The best Only Fools and Horses characters: 40 funny folk
Celebrating 40 plus years of the very best that Peckham has to offer...
A decent sitcom character needs to be both funny and believable, making it so hard for a writer to create a truly original one. John Sullivan however seemed to find it all too easy.
With idiots firmly rooted in reality, Sullivan’s Only Fools And Horses featured a collection of petty gangsters, spivs, dossers and criminals that we not just laughed at, but somehow knew, like family, like friends.
From the very beginning we were on the side of these losers, chuckling our trousers off with them, even when they did the most terrible and ridiculous things. To think that all these people came out of just one man’s head is frankly unbelievable.
Here’s our top 40, celebrating 40 plus fantastic years of one of the greatest sitcoms of all time.
Best Only Fools And Horses Characters
1. Del Boy
Derek, oh Derek - a dreamer who once fell through a bar in a manner so fantastic that people still talk about it decades later. Such a icon of our nation, he appeared at the Olympics closing ceremony, dressed as Batman. The world shrugged, London laughed.
Peckham's award winning road sweep and perhaps the most stupid man ever to be on TV. What was going on with Trig? In hindsight he must have been ill. "Alright, Dave?" Brilliant.
A loser. A plonker. A right Rodney with a GCE and a criminal record. Nicholas Lyndhurst's cosmic character changed more than most over the years, slowly growing more bitter and broken with every fresh failure. Triffic. Just triffic.
A second hand car dealer who would happily sell his own grandmother if it meant getting one over on a Trotter, or making a few quid. Cigars, cognac, moustache, shiny suits, big dog, Rolls Royce - need we say more?
5. Uncle Albert
With his upside down head and tall tales of sunken sea boats, Albert never failed to entertain. Buster's character may have begun life as a second rate Grandad, shoehorned in after Lennard Pearce's death, but he grew into this big salty Santa, an institution, the most beautiful fool.
A dirty, mean, moany old geezer and arguably Sullivan's most complex character. Like a Saawf Landaan Larry David there was so much wonderful whingeing going on. "Aw, Del." Given half a chance he could be a truly crafty bugger too.
Poor, poor, Denzil. People only ever wanted him for his lorry. Forever in crisis, always getting ripped off, Denzil felt so much pain. He never wanted to get involved in any of Del's scams, always did, "cos Del's a mate."
The long suffering Mrs Boycie. Formerly known as "The Peckham Bicycle", most of Sullivan's male characters had a ride, before Boycie bagged her for good. Amazingly she was only ever spoken of, yet never actually seen until the fourth series.
Del changed her name from Rachel to Raquel, but never from Turner to Trotter. Del's ex stripper, long term girlfriend, never became his wife and was forever left as his "significant other". Hard as nails, funny as hell.
10. Mickey Pearce
Rodney's dodgy mate who looked a bit (no a lot) like a human Roland Rat. Usually up to some scam, never far from being arrested, forever in a pork pie hat. As slippery as an eel in custard.
A big, loveable, gullible fool, and hence Del Boy's favourite customer. Whatever hooky merch there was to sell, the Nags Head landlord seemed to get first dabs. His last name? Fisher. But you knew that...
12. Tony Angelino
A singing dustman who could croon any tune just as long as it didn't have an R in it. "Cwying over you! Crwying over you!" Sing it Tony! Sing it you orange faced lord of the bins!
13. Lennox “The Shadow” Gilbey
A desperate criminal who took The Trotters hostage at gunpoint in Series Five. "I have to do this, I haven't had a job in six years!" Nor has Rodney. "I haven't got a future." Nor has Rodney.
Rodney’s other mate, aside from the infamous Mickey Pearce. It is fair to say that Jevon was a bit of a ladies man. Actor Steven Woodcock would later become “Clyde” in Eastenders. We think he had sex with Michelle and / or Mark Fowler.
15. Alan Parry
Cassandra's dad. Alan was a working class kid, who lived the Trotter dream and got rich through hard graft / a bit of luck. However all he really wanted to do in life was get drunk and eat eels – weirdly jealous of Del.
16. DCI Roy Slater
The perfect villain, and Del Boy's nemesis. He'd slept with Del's girl Raquel, he'd nicked Del countless times, hell, he even managed to be more bent than a Trotter despite being a copper.
A cafe owner so engrained with filth that he was arrested for poisoning his customers on at very least three occasions. Somehow he ended up running the Nag's Head after Mike went to jail. Such a dirty man.
Rodney's better half oozed John Sullivan's dry wit. Posher, smarter, more sensible than Rodney could ever be, she's as solid during the more poignant moments as she is with the comedy put downs.
19. Monkey Harris
Monkey’s magic was all down to the fact that we never actually saw him. Perhaps one of the greatest unseen TV characters ever, alongside Mrs Norm (Cheers), Mrs Columbo (Columbo) and Maris Crane (Frasier).
20. Jumbo Mills
Del's old business partner and co-founder of the failed Eels on Wheels seafood empire. He's also a gloriously bald man in a comedy wig. Jumbo tried to lure the Trotters out of Peckham to a new life in Australia. Failed naturally.
21. Tony Driscoll
The smaller of The Driscoll brothers, Tony provides the real comedy in the Peckham bad boys partnership. Played by Christopher Ryan, who you'll recognise as also being Mike from The Young Ones.
22. Don Vincenzo Occhetti
The other character played by David Jason. A mafia boss / head of the Occhetti Crime Family. "That man, he looka nothing like me," said Vin. "He's taller, skinny." Er, that'll be Rodders mate.
Gary was an illegal immigrant found in Denzil's lorry. All Gary could say was Gary which was why Gary was so funny. Gary! Sometimes Gary could make us laugh before he'd even said Gary. It was all in the anticipation of the Gary.
Denzil's scary wife. Actress Eva Mottley tragically died of a drug overdose in 1985, but John Sullivan kept the character alive off camera, with Denzil often talking about her wicked ways.
A retired jewellery dealer, Arnold was such a great character, it would have been brilliant to see him in more than one episode. The man's heart was a dodgy as his gold chains. A proper cushty git.
A pregnant teenage German au pair, who almost sold her baby boy to Boycie despite it being a girl. Actress Erika Hoffman went on to play Lesley in Brush Strokes. Wasn’t even a real German.
27. Lady Victoria Marsham Hales
A member of the Royal Family who took a shine to Rodders. Del Boy got dizzy with ideas on how this Covington House heiress could help turn The Trotters into millionaires. Appeared in John Sullivan’s least favourite episode.
28. June Snell
Another of Del's ex-girlfriends. Her relationship with Del broke down when she had an affair with his best mate Albie Littlewood. Coincidently Del had been sleeping with Albie's girlfriend Deirdre around the same time. Big hair.
29. Danny Driscoll
A petrifying local gangster, originally written for Anthony Hopkins to play. Story has it that huge Fools fan Hopkins desperately wanted the role, but was too busy filming Silence of The Lambs to be able to take it.
30. Mr Ram
Owner of a chain of south London curry houses, Mr Ram is a cheeky scam artist who plots with Del's Indian chum Vimmal Malik. Ram knows people who know karate. Del meanwhile knows “origami”.
31. Elsie Partridge
Uncle Albert's girlfriend. Partridge can talk to the dead, a power that leads Del Boy to thinking he might have AIDS. Eventually she lures Albert out of Peckham to a new life by the coast.
32. Eugene McCarthy
A vicious Peckham gangster who had a habit of nailing people to doors, but still, you know, he really loved his mum. Rumour had it that the SAS paid Eugene protection money. "Don't disappoint me Del."
33. Auntie Rose
An old lady living in Clacton, who the Trotters wrongly assume to be a long lost relative. "Who are you?" she eventually asks them, after they've stayed an age, the real Auntie Rose having moved home years ago.
34. Dirty Barry
With a name that sounds like it belongs in the Viz Profanisaurus, Dirty Barry ran Peckham’s sex shop. Wikipedia claims the actor behind Barry went on to be in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. He didn’t. It was a different, much less popular Prometheus.
35. Pauline Harris
Del's ex-fiancé, perhaps some kind of relative to Monkey Harris, we're not 100% sure. After her husband Bobby dies, Rodney suspects that she killed him, and fears Del is going to be next on her hit list.
36. Mr Chin
Proprietor of Peckham's Golden Lotus Chinese restaurant, poor old Mr Chin shows too much trust in The Trotters. He has his kitchen painted luminous yellow with some paint stolen by Trigger / Monkey Harris.
37. The Great Raymondo
The gay magician who Raquel reluctantly worked for. Del punched him in Margate. Another Great Raymondo would one day appear in The Simpsons, though we’re not sure if that was out of tribute or coincidence.
38. CID Sandra
The young police officer who briefly dated Rodney much to Grandad’s despair. “One wrong word from that plonker Rodney an’ Del could end up doing five years.”
Del's son may have been a bit of a one trick pony, but what a great trick... freaking out Rodders. We liked him when he was a demon baby from hell, we liked him again when he was older, bullying his plonker face uncle.
40. Reg Trotter
Grandad’s son, Del’s dad, Rodney’s step-father. Reg is mentioned often but appears in just one episode, ‘Thicker Than Water’. Played by Peter Woodthorpe, AKA Gollum in the 1978 Lord of The Rings movie.
- The best Alan Partridge moments: back of the net!
All Image Credits: BBC