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A Royal Flush
Series 05, Episode 08
A Royal Flush
Air Date December 25, 1986
Written by John Sullivan
Director Ray Butt
Length 80 minutes (original broadcast, VHS release, & 2005 DVD release)
60 minutes (2004 DVD release & current G.O.L.D. repeat version)
Previous episode "Royal Variety Show"
Next episode "The Frog's Legacy"
List of episode

Rodney befriends the daughter of a Duke, and Del decides to help him make the right impression.

Synopsis

As Del Boy sells cutlery to the local market crowd, Rodney spots an attractive woman, and abandons his lookout position to talk to her. But Trigger is there to help Del get away from the police. At Sid's café, the woman introduces herself to Rodney as Lady Victoria "Vicky" Marsham-Hales. She also mentions that she lives in Covington House, Upper Stanameer, Berkshire, and that her mother died in a skiing accident nine years ago when Victoria was only 12 years old. Once Victoria leaves, Rodney decides to go the library to find out more about Victoria's family.

Later, back at Nelson Mandela House, Rodney is reading a book when Del and Uncle Albert come in. Upon further reading, the Trotters discover that Victoria is the daughter of Sir Henry Marsham, the 14th Duke of Maylebury, a second cousin of the Queen. Sensing a chance to make the Trotters millionaires, Del decides to assist Rodney's blossoming friendship with Victoria, such as by acquiring tickets for the opera Carmen.

On the night of the opera, Rodney and Victoria arrive, only to see that Del has also shown up, along with June Snell (last seen in "Happy Returns"), a former girlfriend of Del and mother of one of Rodney's ex-girlfriends Debbie. Del and June ruin the night by noisily eating snacks, talking during the performance, arguing with other members of the audience, and Del whistling along to the music, which distracts the performers. Rodney and Victoria leave abruptly, while Del convinces himself that he made a good impression. Nonetheless, Victoria invites Rodney to stay at Covington House for the weekend.

The next day, wanting Rodney to make a good impression, Del and Albert take him to a fancy tailor to get him some formal clothing to make him the perfect country gentleman.

But on Saturday, already nervous during the weekend in Berkshire, Rodney (dressed in a tweed suit) is horrified when Del arrives with Albert in the Trotter Van. Del takes part in their clay pigeon shoot using a single-barrel pump-action shotgun borrowed from Iggy Higgins, a local bank robber, and quickly begins to irritate Victoria's father, Lord Henry. Del also manages to secure an invite to stay for dinner.

That night, Rodney asks Del to behave like a gentleman. Del promises that, and keeps talking to Lord Henry about Leonardo Da Vinci. Meanwhile in the kitchen, Albert is getting along well with the kitchen staff, and tells another one of his boring stories, about how his grandmother's brother was the safety officer on the RMS Titanic, to the young footman. At dinner, Del gets drunk and boorish, insulting the guests with lewd comments, touting a marriage between Rodney and Victoria, and embarrassing Rodney by revealing his conviction for possession of cannabis. Finally, he starts to tell a skiing joke despite knowing how Victoria's mother died and in a fit of rage, Lord Henry finally demands that the Trotters leave immediately. Victoria and Rodney regretfully agree that they shouldn't see each other again.

Very early next morning, back at the flat, a furious Rodney relates to a very hung over Del how he has always ruined his opportunities to make a success of his life by interfering, and injures his hand punching a laundry chute out of anger. After Rodney reveals that he refused the offer of a £1000 pay-off from Lord Henry to stop seeing Victoria (angering Del, who had arranged the offer), Del says that had Rodney refused to stop seeing Victoria, he would probably have been assassinated by the Special Branch because of his conviction for cannabis use. Del ostensibly apologises to Rodney for his actions and asks him to shake his hand, but this turns out to be a ploy for Del to inflict punishment on Rodney for refusing the £1000 by squeezing his bad hand.

Featured characters

Other notes

Continuity errors

  • 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".
  • When the Trotters return to their flat at the end of the episode, Rodney moans to Del that he told the joke about the Irish man and the skiing holiday. But Del never told the joke, Lord Henry interrupted him before he was able to tell it.

Miscellaneous trivia

  • As revealed in Steve Clark's book, The Only Fools and Horses Story, John Sullivan was not happy with this episode, 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.
  • The scene of Rodney and Victoria going to the opera was filmed at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane.

DVD cuts and edits

  • This episode was originally broadcast with no studio laughter. A subsequent repeated version exists with an added laughter track, but was heavily edited for future DVD and TV broadcasts. However, the episode is possibly the least repeated on the BBC, although it is shown fairly regularly on UK TV Gold and has been released by the BBC in DVD format. For the Region 2 DVD release, this special was heavily re-edited (including at least 18 minutes of cuts). An audience laughter track was also added. The back of the DVD release refers to this version as "The 2004 Version". The reasons for this alternative edit were because of John Sullivan's dissatisfaction with the finished version as originally broadcast. The final transmitted episode was hastily edited, as it was being prepared for transmission on Christmas Day 1986 and there was not enough time to run the episode in front of a live studio audience. Also, Sullivan has stated that he felt in the scene where Del is drunk at dinner, he came across as too nasty. The original 1998 UK video release did not contain an added laughter track and more accurately reflected the running time of the original 1986 broadcast version.
    • No laughter track was in the original broadcast.
    • Originally after Rodney said to Victoria in the car that he had contacts who got him the tickets, you can see the drivers' eyes stare at Rodney and then shake his head, now it cuts to their car arriving at the theatre.
    • Rodney's reaction at the expensive price of the theatre programmes "Eight pounds?" for Carmen is cut.
    • The scene where Rodney escorts Vicky into the theatre auditorium is cut as June asks Del why he didn't get her a theatre programme for the opera and he replies that she can't read.
    • A number of short bits are cut from the theatre auditorium scene, including June and Del dropping litter on the floor, Del offering crisps to Rodney and Victoria, Del arguing with disgruntled patrons, and Junie becoming queasy.
    • A short scene outside the theatre between Del and Rod which includes this line "It was alright until Junie did her psychedelic yodel" that was cut.
    • A number of short scenes are cut from the dinner sequence at Covington House, including Del running his finger around the rim of a glass, a discussion about the "Shed" at Stamford Bridge football ground, and the quality of a player, Del's dialogue following his line "They weren't his drugs", Del's "You thought I was going to say arse" joke, and the skiing joke, and Rodney telling Victoria he better not stay for the night.

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