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Only Fools and Horses’ most poignant moments

Lovely blubbly

Only Fools and Horses’ most poignant moments
23 March 2012

Derek Trotter oozes funny, he leaks it from his pores, he can deliver a classic comedy moment with a look - the man merely falls through a bar and it is universally acknowledged as the funniest thing that has ever happened in the history of mankind. Yet here's the thing, Only Fools And Horses is one of the only British sitcoms that can just as easily make you go Boba (Fett, wet) around your mince (pies, eyes), through a touching moment as it can through uncontrollable laughter…

(Once you're done blubbing why not cheer yourself up with our OFAH best one liners, right here.)

1. A child is born

Del looks to the stars and talks to his dead mother, holding his new born son for the first time. He then promises his boy he'll give him everything he never had. A truly moving speech, and the only real occasion Del admits to being a bit of a failure. "I wanted to do things, be someone, but I never had what it took. But you, you're different. You're gonna live my dreams for me. You're gonna do all the things I wanted to do, and you're gonna come back and tell me if they're as good as I though they would be..." A wonderful moment, delivered to perfection by such a wonderful actor.

2. Cassandra loses her baby

The ultimate example of how Fools and Horses manages to tackle heart breaking moments and somehow still be hilarious. Having just learned that his wife has lost their baby, Rodney struggles to pluck up the courage to go be with Cassandra. "What the bloody hell am I gonna say to her?" he says, and for once Del holds back the killer one liner. The script is amazing here – writer John Sullivan is cleverly just using the emotion to build up to one enormous gag, before bringing it back to a scene that reminds us, as daft as he is, Del's a good man, a great bloke.

3. The Lift

Following Cassandra's miscarriage, Rodney's marriage is falling apart, and to make matters worse he finds himself stuck in a lift with his idiot brother. Trapped between floors in Mandela House, Del forces Rodders to tackle his grief. Rodney opens up more than at any other moment in the show's history, before Del turns the lift back on, revealing it had never been broken in the first place. A wonderful heart-to-heart revealing just how much Del loves his Rodney.

4. Standing Ovation

It's finally "that time next week", the Trotters have made it as millionaires, and for the characters and viewer alike it feels like the end of an era. As the Trotters enter the Nags Head to silence, there's a real sense that everything has changed, nothing about this scenario that we have all loved for so long can ever be the same again. Then, suddenly there's this standing ovation from all the regulars, and something about it just chokes us up. Roll the credits chaps! God, roll the bleedin' credits, quick!

5. Granddad’s funeral.

The thing about this scene is that you and every viewer knows that just days before shooting this, the same group of mourners had been at Lennard Pearce's actual funeral, saying goodbye to the actor behind Granddad. You can see the hurt of the cast in their faces, particularly Trigger. There's just the right amount of humour, and if you pause it at the right moment, a lovely touch on the flowers, with a note reading, "Always in our foughts, love Del Boy & Rodney."

6. Uncle Albert's ashes

Following the real life death of Buster Merryfield, John Sullivan sent the Trotters to the French village where Albert had been stationed for a time during the war. They find an entire town inhabited by bald men with white beards, but before that classic moment, Del and Rodney deliver Albert's ashes to the ocean he loved. The scene is done in the perfect manner. It's sad, there's a pause for thought, then the humour returns.

7. Holding Back The Years

The only time you'll cry to a Mick Hucknall soundtrack (unless you're forced at gunpoint to go to a Simply Red gig). After Rodney marries Cassandra, Del realises that his little brother has grown up, and he no longer needs him. As one by one everyone leaves the pub, Del is left alone, and lonely, and…. oh God. All together now, "I've wasted all those tears, waaaaasted all those years." If all this wasn't sad enough, there's another killer blow in this truly classic episode...

8. Del takes a beating

Having gone to great lengths to raise the £2000 he owes to some debt collectors, Rodney drunkenly reminds him that he has promised him a deposit for a flat as a wedding present. Rather than let his brother down, Del takes an absolute hiding from "The Driscoll Brothers' thugs". It’s that or break his promise to his younger brother.

9. Granddad remembers

The nuclear bomb shelter episode "The Russians Are Coming" contains many of the first series most memorable moments, and one killer scene. "War is hell," Granddad declares, before recalling his memories of the returning soldiers coming home from The First World War. Without a gag insight he delivers the killer line, "They promised us homes fit for heroes...instead, we got heroes fit for homes."

This amazing moment isn't on YouTube, but totally deserves to be in this list.

10. Albert remembers

In a scene that looks set to be just another mickey take of Albert and his endless war stories, John Sullivan's script takes a completely unpredictable turn away from a punch line. Uncle Albert is showing his medals to Boycie's young baby Tyler and says, "Maybe one day you'll get one of these." You're ready for a punch line, a gag to come out of nowhere, when with perfect timing he says, "...then again, hopefully not." RIP Albert. God bless you and your wonderful upside-down head.