“Only Fools and Horses” is set in Peckham, London, where go-getting chancer Derek “Del Boy” Trotter (David Jason) lives in a flat in Nelson Mandela House with his younger brother Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst) and their feckless Granddad (Lennard Pearce). Del likes to think he has the gift of the gab and is always looking for a money-making opportunity, from posing as a chandelier cleaner to buying a shipment of dangerously defective sex dolls. Del often manipulates Rodney into taking part in his scams, often with the encouragement, “This time next year we’ll be millionaires.”
The show’s cast was rounded out with a gallery of colorful side characters. There is Boycie (John Challis), a snide used car salesman who loves boasting about his comparative wealth; Trigger (Roger Lloyd-Pack), a dimwitted road sweeper whose running gag is constantly calling Rodney “Dave;” and Denzil (Paul Barber), a good-natured Scouse lorry driver who is often the victim of Del Boy’s scams. On top of this, you also have rich recurring characters like DCI Roy Slater (Jim Broadbent), a corrupt policeman, and Del’s old enemy from their school days.
Pearce died during the filming of the fourth season and was replaced by Buster Merryfield as Uncle Albert, a conniving old sea dog with a line in tall war stories. As with many British sitcoms, there was an element of tragedy. Del raised Rodney after the death of their mum and their no-good dad left them to it. While the show has an undercurrent of sadness and failed ambitions, by and large, these elements are played lightly. Even the somber scene at Granddad’s funeral is undercut by a simple but effective gag involving the vicar’s hat.