Only Fools and Horses

Season 5 Episode 7

A Royal Flush

Aired Tuesday 8:30 PM Dec 25, 1986 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
19 votes

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Episode Summary

A Royal Flush
Rodney dates Victoria, the Duke of Malbury's daughter, and Del Boy starts making plans for the wedding of the year.

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  • Rodney dates the daughter of a Duke, and Del Boy sticks his nose where it doesn't belong.

    "A Royal Flush" is often unfairly considered to be the worst feature-length episode of Only Fools and Horses. Admittedly, it falls far short of classic Christmas specials like "To Hull and Back", "The Jolly Boys' Outing", and "Heroes and Villains" among others, but it's still funny. The great thing about the series is that even the less-good episodes are very watchable, which says a lot about the standard of contemporary comedy.

    While helping out Del Boy in the market, Rodney meets a posh woman named Lady Victoria Marsham Hales of Covington House, and they become quite smitten.

    Rodney looks up more information about Victoria at the library and discovers that her father, Sir Henry Marsham, 14th Duke of Maylebury, is a second cousin to the Queen. Del believes that Rodney marries Victoria, the rest of the Trotter family will be millionaires this time next year! After purchasing tickets thanks to Del, Rodney and Victoria attend the opera "Carmen", only to be joined by Del himself, and June Snell, returning from the fourth season's "Happy Returns". The night at the opera goes pear-shaped for Rodders when Derek and June stuff their faces with orange juice, liquirice allsorts, crisps, peanuts, ice-cream, bothering the other audience members, and Del whistling along to the music. Rodders and Victoria leave in an abrupt huff, while Del is convinced that he made a good impression.

    Rodders is invited by Victoria to stay at Covington House for the weekend, but Del Boy tags along and tries to impress Lord Henry by shooting clay pigeons with Iggy Higgins' single barrel pump-action shotgun.

    That night, Rodney asks Del to behave himself at the dinner, but he keeps talking to Lord Henry about Leonardo Da Vinci.

    Meanwhile, Albert is getting along well with the cooking staff, and even tells one of his boring war stories to the young footman.

    At the dinner table, Del gets completely drunk and tells everybody in the room, Victoria and Lord Henry included, about Rodney's suspended drug sentence, and a tasteless joke about an Irishman on a skiing holiday (Victoria's mother died in a skiing accident nine years earlier) which enrages Lord Henry so much, he throws the Trotters out!

    Very early next morning, Rodney is in the flat all alone, as a completely hung over Del Boy enters and tries to apologize for what he did, but Rodney berates him for interfering as always, like the time Rodney joined the army cadets, only to be forced by Del to take tap-dancing classes with his army boots in order to be a child star. Rodney then points out that he was offered £1000 by Lord Henry to leave Victoria for good, yet turned it down, much to Del's chagrin. The Trotter brothers make up with a handshake.

    Punters really got a great deal when this episode was released on DVD. It's not been cleaned up, there's a crap echoey laughter track, no extras, and half the scenes are missing because it's the "2004 version". All this and you have to buy the 45 minute episode on a single full-price DVD – cheers.

    This is better than I remember it, an unfestive Christmas episode of the "Del Boy holds Rodney back" mould. In truth, even though the 2004 DVD release is cut to shreds you don't miss much, and the script is very witty – the re-appearance of June from "Happy Returns" is also welcome. However, this rapidly winds up one of those episodes that it's actually painful to watch, as Del turns up at the country manor to humiliate Rodney, and even attempts to pay off the Duke. He's horrible here, and it's heartbreaking to hear Victoria's final words to Rodney – "Are you still staying overnight? Or...". At the end you begin to wonder if comedy should really be so unpleasant to watch.moreless
Peter Tuddenham

Peter Tuddenham


Guest Star

Jack Hedley

Jack Hedley

Lord Henry Marsham, Duke of Maylebury

Guest Star

Sarah Duncan

Sarah Duncan

Lady Victoria Marsham Hales

Guest Star

Roger Lloyd-Pack

Roger Lloyd-Pack


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • The Trotters' return to London from Berkshire is implausible as Del and Rodney both had been drinking, Del particularly so, and Albert wouldn't have been able to drive the Trotter Van because he's not insured, as mentioned in "Danger UXD".

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (2)

    • As revealed in Steve Clark's book, The Only Fools and Horses Story, John Sullivan was not happy with this special, feeling that it seemed to show Del Boy in a negative light. Whereas Del was always seen to be a lovable rogue, in this episode, there were some scenes where he came over as boorish and offensive. Both David Jason and Ray Butt have expressed dissatisfaction with this episode. It is also very unpopular with many fans. John Sullivan had little time to write it, as a Christmas special was only commissioned a few months beforehand, and he was tied up in Paris with the Just Good Friends Christmas special.

    • Music: "Ask" performed by The Smiths, "Sometimes" performed by Erasure, and extracts from the Kent opera.


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