Only Fools and Horses doc reveals sitcom's quick-thinking costume department saved blow-up sex dolls episode from axe

Only Fools and Horses doc reveals sitcom's quick-thinking costume department saved blow-up sex dolls episode from axe


THE Only Fools And Horses costume department deserves free drinks at The Nag’s Head for life after saving a classic episode from being axed before it was even broadcast.

It has been revealed that a batch of blow-up sex dolls that Del Boy wanted to sell had to have a facelift to make them look more family-friendly.

Writer John Sullivan, who died in 2011, was so worried about the BBC canning the footage he kept details of the plot secret from comedy chiefs.

The show’s art director Alison Rickman reveals in a new documentary: “That whole episode was kept hush-hush because they were very frightened of being censored and then being told they couldn’t do it.

“Most blow-up dolls have an open mouth.

"But we couldn’t show that, so somebody altered the faces to make them more suitable for television because we knew we wouldn’t be able to broadcast it, and we wanted to do the gag which involved the dolls and them being inflated.

“That was an important for part of the whole story.” In the 1989 episode, called Danger UXD, the knock-off dolls that market trader Del hoped to flog were, unbeknown to him, filled with toxic gas.

Del Trotter and brother Rodney, played by Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst, try to sneak them out of their flat in Nelson Mandela House before they explode, disguising them in their late mother’s clothes so they don’t look like a “couple of perverts”.

Del nicknamed two of the dolls Pepsi and Shirlie after the Eighties pop act who started out as backing singers for WHAM!

And one half of the duo, Shirlie Kemp, says it was one of her career highlights. Speaking on Channel 5’s We Love Only Fools And Horses, which is available on catch-up, she said: “My house phone did not stop ringing.

I had so many people telling me ‘You’re on Only Fools And Horses’. I had more calls than when I had a hit record.

“In a funny way I felt really proud that I was on Only Fools And Horses — even if I was a blow-up doll.” There are certainly a lot worse claims to fame.

Jo to return to EastEnders

EASTENDERS star Jo Joyner wants to return as Tanya Branning and hopes bosses don’t kill off the character before she has the chance.

The actress, who left in 2018, told the Distinct Nostalgia podcast: “Yes, I would [come back] one day. But I may well die as well. I’m at the mercy of scripts.”

David Eyes an Oscar

SIR David Jason still has a dream he hopes to fulfil – winning an Oscar.

At 80, he wants to follow in the footsteps of British TV favourites Olivia Colman, Dame Judi Dench and Dame Helen Mirren who triumphed in Hollywood.

He has already won four Baftas, including the Fellowship, and seven NTAs. But he admitted in his autobiography A Del Of A Life that he considers an Academy Award “the one little statuette missing”.

Sir David told me: “All I need is for people to give me a break and get me set off on the path of my new movie career.

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I’ll never stop trying to achieve an Oscar. If I did get a good character role in a big movie, who knows? The sky’s the limit. Oscars are not out of the question.”

After putting Peckham on the map, I would love to see Sir David take over Tinseltown.

Jameela’s returns to hosting

JAMEELA Jamil has given up on acting.

The former T4 presenter, who appeared in The Good Place, said: “My heart has gone back to hosting and I’m enjoying interviewing again.

"For acting to come back into my life, it would have to be an unbelievably special role, where I felt like there was a bigger purpose in it.”

Beeb habit of success with nuns

IT looks like the BBC has found an unlikely formula to guarantee Christmas ratings success – nuns.

Three of its biggest festive hits have featured them, with Call The Midwife’s seasonal special leading the way.

The latest antics from the East End holy order and its midwives was the second most-watched show on Christmas Day.

It was pipped to top spot by the Queen’s speech and recorded peak ratings of 5.7million viewers.

Then Beeb schedulers had more success on Sunday by putting 1965 classic film The Sound Of Music on before the first instalment of Gemma Arterton's Black Narcissus, about a group of nuns in Nepal, which finished last night.

Both the wholesome family musical, featuring Julie Andrews as nun Maria, and the erotic thriller got big ratings, peaking at 5.7million and 5.3million respectively.

Look out for the BBC trying to slip them into all its festive favourites next Christmas. I can’t wait for Strictly Nun Dancing.

Jo's age concern at Gavin & Stacey

GAVIN & Stacey actress Joanna Page hopes she won’t have to hang on too long for the show to make its eagerly awaited return.

She is trying to avoid “pestering” co-stars and creators James Corden and Ruth Jones, but told me: “I hope if they do another one that it’s going to be quite soon – because otherwise we will all look too old.”

Joanna added: “I’m just the same as everyone. I just wait until I get a phone call and then I find out.

“But I’m quite happy carrying on the rest of my life thinking I don’t know if there will be another one or not.”

However, the Welsh star was more confident that Gavin & Stacey would never make the leap on to the big screen.

She added: “We’ve all sort of said we can’t imagine doing a film – unless it was set in Spain somewhere when there’s no Covid at all and we could go over there for a month and sunbathe and just do a bit of filming.

“That would be fine. I’d quite enjoy doing that.”
I’m not sure if Benidorm is much of an upgrade from Barry, though.

Jodie tears at farewell

THERE won’t be a dry eye in the Tardis when Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole depart Doctor Who on New Year’s Day.

They play the Doctor’s companions Graham and Ryan, along with Mandip Gill as Yaz.

Speaking about filming festive special Revolution Of The Daleks, Time Lord Jodie Whittaker revealed: “Both of them had to carry me to my trailer.

"I’ve not cried like that for such a long time. Brad couldn’t cope with it at all and Tosin said he really couldn’t cope with me getting so upset. I was wailing.”

She added to What’s On TV: “I felt incredibly bereaved.”

Amber Gill's weight loss reveal

AMBER GILL proudly poses in a bikini after losing 17lb in six weeks.

But the 2019 Love Island winner reassured fans who may also have over- indulged during the Covid restrictions that she didn’t hate her fuller figure.

Alongside these before and after pictures on Instagram, Amber said: “Guys, look at this. I lost my lockdown weight!

“I’m so proud of my little transformation. I didn’t really intend on losing a load of weight, just wanted to start feeling better.”

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