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A Touch of Glass
Series 02, Episode 07
A Touch of Glass
Air Date December 2, 1982
Written by John Sullivan
Director Ray Butt
Length 30 minutes
Previous episode "It Never Rains..."
Next episode "Christmas Trees"
List of episode

The Trotters are hired to clean some priceless chandeliers in a country mansion.

Synopsis

During a trip out to the countryside to buy a consignment of musical china cats which play the song "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?", Del Boy, Rodney, and Grandad stop to assist a woman whose car has broken down. The woman turns out to be a member of the aristocracy, Lady Ridgemere. They tow her home and are grudgingly invited in by her snobbish husband, Lord Ridgemere.

The Trotters quickly outstay their welcome at the mansion. Whilst there. Del overhears Lord Ridgemere haggling with someone on the telephone about the cost of cleaning their two priceless Louis XIV chandeliers. Del then persuades the Lord that chandeliers are the Trotters' family business and agrees to carry out the necessary work cheaply.

The Trotters return to the mansion a week later to clean the chandeliers, though the Lord and Lady are nowhere to be seen. Grandad goes upstairs to undo the holding bolt for one of the chandeliers while Del and Rodney climb up on step ladders with a blanket ready to catch it. However, unknown to Del and Rodney (and the audience), Grandad is actually loosening the bolt for the adjacent chandelier. He hits the bolt out, and as Del and Rodney are waiting to catch their chandelier, the other one falls down and smashes. After verifying with the butler that they never gave any of their contact details to the Ridgemeres, the Trotters quickly run out of the mansion and speedily drive away in the Trotter Van.

Featured characters

Other notes

Episode concept

  • John Sullivan's father was the inspiration for the smashed chandelier storyline. Working as a plumber in the 1930's, he and several others were fitting a new heating system into a stately home, and had to move some chandeliers. As with the Trotters, there was a mix up and the wrong one was undone and smashed. David Jason and Ray Butt agreed that the storyline ought to be used, meaning Sullivan had to write the script backwards, starting with just the end point and then working out how the Trotters would come to be in a mansion. The smashed chandelier was made by props company Trading Post. Despite being a fake, it was still worth about £6,000 and only one was made, meaning the scene could only be filmed once. It was initially intended that this would be the final scene in the episode, so after the incident Jason and Lyndhurst were required to stand and stare at each other in silence for 30 seconds while the camera rolled. Lyndhurst later recalled that Butt threatened him with the sack if he ruined the scene by laughing. Many of the cast and crew struggled to contain their laughter in the aftermath of the shot; Butt himself stuffed a handkerchief into his mouth and left the room. Given the task of finding a suitable "Ridgemere Hall", production manager Janet Bone eventually settled on Clayesmore School, a boarding school in Iwerne Minster, Dorset. The school would not give permission for any of its floorboards to be pulled up however, and so the scene with Grandad undoing the fastening nut was filmed in a house that belonged to Ray Butt's girlfriend. The auction house seen at the beginning of the episode is the village hall of Sutton Waldron, Dorset.

Production goofs

  • The Trotter Van's registration number is APL 911 H in both this episode and "The Russians Are Coming", whereas in "Modern Men", the van's registration number is DHV 938 D.
  • The Trotter Van has a dark red interior, whereas in "Healthy Competition", the van is shown to be yellow inside the backdoor as well as outside.

Miscellaneous trivia

  • Lennard Pearce found it difficult to hit the hammer on the bolt and so took several takes.

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