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Les Plonquers - A Van Inferior

By Stewart Payne, The Telegraph, December 6, 2002

As Del Boy might have put it in Only Fools and Horses, the idea was one of the best . . . la crème de la menthe.

But as with most of Derek Trotter's money-making schemes in the television comedy, it ended not in untold riches but in farce.

The idea was to travel to France in the famous clapped-out Reliant bearing the legend "Trotter's Independent Trading Company - New York, Paris, Peckham", dressed as Batman and Robin - in homage to one of the most famous Christmas specials. The purpose was to bring back a consignment of Beaujolais Nouveau to raise money for Great Ormond Street hospital, London.

But, perhaps predictably, the van blew a gasket on a motorway and haughty French mechanics said it wasn't worth repairing.

It wasn't Del Boy and Rodney, however, but two fans of the programme using one of the original vans made famous in the series. "It was a case of real life imitating fiction and we were the ones left feeling like plonkers," said Peter Nelson, who has two of the Reliants in his museum in Keswick, Cumbria.

"The French garage couldn't understand when we told them the Reliant was famous. It took a lot of phone calls to the AA before we got the Supervan brought home."

Mr Nelson and his travelling companion Richard Rushman have discovered that this year's Only Fools and Horses Christmas special revolves around the Trotters going to France.

A BBC spokesman said: "They take the Reliant and come back with an unexpected cargo but we don't want to give too much away."

Only Fools Tops Christmas Poll!

04 December 2002

Only Fools And Horses, the comedy centred around Peckham entrepreneur Del Boy Trotter and family, has been voted the best Christmas TV in a poll.

Two episodes of the BBC comedy won the top two places in the poll.

And another two featured in the top 10 most popular Yuletide TV shows.

The list has been taken from a poll of shoppers at a British department store chain.

The most popular was the 1996 Christmas special where Del Boy (David Jason) and Rodney, played by Nicholas Lyndhurst, dressed up as Batman and Robin for a party but then became accidental crimefighters.

It was followed by the episode Miami Twice, where Del is mistaken for a mafia drug lord when the family go on holiday to Florida.

In seventh and ninth places were a 1989 episode where Rodney gets arrested on a trip to Margate, and 1985's To Hull And Back, where the Trotters travel to Holland on an abortive gem-smuggling trip.

No more Only Fools, says writer

22 October 2002

The creator of Only Fools And Horses says the Christmas episodes are likely to be the last outing for the Trotters. The BBC will show two new episodes of the comedy during the festive season.

John Sullivan says he doesn't expect to write any more episodes of the TV show. "You never say never," he tells this week's TV Times. "But I can't see us doing any more after these two episodes." Sullivan has revealed he is working on a new book about Del Boy: "I'm going back to 1962 and concentrating on the Trotters' mother and father. Del will feature - as a mod."

David Jason Wins NTA Comedy Award

15 October 2002

David Jason was a double winner tonight as he landed the top comedy performer prize and beat late Inspector Morse star John Thaw to the best actor accolade.

He landed this acting honour for the third year in a row, while his revival of Only Fools and Horses last year marked his return to comedy.

Home mini-bar is 'ultimate in bad taste'

07 October 2002

A bar in the corner of the room as made famous by Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses is the ultimate in bad taste, according to a survey.

The curved counter to serve drinks from is seen as the worst item to have in the home, the poll found.

Despite being popular in the 60s and 70s, 20% of those polled says a bar in the front room is the most vulgar item to have in the house now.

Other questionable decorations from Del Boy's flat also feature in the list.

Woodchip, flowery and flock wallpaper are also seen as tasteless with 19%, 15% and 10% respectively.

Fifth place, with 7%, went to porcelain ornaments, while the remainder were undecided.

Perry Aghajanoff, president of the Only Fools and Horses Official Appreciation Society, believes the mini bar at home should be more appreciated.

"I think we should all have one. It's a great addition to the home and useful too," said the founder of the fan club who says he owns a corner bar himself.

"They were a big hit in the 60s and 70s and you can understand why."

The survey of 1,000 people also asked what were the most desirable items to have in the home. A third of people want a swimming pool, followed by 14% who say a state-of-the-art television system, the same amount think a personal gym or sauna and 9% think a spa pool.

That'll be one Del of a hit

By Simon Wheeler, The Sun, October 6, 2002

BLIMEY, Del! The theme tune to TV’s Only Fools And Horses has been turned into a GARAGE song — and is set to be a huge hit.

After 21 years the classic comedy’s creator John Sullivan, who wrote and sang the original tune, has finally given the nod for a remix to be released as a single.

The move came after unknown duo Ginja and Lee-O made the garage version and received rave reviews when it was played on pirate radio stations near their home in Tooting, South London.

BBC Music fought off major record labels to sign up the pair.

The song, called Del Boy’s Theme, will be released next month. And this time next year Ginja, 23, and Lee-O, 24, could be millionaires.

Cast members John Challis (Boycie), Sue Holderness (Marlene) and Patrick Murray (Mickey Pearce) will appear in the video.

But Del Boy actor David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst, Del’s “plonker” brother Rodney, turned down the chance to take part.

Ginja said: “I knew I could do something funny with the Only Fools theme tune — and reach a lot more people with our music.”

Only Fools And Horses in pipeline for Christmas

16 September 2002

The last two episodes of Only Fools And Horses could be shown on BBC1 this Christmas. The shows are part of a trilogy that started last Christmas. According to John Challis, who plays Boycie, one episode may be screened on Christmas Day and the other on New Year's Day. The actor told Teletext: "The two episodes are really back to the traditional ducking and diving of the old shows. "They're full of misunderstandings and things going wrong." A BBC spokesman said it is a possibility that the shows will be aired over the festive period.


The People, 25 August, 2002

COPS seized more than £100,000-worth of fake Levi jeans and computer games from real-life Del Boys in a dawn raid - codenamed Operation TROTTER. Six people were arrested for copyright offences as more than 70 officers swooped on East London's Hackney Wick market. Three months were spent planning the raid on traders in dodgy goods - like TV's Del, played by David Jason. One cop said: "We were targeting the Del Boys of this world so it seemed appropiate we should call the operation after him."


By Nathan Yates, The Mirror, July 27, 2002

ACTOR Tony Anholt - star of TV series Howard's Way - has died of a brain tumour at 61.

Anholt played handsome, silver-tongued, womanising bachelor Charles Frere in the yachting drama set on the banks of the River Hamble in Hampshire. But, off screen, his own conquests were rumoured to "rival Casanova".

In the late 80s, when the show was at its peak, he caused a scandal when he ditched his wife for his screen lover Tracey Childs, 24 years his junior.

He was well known to TV detective fans as the suave Frenchman Paul Buchet in The Protectors, with Robert Vaughn. He also appeared in Only Fools and Horses (as Abdul in To Hull and Back), detective series Juliet Bravo and Coronation Street.

Peckham Rock' Raises Money For Area

06 May 2002

An Only Fools And Horses fan is raising money for his community by selling Peckham rock. Mark Folds made 1,000 pink sticks of rock which are marked with the phrase: "I love Peckham." He's selling them for £3 each in sweet shops near his home in Peckham. Profits go to community projects in the south-east London area. The 38-year-old says he may produce more sticks after selling 250 in one month. He told The Sun: "I don't know what Del Boy would make of it - but people round here can't get enough of them. "Everyone associates rock with seaside towns like Blackpool or Brighton - why not inner-city Peckham?" Newsagent Chetna Patel, 38, said: "Kids love it and even their mums are buying it."

Only Fools And Horses episodes 'will definitely by the last'

14 April 2002

David Jason says this year's Christmas episodes of Only Fools And Horses will definitely be the last. The comedy attracted 20 million viewers when it was revived for a one-off last year for the first time since 1996. The BBC will screen two more episodes this Christmas. But Jason told the Sunday People: "We love the show but there will be no more. "This time it really is the end." In the final two shows, the Trotters go to France for a reunion of Uncle Albert's wartime friends and then face eviction from their flat.

Only Fools And Horses revelation to mark final episode

4 April 2002

Del-Boy and Rodney Trotter will discover they have different fathers in the final episode of Only Fools And Horses, according to reports. Rodney will find out his real dad was a gangster called Freddy The Frog. The episode was filmed last week and is likely to be broadcast over Christmas. Del-Boy will reveal he knew about Rodders father but was too scared to tell him. The episode shows the two brothers struggling to overcome huge debts after blowing a fortune.

We were most amused, Queen Mum's comedy faves revealed

March 31, 2002

The Queen Mother's favourite comedies have been revealed. Amid the saturation media coverage of her death at the age of 101 yesterday is a revealing insight into her TV tastes. According to former confidant Lord Charteris, the Royal was a great fan of comedies. Her favourites were said to be Only Fools And Horses, Dad's Army and All Gas And Gaiters. The latter was a gentle sitcom set in a cathedral, which ran from 1966 to 1971 and starred Derek Nimmo as the bumbling Rev Mervyn Noote. Lord Chateris, a former royal adviser and Provost of Eton, reminisced about the Queen Mother before his death in December 1999, but his comments have been revived for the royal obituaries. The Queen Mother's liking of comedy was also evident in a previous award of her Fellowship - and annual award for reviews of subjects which were believed to be of particular interest to her. In 1999, it was presented to Sir Kenneth Calman for his study of Storytelling, Humour and Learning in Medicine.

Only Fools And Horses cast head to France for next special

5 March 2002

Del Boy and Rodney will accidentally bring a stowaway back from France in the show's next special. The episode of Only Fools And Horses reportedly sees them going across the Channel. The pair join a reunion of Uncle Albert's wartime pals and try to smuggle home cheap booze on the way back. The new episode also stars former Z Cars actor James Ellis, reports The Sun. It is due to go out on BBC1 later this year. The show's Christmas special boosted the BBC in the ratings war, with more than 20 million viewers.

Trotters' three-wheeler named favourite car on TV

4th March 2002

Del Boy Trotter's three-wheeler has been named the UK's favourite on-screen car. The yellow Reliant Robin in BBC1's Only Fools And Horses finished ahead of James Bond's motors and the Batmobile. Second in the poll, commissioned by Nescafe Original, was Kitt - the computerised car from 80s TV series Knight Rider. The Robin was born in 1973 to follow the company's other three-wheelers, which were often figures of fun in the motor industry. The final Robin rolled off the production line a year ago, but another firm has since stepped in to take over their manufacture. Third in the poll was the DeLorean driven by Michael J Fox in the Back To The Future trilogy. Nescafe bosses are hoping the afro-sporting Ford Cortina from their current ad campaign will become one of the nation's favourites.

Top 10:
1. Reliant Robin (Only Fools And Horses)
2. Kitt (Knight Rider)
3. DeLorean (Back To The Future)
4. VW Beetle (Herbie movies)
5. Aston Martin (Goldfinger)
6. GMC Truck (The A Team)
7. Batmobile (Batman)
8. Lotus 7 (The Prisoner)
9. Mini (Mr Bean)
10. Ferrari 308 (Magnum PI).

David Jason shows join soaps in top TV of 2001 list

28th January 2002

David Jason stopped Britain's top two soaps dominating last year's TV ratings. The Only Fools And Horses Christmas episode beat EastEnders and Coronation Street to number one. And A Touch Of Frost was one of only two other shows to join the soaps in the Top 10. Heartbeat squeezed into 10th place, according to new figures published by Broadcast magazine. EastEnders beat Corrie with its top-rated episode registering almost four million more viewers than the most-watched episode of its Granada rival. A staggering 20.05 million people tuned in for the revelation that Lisa shot Phil Mitchell. Coronation Street's top audience was 16.2 million, when three middle-aged men squabbled over the ownership of the Rovers Return.

The full Top 10 is:
1. Only Fools And Horses 21.35 million
2. EastEnders (Thurs) 20.05 million
3. EastEnders (Mon) 16.60 million
4. EastEnders (Tues) 16.34 million
5. Coronation Street (Mon) 16.22 million
6. Coronation Street (Wed) 16.18 million
7. Coronation Street (Sun) 15.57 million
8. Coronation Street (Fri) 14.76 million
9. A Touch Of Frost 14.69 million
10. Heartbeat 13.82 million.

Click on a link to go directly to a news article

Les Plonquers - A Van Inferior

Only Fools Tops Christmas Poll!

No more Only Fools, says writer

David Jason Wins NTA Comedy Award

Home mini-bar is 'ultimate in bad taste'

That'll be one Del of a hit

Only Fools And Horses in pipeline for Christmas

olice Raid Del Boy's In Street Trader Swoop

TV Tony Dies Of Tumour

Peckham Rock' Raises Money For Area

Only Fools And Horses episodes 'will definitely by the last'

Only Fools And Horses revelation to mark final episode

We were most amused, Queen Mum's comedy faves revealed

Only Fools And Horses cast head to France for next special

Trotters' three-wheeler named favourite car on TV

David Jason shows join soaps in top TV of 2001 list