If They Could See Us Now
|"If They Could See Us Now"|
|Only Fools and Horses episode|
|Episode no.||Episode 16
|Directed by||Tony Dow|
|Written by||John Sullivan|
|Produced by||Gareth Gwenlan|
|Original air date||25 December 2001
(20.3 million viewers)
|Running time||71 minutes|
If They Could See Us Now.....! is an episode of the BBC sitcom, Only Fools and Horses, first screened on 25 December 2001 as the first part of the early 2000s Christmas trilogy and the sixteenth Christmas special. It was the BBC's most viewed television programme of the decade. In the episode, the Trotters lose their fortune and Del goes on a game show to try to regain it.
The episode opens with Del Boy and Rodney explaining their latest holiday to a barrister. While at a Caribbean resort, Rodney feels guilty about not taking Uncle Albert with them, but is reminded that he's staying with Elsie Partridge and then mocks Albert's catchphrase "During the war..." as he heads to a bar with Del. Later Del learns that the Central American stock market has crashed, meaning the Trotters have lost all their money. The Trotter family escapes from the hotel without paying.
As he is entering a courtroom, Del explains that Mike is now in jail for embezzlement, and that he and Rodney lost their country estate and penthouse flat, which were seized by the Inland Revenue to pay off their debts. They did, however, still own their flat at Nelson Mandela House. Adding to their woes, Albert died a few days later, and the Trotters mistakenly attended the funeral of Albert Warren, who also happened to be a World War II veteran - they found out only when the family mentioned his nickname "Bunny" and that he was in the Royal Air Force instead of the Royal Navy. Nonetheless, Del had inadvertently defended both Alberts. Whilst Del had still thought himself to be at the correct funeral, Roland - one of Bunny's relatives - laughed inappropriately at the late veteran's constant reminisces of his war years. Del confronted him, brushing aside his own complaints about his uncle's habit.
Back at the flat, Rodney reveals that he has been acquitted of any responsibility in the collapse of their company. Del on the other hand has been both declared bankrupt and convicted of nearly twenty years' worth of tax evasion. While his sentence was suspended, if Del cannot pay off a bill of £48,754 plus interest within the next year, the Inland Revenue will seize all of the Trotter's remaining assets, including the flat, and Del himself will receive a two year prison sentence. The situation appears bleak, but Del is confident about his chances of earning the required money, and announces that he will reform Trotters Independent Traders. Since Del has been banned from owning any companies, the new version will have to be managed by Rodney.
A few days later, Rodney and Cassandra discuss how best to celebrate Rodney's promotion, eventually deciding on dressing up for each other. The next day, Mickey Pearce phones Rodney pretending to be an associate of the Sultan of Brunei. Later that night, Del, Raquel, and Damien get ready to go out while Rodney listens to a Mozart record. Trigger arrives stating that Del promised him a lift to the pub despite the fact that he lives closer to the Nag's Head than the Trotters - and has to pass the pub to get to the Trotters' - but Trigger insisted that Del offered him a lift and that was his purpose. A bit later, Cassandra - unaware that Del is still in the flat - enters the living room dressed as a policewoman followed by Rodney dressed as a Roman gladiator (supposed to be Russell Crowe, whom Cassandra fancies).
It turns out that Del is going to be a contestant on the gameshow Goldrush (a parody of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?), which is hosted by Jonathan Ross, and takes Damien and Raquel with him. Del's chances initially look glum after he gets the first question badly wrong, but fortunately the other two contestants prove to be even worse than he is, and Del manages to reach the "Rainbow Road," putting him in pole position for the top prize. Eventually, Del has to phone Rodney when he doesn't know the answer to a question. Rodney mistakes Jonathan Ross for Mickey Pearce until he looks at the TV and then tries to help Del with the final question, correctly naming the composer of The Child and the Enchantment as Ravel, but this answer is not accepted and he is later told "everyone knows Ravel makes shoes" (because there is also a brand of shoes called Ravel).
Raquel and Damien return home via taxi because Del ran off after losing. After he eventually returns, Del gets a phone call from the producer, telling them that he actually got the final question right, and will be given his prize money as well as another go on the show. Unfortunately, Del thinks that it's Mickey Pearce winding him up and tells him to give all the prize money to charity. The episode ends as Del triumphantly proclaims "We're the Trotters, and we're back!"
The episode ends with a dedication to Buster Merryfield and Kenneth MacDonald following the end credits, which incorrectly states that the latter was born in 1951 (he was actually born in 1950). The dedication is omitted from all DVD releases of the episode.
Changes to script
- Del was originally going to appear on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? with Chris Tarrant making a guest appearance. However, ITV did not grant the rights for it to be used on repeat runs of the episode, so instead the fictional quiz show "Goldrush" was created to be used and Jonathan Ross made an appearance as the host. The public general lack of knowledge of Goldrush is explained by Jonathan Ross whilst presenting when he claimed that the show was big, "not this country but we're Big in Bosnia and we're Massive in Macedonia!". The telephone call made to Rodney clearly echoes that "Phone a Friend" feature on Millionaire.
- Revoir, Paul. . 29 December 2009.
- "If They Could See Us Now" at BBC Online
- "If They Could See Us Now" at BBC Programmes
- "If They Could See Us Now" at the Internet Movie Database