Meet The Trotters
This article is pending translation
Have you ever wondered what the best sitcom was back in 1982, spanning seven series lasting up until 2003 with many Christmas specials?
Well I certainly did, and can tell you now, it was Only Fools And Horses.
Writer John Sullivan was born on the 23 December 1946 and sadly passed away on the 23 April 2011.
Sullivan was an English television scriptwriter who was responsible for several popular British sitcoms, including Only Fools And Horses.
However, from an early age he had worked on various sets for the BBC and wrote scripts to pitch to the BBC, though many were rejected.
John was from south London and a working-class man who worked low-paid jobs for 15 years from market stalls to car lots, working from the age of 15.
You may be wondering why I’m writing about Only Fools and what’s so special about it to me. It has always depicted a working society with a family feeling, with the series being based on real life experiences, from depression to money issues, deaths and pregnancies.
When John Sullivan casted the show, David Jason was known for Open All Hours and the BBC were against him playing the part as they had never seen him in a leading role. However, Ray Butt, a producer, fought for his rights to play the main part as Del Boy. What confuses me more is that Nicholas Lyndhurst was casted firs,t followed by Lennard Pearce, then David Jason.
What made Only Fools for me were Lennard Pearce and Buster Merryfield. Both stars have now sadly passed away. Lennard Pearce, who played the character Grandad, passed away 15 December 1984 leaving them halfway through a series with no means to carry on. They felt the best way was to give Grandad a funeral and this was when we were introduced to Buster Merryfield, or Uncle Albert as we know him. Uncle Albert was only introduced to complete the remaining series. As viewing numbers grew, the BBC granted further episodes. The first episode brought in viewers ratings of seven million.
Episodes progressed to introducing characters such as Damien, Raquel and Cassandra. But how did John Sullivan depict these characters to fit into the Trotter household? That was easy, they just had to be as mad as the other Trotters. Picturing Damien as this evil child broke up the tension between all the characters through all these different episodes.
Here is how John Sullivan broke down his life to incorporate it into Only Fools:
- The episode with the air raid shelter was based on the Soviet War
- When Uncle Albert fell down the cellar, John Sullivan’s great grandfather had also experienced this
- Del Boy's French phrases come from one of John Sullivan’s bosses. When John was 15 working at a car lot his boss used Latin phrases on customers
But where are the wheeler dealers now? Well, once a year the Trotters go on tour, meeting fans throughout the country and bringing parts of the set with them. This gives fans a chance to see what the atmosphere felt like and to carry on bringing the younger generation to Only Fools.
Part of the tour includes the tour bus that was featured in the episode called A Slow Bus To Chingford. In this episode Del saw a gap in the tourist market and wanted to highlight the romantic places you've heard about in fairytales. Places like the Lee Valley Viaduct or Lower Edmonton at dusk.
However, nothing for a Trotter goes right and hiccups occurred running this highly priced bus service. Also as part of the tour we are able to see Grandad’s and Albert’s chair and TV sets. The best part of the tour has to be meeting the cast and autograph signing and also seeing people turn up as Del Boy, Grandad and many other characters.
My conclusion is laughter is always the greatest remedy and Only Fools And Horses will always have a space in my DVD collection to keep me smiling. But to see a writer turn his past life into what I would call artistic work, now that’s genius.
To turn a modern day family in to the next generation, it’s the society we live in today we would do anything to earn a bit of money. Just to be able to think every time I watch the show, these are events we encounter in day to day life.