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Fools and Horses: The Nag’s Head

Following the ups and downs in the lives of market trader Derek "Del Boy" Trotter and his younger brother Rodney, Only Fools and Horses is one of Britain’s best-loved sitcoms. Beginning in 1981, the series ran continually for 10 years on BBC1, attracting 24.3 million viewers. It was followed by numerous Christmas specials until 2003.

Only Fools and Horses Cast

Despite operating their business from a cramped flat in Peckham, Del is always hopeful they will hit the big time one day. Finally, writer John Sullivan allowed Del's hopes to come true, when he and Rodders made millions selling a rare timepiece originally dismissed as junk.

The Trotters endeared themselves to the viewing public, not least because the script was cleverly written to depict them as just average working class men, spending their leisure time in the pub with their mates and always dreaming of money-making schemes - most of which ended in disaster!

 

Famous pub

The famous pub where the wheeler-dealer Trotter brothers and their friends spend a lot of time is called The Nag's Head. The landlord for most of the series is the good-natured and gullible Mike Fisher, who falls foul of many of Del's well-meaning, but unsuccessful get-rich-quick schemes.

He buys various goods from Del, the most outrageous of which is a paint-stripper disguised as a hairdryer – he suffered severe burns to his head as a result! Mike himself knew how to make a fast buck, selling a plate of beef stew to his pals for £1 each, but serving the same dish to yuppie customers as "Boeuf Bourguignon" at £2.50 a time!

 

Regulars

Apart from Del Boy and Rodney, the regular customers included the rather dim-witted Colin "Trigger" Ball. A road sweeper by trade, he utters his lines with a deadpan delivery, even when they are the height of utter foolishness.

In one episode, he arrives at the Trotters' flat to get a lift to the Nag's Head - even though he lives closer to the pub than they do and actually has to walk past it to reach their tower-block!

Herman "Boycie" Boyce is a used car salesman who boasts about his lofty social status, as he's a Freemason. His wife Marlene couldn't be more different, as she is sociable, witty and charming.

Boycie, who always orders a large cognac at the bar, is continually outwitted by Del during the banter at the Nag's Head. The other regulars prefer the market trader's down-to-earth attitude, whereas Boycie gives himself airs and graces.

Denzil Tulser is a lorry driver from Liverpool, who is so easy-going that he finds it almost impossible to say "no" to Del's many scams. When Denzil and Del get together at the pub, Denzil usually ends up drunk, or losing money, or both. However, when Denzil's ex-wife points this out, he always replies, "I know - but he's a mate!"

Mickey Pearce is a friend of Rodney's. He’s a modern-day "spiv" who's always bragging about his success with women, or in business, even though there's no substance to his boasts. Although he's Rodney's friend, he often takes advantage of his gullible nature to con him out of money.

In later episodes, Del's girlfriend Raquel and Rodney's wife Cassandra can also be found in the Nag's Head on occasion, although it's more of a traditional male domain.

This is the case when Raquel inadvertently turns up to perform her act as a stripper at the pub - not realising Del is one of the customers. At the time, they haven't known each other long and she's tried to impress him by saying she's an actress - so her act doesn't go down too well with her prospective boyfriend.

 

Famous scenes

The Nag's Head has hosted many memorable moments. When Only Fools and Horses began, Del and Rodders lived with their elderly grandad. Sadly, Pearce (grandad) died in December 1984, so the writers wrote it into the script that grandad died too, rather than have another actor play the role.

His passing was marked in the Nag's Head, when landlord Mike claimed he had opened up early as a "sign of respect" for grandad.

Following their grandad's death, Del and Rodney invite their seafaring Uncle Albert to live with them. He too becomes a regular at the pub, although he drives everyone in the bar crazy with his oft-repeated, exaggerated stories of his life at sea.

In another episode, The Class of '62, unpopular policeman Roy Slater organises a school reunion in The Nag's Head's function room, where there's a small bar area. It's the hub of the local community, hosting plenty of get-togethers.

 

Filming locations

The series was set in Peckham, south-east London, with the Nag's Head being the local pub. However, none of the filming actually took place in Peckham.

The scenes inside the Nag's Head were filmed on location in various pubs in Bristol, Brighton, London, Hull, Ipswich and Salisbury.

Some of the most memorable scenes were filmed at the White Horse Pub in West Street, Bristol. The car park at the back of the White Horse was the filming location of a famous scene where Del was arrested and carted off in a police van.

After Kenneth MacDonald (who played pub landlord Mike) died in 2001, it was decided not to replace him with another actor, as he had made the role his own. Instead, John Sullivan wrote it into the script that Mike had retired from the pub business to move to the Isle of Wight. When Del and Rodders finally became millionaires, they went on to buy the Nag's Head.

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