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Comedy Connections: Only Fools and Horses


We have produced a Style Guide to help editors follow a standard format when editing a listing. If you are unsure how best to edit this programme please take a moment to read it.
Not only did the hugely successful series come within a whisker of not being made, but the BBC wanted to pull the show after initially poor ratings.
Last in the series, which is scheduled to return next year.
Director Graeme Hart; Producer Toby Stevens (S) (W)
A 1991 episode of Only Fools and Horses is showing Wednesday at 9pm
David Jason, one of TV's national treasures: page 14
John Sullivan: Face of the Week, page 51

Today's Choices: Comedy
Comedy Connections 10.35pm BBC1
Week after week this splendid series delivers pointed cautionary tales about how the great sitcoms were born. Every episode I've seen has included a moment where the classic-to-be was almost pulled off the air, before being granted a reprieve by BBC bosses. And there's always a talking head on screen to point out that these days a new sitcom wouldn't get that second chance.
This week we're charting the rise of the "undisputed heavyweight champion of sitcom", Only Fools and Horses. And yes, it was nearly axed, until a technicians' strike meant it got repeated in a different time slot and finally found an audience in its third series. More astonishingly, David Jason only got the role of Del Boy because Jim Broadbent was unavailable, which conjures up an alternative universe, where Broadbent becomes a television National Treasure, while Jason goes into movies and wins an Oscar.
There are other revelations here: we see a tantalising glimpse of Nicholas Lyndhurst as a child actor trying a Canadian accent in a tea-time serial. (I'd never realised what a posh voice Lyndhurst has in real life.) There's a reminder, too, that part of what makes Jason's collapsing-through-the-bar-hatch moment so perfect is the sublime reaction from Roger Lloyd Pack as Trigger. One gripe: the programme's funky 3D graphics with cut-out pictures and coloured arrows are a neat trick, but they're overused. Show us more clips instead. (David Butcher)
David Jason, one of TV's National Treasures: page 14


Director: Graeme Hart
Producer: Toby Stevens

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