Fools and Horses: The Time of their Lives!

Imagine having a filing system that's so disorganised that a historic artefact worth a life-changing sum of money is almost discarded like rubbish! If you were an independent trader who made a living out of buying and selling various items, this would be just about the worst storage and cataloguing system you could ever devise.

Sound familiar? If so, you were probably one of the 24.3 million viewers across the UK who were clustered round their television sets, watching the 1996 Christmas special of BBC sitcom, Only Fools and Horses.

The festive episode, called Time On Our Hands, saw Derek "Del Boy" Trotter and his brother Rodney almost lose a fortune, when a multi-million-pound rare watch was thrown aside in their overcrowded garage.

Actors David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst had played the hapless Peckham brothers for 15 years when the famous Christmas episode was broadcast. Writer John Sullivan finally permitted Trotters Independent Trading (TIT) to realise their dreams, when the brothers learned the rare pocket watch dated from the 18th century and it was one of a kind.

Hard times

Prior to finding out the watch's true value, life wasn't going well for the Trotter family. Rodney's wife Cassandra had suffered a miscarriage and the couple were still grieving, while Del Boy's longterm girlfriend, Raquel, was nervous at the prospect of her parents meeting him for the first time.

Del is worrying about Rodney and Cassandra when he tries to catalogue some of the jumbled piles of stock in the garage with his brother to take their minds off their troubles. Rodney wishes something good would happen to them for once.

Del Boy grabs the "worthless" old watch in frustration and throws it across the garage, thinking it's of no use and signifying how time passes and how their lives won't suddenly improve.

Rare watch

On the contrary, when Raquel's antique dealer father James spots the watch by chance when he arrives to pick up his car the day after the meal, he sees it's engraved with the name "Harrison". He realises this relates to English clockmaker John Harrison, who was born in Yorkshire in 1693 and went on to invent the first marine chronometer.

Few of Harrison's legendary and extremely rare timepieces have survived, and James realises this one could be worth a fortune if it's genuine. The watch is examined by experts, who proclaim it to be the real thing. It is auctioned at Sotheby's and both Del and Rodney faint as the bidding goes through the roof!

The timepiece is purchased by a collector for an astounding £6.2 million and after the brothers pick themselves up off the floor, they rush off to their familiar yellow three-wheeler car to celebrate Trotter style!

Time of their lives!

It's a happy ending for the whole family, as their days of being impoverished market traders and wheeler-dealers have been put behind them at last, and they can enjoy a new life of luxury.

Ironically, one of Del Boy's favourite sayings was, "This time next year, we’ll be millionaires," but in reality, neither of the brothers actually thought it would ever come true! He had always justified his latest dodgy scheme to his younger brother with the words, "He who dares, Rodders, he who dares," implying his sense of optimism and risk-taking would one day lead to high rewards.

His continual sense of hope endeared him to the audience, but viewers could never have foreseen scriptwriter Sullivan's twist when the brothers really did become millionaires. The writer was the master of producing Fools and Horses scripts, that could be both hilarious and poignant at the same time.

Enduring success

The sitcom aired from 1981 to 2003 on BBC1 and returned for Sport Relief in 2014, when footballing legend David Beckham appeared in a sketch with Del and Rodney.

Only Fools and Horses was sold to countries across the world, becoming a cult series for viewers in Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and many others. The Only Fools and Horses Appreciation Society was formed in 1993 and boasts a membership of around 7,000 fans.

Although everything turned out alright in the end in the sitcom, despite the Trotters' haphazard storage and filing system, in reality, it would be completely inefficient to store stock in such disarray. Valuable items could be lost forever and collectables such as watches could go rusty if kept in a damp environment!

Solent Plastics has a ‘triffic’ variety of storage solutions that would have helped Del to tidy up his garage and file his inventory! Browse our online shop to see the hundreds of containers on offer and don't hesitate to contact us when you find something you like.

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