who is the landlord of the The Nags Head, where Del drinks. Mike spent a lot of time getting agitated over Del’s ever increasing bar bill, which he never seems to pay off. “I’ve got so many of his slates under here I could re-tile my bloody roof,” quipped Mike.

Who sung the Only Fools and Horses theme tune?

The show’s creator John Sullivan sung the theme tune. The famous lyrics include the line “why do only fools and horses work?” The first series actually had a different theme, which was composed by Ronnie Hazlehurst. Ronnie also composed the themes for classics like Yes, Prime Minister and Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em. However, John Sullivan made the switch to his famous theme for the second series onwards.

Who has died from Only Fools and Horses?

Sadly, many of the stars of the show have now passed away. Lennard Pearce, who played grandad, died aged 69 in 1984. Buster Merryfield, who played Uncle Albert, died aged 78 in 1999. Kenneth MacDonald, who played Mike the barman, died aged 50 in 2001. Roger Lloyd-Pack, who played Trigger, died aged 69 in 2014. The show’s creator John Sullivan died aged 64 in 2011.

Only Fools and Horses car

The boys drove a three-wheel Reliant Regal van. One of the vans used made a stunning £37,000 at auction in 2017!

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!