Only Fools and Horses

Episode 1

Licensed to Drill

Aired Tuesday 8:30 PM Unknown on BBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Licensed to Drill

Delboy and Rodney are seen in this extremely rare episode filmed around 1984 and discovered by OFAH fan Laura Daynes. This 27 minute episode includes Grandad.

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  • Del Boy makes plans to go into the oil-drilling business.

    Hello folks, it's me again, Roy Stantz, and today, I am reviewing Only Fools and Horses episode "Licensed to Drill", which was made by the Maureen Oilfield Consortium in 1984 (the same year I was born) as an educational video to be shown in British schools, but it was never broadcast on commercial TV.

    At Nelson Mandela House, aka Trotter Towers, Rodney and Grandad are watching an old war movie, while Del Boy, who just returned from Dirty Doug's Cafe, is lying back on the sofa reading a magazine about oil. Del tells his relatives that all the products they have would not exist without oil. The Trotters then change the channel over to watch a short film about the Maureen off shore oil rig. Once the film ends, Del tells Rodney that he's planning to go into the oil-drilling business to become a instant millionaire, so Rodney needs to read that magazine in time for an important business meeting that's happening tomorrow morning.

    The next morning, Rodney wakes up and meets a strange man named "Paddy the Deep-Sea Diver", who Del has concluded a business deal with. Del explains to Rodney and Grandad that he just bought an oil rig for £400, so they can drill for oil themselves. But however, Rodney points out to his older brother that oil rigs are located hundreds of miles offshore.

    Realizing that he's been conned, Del plans to go after Paddy, but can't because Rodney says that the Trotter van is out of petrol. Del Boy angrily strangles his younger brother, while Paddy drives off triumphantly.

    Nobody knows when the episode was set, but it features Grandad and so must be from before Season 4. The documentary that Del shows Grandad and Rodney mentions "11 years" from "1973" meaning it's 1984 or later. So I'd suggest an end-of-Season 3 setting.

    On a sad note, this was the final appearance of Grandad, before the death of Lennard Pearce. In this episode, Grandad looked a lot more healthier than in previous episodes though this could be the result of toning down the makeup used as the film was not as dependent on lighting techniques as it uses a much higher quality film stock than the one deployed in the regular episodes.

    In going out in style, Grandad's last lines of dialogue were in response to Del asking if he thinks he had been conned by Paddy: "Of course not..... He had an honest face. In fact, he reminded me of you, Del." Rest in peace, Edward Kitchener Trotter and Lennard Pearce.

    A bizarre yet funny full-length episode that no-one knew existed until recently. Quite why or when they filmed it is a mystery perhaps indebted to the fact that it appears to have been made by "Maureen Oil Consortium" instead of the BBC, which might explain the different theme tune and lush filmed recording. And why Del Boy suddenly becomes an overnight expert on oil production, waxing lyrical about hydrocarbons all the way through it! He winds up a wally in the end though, so at least some continuity is maintained.moreless

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