The death of Only Fools and Horses writer, John Sullivan on the 23rd April 2011 was a major loss to British Comedy. There were many fans who dreamed that the sitcom would one day make a comeback despite the last episode, Sleepless in Peckham being aired in 2003. Although it was never to be; it has been revealed by Sir David Jason that there was a plan to write at least one more episode.
Talking to Radio 4’s Media Show in 2012, none other than the man who played Derek Trotter himself told us of how John Sullivan was creating a special episode of Only Fools and Horses. Sir David Jason stated:
“The idea of it was Del’s 65th birthday. That was his premise. There was nothing else said. He just wanted to know what I felt. Well, I know Sullivan. I know how he wrote. I just said, “John, You write it and I’ll do it.” I know all of the rest of the team couldn’t wait to get back.”
Judging by that statement, it appears the episode would have likely been filmed. The story was there, and the cast were all willing.
Sir David also suggested that there may have been the possibility of a further episode too after the Del’s 65th birthday based script was screened on our televisions.
Despite Only Fools and Horses being the most popular sitcom in the UK, there is likely to be a divided opinion on whether a comeback special or two would have been a good idea. The series was set to end in 1996 after the episode, Time on Our Hands saw the Trotter’s finally become the millionaires they had always dreamed of. However in 2001, Only Fools made a comeback with the episode, Strangers on the Shore and a following two episodes were shown in 2002, then 2003.
These comeback specials were received with mixed reviews. The Trotter’s had lost all their millions due to poor investment and this did not sit well with a vast amount of the show’s faithful. Furthermore, it can be argued that the standard of comedy was generally not as good as we were used too.
It seems we will only ever be able to imagine Del Boy getting lashed on Cuba Libre’s in the Nag’s Head, celebrating his 65th. Would this make a good episode? Would it have been as funny as the episodes shown in the 80s and 90s?
Although the opinion will be split on whether the comeback special would have been a good idea; it is always an intriguing thought of what the Trotter’s are currently up to these days!