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Sickness and Wealth

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Sickness and Wealth
Series 06, Episode 06
Sickness and Wealth
Air Date February 5, 1989
Written by John Sullivan
Director Tony Dow
Length 50 minutes
Previous episode "The Unlucky Winner Is..."
Next episode "Little Problems"
List of episode

Del is suffering from stomach cramps, and refuses to see a doctor. But a séance by Elsie Partridge helps change his mind.

Synopsis

Del Boy is suffering from a mysterious illness that is giving him stomach pains, but he refuses to admit to it or go to see a doctor, because he is scared of them. He is also under a great deal of stress; his recent line in awful women's summer fashion hasn't been selling well with all the frost and sleet, and he hasn't been able to pay the rent on the flat. In spite of the fact that he, Rodney, and Uncle Albert are facing the possibility of eviction, Del is still living the yuppy lifestyle, eating in the curry houses and bistros, and drinking and buying rounds in wine bars and pubs, all on the slate, causing further debts.

Over a Chinese take-away meal, Del learns that Albert's new girlfriend Elsie Partridge, who he met at a bingo game, used to be a medium in the 1960's and thinks their toilet is haunted (though it could be because the council have put their extractor fan in the wrong way around), and he instantly sees it as a chance to make money and the answer to his financial worries.

Having convinced Elsie Partridge, Del holds a "dummy run" séance with all his friends (Trigger, Boycie, Rodney, Mike, and Uncle Albert) in the hall above The Nag's Head. Rodney and Mike are both concerned about "messing with the forces of darkness", but Del and Boycie laugh it off. At the séance, Elsie gives Boycie a message from his father that Boycie must look after his child (it was previously established that Boycie and his wife Marlene couldn't have children) and then gives Del a message from his late mother Joan prompting him to go see a doctor. Del still refuses to believe in Elsie, until Marlene announces she's pregnant, thus confirming his fears that he may be genuinely ill (the message from Joan was actually a plot by Albert to make Del see sense, as he tells Elsie that the only person Del would ever listen to was his mother).

Now completely convinced, Del goes to see his GP, Dr. Meadows, only to find he's left general practice and a young Indian woman has taken his place, Del's nervous jokes fail to impress her and during the examination, he lies to her repeatedly about his life-style, pretending he is a tee-total, celibate health-nut and non-smoker. The doctor sends Del to hospital thinking he might have a grumbling appendix but after testing Del, the doctors prove this false and can't seem to find what's wrong with him. In a discussion with Rodney and Cassandra back at The Nag's Head, Albert suggests it might be Green Parrot Disease.

Rodney, Albert, and Cassandra visit Del in hospital, and Del worries that he might have caught AIDS (although he never states the illness by name) from his promiscuous past (and a male hairdresser called Jason). He also finds out that the "pukka seance" went badly wrong after a mix-up because of Del's posters, which led people to think they were seeing an Iron Maiden-like band instead of Elsie Partridge (though as Rodney quips, "Fortunately, she remained in a trance throughout the riot!").

Whilst still worrying about his health, Del is finally approached by his former GP, Dr. Robbie Meadows. Having heard Del's name crop up in conversations with his colleagues, Meadows had asked to see Del's medical file and had subsequently been put in charge of his case, being as Del is his former patient. Knowing Del as he does, and that he is not in fact the celibate health-freak he has made himself out to be to the other doctors, Meadows is quickly able to diagnose Del with having Irritable Bowel Syndrome caused by his stressful, unhealthy lifestyle. Meadows mildly scolds Del for lying to his GP, telling him that because he had not been truthful about his lifestyle, Del had confused the doctors handling his case since they believed they were dealing with the "perfect man", and had he been honest from the start, his diagnosis would have taken far less time. Warning him to actively lead a healthier lifestyle, Meadows then reveals that he has phoned the Council and convinced them to give Del some breathing space with regard to his rent arrears. He then discharges Del, who after an initial macho posture of claiming that he knew he was really alright, breaks down in relief.

A few days later, back at Nelson Mandela House, a housebound Del is disgusted at his Muesli diet and taking it easy but is getting better, until Rodney comes home and announces he's getting married.

Featured characters

Other notes

Story arc

  • Elsie Partridge, who was mentioned in the previous episode "The Unlucky Winner Is...", makes her only appearance in this episode. She would be continued to be mentioned throughout the series as Albert's girlfriend, and in "If They Could See Us Now", it was revealed the pair had moved to the coast together.
  • Mickey Pearce and Jevon tell Boycie in this episode that they have started trading together, it is them that sell Del the mobile telephones that get him into trouble with the Driscoll Brothers in the following episode "Little Problems". Likewise Rodney announces his marriage which takes place in the same episode.
  • This episode also began the sub-plot of Marlene's pregnancy, changing it from Boycie and Marlene's desperation for a child. Their son Tyler would later make a number of appearances in the show and later become a prominent character in the spin-off series The Green Green Grass.
  • This is the only episode in which Rodney apologises to Albert for the way he treats him. Albert, worried about Del in hospital, says he feels sorry for Del, and suggests that he may have "Green Parrot Disease", much to the laughter of Rodney and Cassandra, but Rodney later realises Albert was only trying to help, and says sorry.

Continuity errors

  • At the hospital, when Del asked Rodney "By the way, how the the pukka seánce evening go?" Rodney replied, "Well Del, you remember those posters you made with the ghost faces? Well, the audience turned up in Iron Maiden t-shirts, all going "Acid!" expecting to see some kind of heavy metal band." In reality, Iron Maiden fans do not make acid gestures; that came mostly from fans of commercial pop/hip-hop, something which Iron Maiden fans conventionally loath.

DVD cuts and edits

  • On the original broadcast version, Simply Red's "It's Only Love" was playing in the background of the Nag's Head in the scene where Rodney, Cassandra, and Albert were discussing their concerns for Del's health. In the DVD and video versions, this song has been removed, and no music plays, removing some of the emotion of the scene.

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