David Jason refused to rehearse iconic Only Fools and Horses scene ‘Not doing it’July 26, 2022
Only Fools and Horses: Iconic moment Del Boy falls through bar
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Only Fools and Horses was one of the biggest comedy series during the 80s and 90s, with its sketches still remembered to this day. One of the most iconic scenes which audiences still refer back to, saw Del Boy (played by David Jason) falling through a bar whilst trying to pick up women. However, it was recently revealed David didn’t want to rehearse the scene in order to keep it “fresh” for the audience.
The iconic scene was broadcast on January 8 1989, which showed Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter asking Trigger (Roger Lloyd Pack) how to woo “modern Euro-birds”.
He spots two women looking over and tells Trigger: “Play it nice and cool, son, nice and cool – you know what I mean?” before disappearing through the bar.
In Channel 5’s Only Fools and Horses: Secrets and Scandals, many who were involved in the series touched on the iconic scene.
Jeff Stevenson, a warm-up and guest actor on the show, explained: “The shows were getting bigger and bigger and getting a ticket to go and watch Only Fools and Horses was like getting a cup final ticket.
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“It was just a great atmosphere, and the warm-up man, I might add!”
The tickets the audience received were free, but they bought into the show and were stunned at the quick wit and comedy.
During that particular day of filming, the audience didn’t know they were witnessing a scene which would regularly be voted one of the greatest TV moments of all time.
Jeff continued: “The rehearsal was in the afternoon, and I remember David doing it, and I remember Tony coming down and saying, ‘Right can we do that again?’
“And I seem to remember David saying ‘No, we’re not going to do it again, we will do it tonight’ because he wanted to keep it fresh!”
Scott Talbott from the sound department added: “Because we knew what was coming, of course, the audience didn’t.
“We were all just waiting for this, I can still remember just waiting for this particular stunt to happen, knowing that the audience would just fall apart.”
The stunt was pulled off with some clever use of extras to distract the eye, and the result was a piece of exquisitely timed comic affection.
Jeff laughed: “It was just the biggest laugh! I have never heard a laugh like that at the BBC, never heard a laugh like it.”
Trigger’s failure to realise what had happened was as much a part of the scene as Del Boys perfectly executed fall.
However, Trigger was not intended to be in the scene, and when the team bumped into Roger during rehearsals, he was written in.
Author Mike Jones said: “The original script for Yuppy Love, David Jason was standing at the bar by himself.
“And because Roger Lloyd Pack was doing another production at the BBC at the time, he just happened to be around, and he was quickly written into that scene.
“It worked so well because there is that great reaction shot.”
David previously admitted the bar scene came from writer John Sullivan once seeing a man “nearly” fall through a bar hatch.
He said: “John asked me, ‘Shall we do it? I said, ‘Yes, but I’ll fall through the hatch’, and he said, ‘Why?’ and I said, ‘Because it’s really funny, and I know it works.’”
Only Fools and Horses: Secrets and Scandals is available to watch on My5.
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