Hole in One (Only Fools and Horses)

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For other uses, see Hole in one (disambiguation).
"Hole in One"
Only Fools and Horses episode
Episode no. Series 4
Episode 3
Directed by Susan Belbin
Written by John Sullivan
Produced by Ray Butt
Original air date 7 March 1985
(13.4 million viewers)
Running time 29:37 (DVD) / 29:27 (iTunes)
List of episodes

"Hole in One" is an episode of the BBC sitcom, Only Fools and Horses. It was the third episode of series 4, and was first broadcast on 7 March 1985. In the episode, Del decides to sue the brewery after Uncle Albert falls down the Nag's Head cellar.


Albert has been living with Del Boy and Rodney for four weeks, and things are not good for them financially. It is the "worst winter in over two million years", and Rodney has foolishly made an investment in £500 worth of sun tan lotion. To make matters worse, that £500 was the last of the Trotters' money.

At The Nag's Head, as the Trotters pass by the open door into its cellar, Mike wants a word with Del about a malfunctioning deep-fat fryer he sold him. Inside, Del and Rodney once again start to argue about their money problems, prompting Albert to leave.

Suddenly, a loud crash is heard, and the Trotter Brothers run into the cellar to find that Albert has fallen down through the cellar's open door, injuring Mike in the process. Del hatches a plan when Albert says "I've got a right mind to sue the brewery!" He also tells Rodney to phone Solly Attwell, the Trotter family's solicitor.

Back at Nelson Mandela House, Solly informs Del and Rodney that Albert has sustained no physical injuries from his fall, but suggests that he may have suffered mentally. Furthermore, he informs them that the brewery has offered a £2,000 out of court settlement, an amount which will solve their financial troubles, but Del still decides to take the case to court in the hope of gaining more compensation.

In court, Del and Rodney tell their sides of the story, hoping that they get their money from this, but when Albert is called up to tell his side of the story, the brewery's barrister mentions a number of similar cases involving an Albert Gladstone Trotter and all taking place after the war. Not only that, but it is also revealed that Albert underwent basic parachute training on the Isle of Wight, where he learned how to fall without injuring himself. The case is thrown out.

Outside court, it is revealed that Albert has fifteen previous lawsuits for falling down holes (not including, as Del notes, out of court settlements), gaining the nickname of "The Ferret" in the process. A furious Del and Rodney confront Albert, with Rodney explaining that he was nearly prosecuted for contempt of court, Del's name has been passed on to the Director of Public Prosecutions, and Solly is likely to be disbarred. Albert explains that whenever he and Grandad were short of money, Albert would fall down a hole. The reason why Albert fell down the cellar at the Nag's Head to gain compensation was to repay his nephews for the kindness they had shown him, and most of all, to pay for Grandad's headstone. When they were children, Grandad used to look after Albert, and Albert never got the chance to pay his older brother back. Del and Rodney, touched by this, forgive Albert and begin to wheel him home in his wheelchair. A few moments later, Del stops and furiously reminds Albert that he can still walk.

Episode cast[edit]

Actor Role
David Jason Derek Trotter
Nicholas Lyndhurst Rodney Trotter
Buster Merryfield Uncle Albert Trotter
Colin Jeavons Solly Atwell
Kenneth MacDonald Mike Fisher
Dennis Ramsden Judge
Andrew Tourell Mr Gerrard
Nula Conwell Maureen
James Woolley Mr Fraser
Michael Roberts Cockney man
Les Rawlings Clerk

Story arc[edit]

  • The Trotter family's address is revealed to be 368 Nelson Mandela House, Dockside Estate, Peckham.
  • Albert's middle name is revealed to be "Gladstone".

Episode concept[edit]

  • The idea for the script was based on a true story about John Sullivan's grandfather, a coal-man named Dickie, who claimed compensation by falling down holes.[1]


Actor Lennard Pearce died from a heart attack soon after filming of the fourth series got underway and had already filmed several scenes for "Hole in One". John Sullivan wrote two new episodes, "Happy Returns" and "Strained Relations", the latter of which featured Grandad's funeral. Once Buster Merryfield joined the cast, the "Hole in One" scenes already filmed by Pearce were re-shot (an original shot of Mike looking up [at Grandad] from the Nag's Head cellar was retained). The rest of the original footage has never been transmitted, and is not available on DVD.

This was the first episode to include Buster Merryfield in the second version of the opening credits. This version would remain right up to and including the 1996 episode "Time On Our Hands."


  • During the court case, one of the barristers mentions that the Trotters live at 368 Nelson Mandela House, yet in "Time On Our Hands" while Del and Rodney are stuck in the lift, as Denzil and Mickey Pearce take furniture out of the Trotters' flat, the door number is clearly 127.
  • After the court case, Albert tells Rodney and Del that every time himself and Grandad were short of some money, Albert would just fall down a hole. In the court case, it was revealed that the incidents occurred after the war. In "Tea for Three", Albert said that he and Grandad did not speak to each other after they met and rowed over Ada. In "Miami Twice", Albert revealed that he left Ada behind when he went to war. So, Albert clearly met Ada before the war and therefore could not be speaking to Grandad after the war when they allegedly worked together falling down holes.
  • The replacement in the storyline of the character of Grandad with that of Uncle Albert creates plot ambiguities; the exact reasons why a Royal Navy ships engineer would be learning parachute jumping in the war was never explained adequately.


  1. ^ Did You Know? ofah.net

External links[edit]