The Jolly Boys' Outing

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"The Jolly Boys' Outing"
Only Fools and Horses episode
Only Fools Jolly Boys Outing.jpg
The Jolly Boys watch their coach blow up thanks to one of Del's faulty car radios.
Episode no.Episode 8
(Christmas Special)
Directed byTony Dow
Written byJohn Sullivan
Produced byGareth Gwenlan
Original air date25 December 1989
(20.1 million viewers)
Running time85 minutes
  • 1:19:56 (DVD)
  • 1:24:00 (iTunes)
List of Only Fools and Horses episodes

"The Jolly Boys' Outing" is the eighth Christmas special episode of the BBC sit-com Only Fools and Horses, first screened on 25 December 1989. Despite being aired as a Christmas special, it is set on an August bank holiday weekend, and sees Del and the gang go on a coach trip to Margate.


Rodney is now working for Alan Parry, Cassandra's father, at his printing firm Parry Print Ltd, while Uncle Albert has been promoted to "Executive Lookout" for Trotters Independent Traders, i.e. watching out for the police. The so-called traditional Jolly Boys' Outing, whereby all the regulars at the Nag's Head pub go on an annual coach trip ("beano") to the seaside resort of Margate in Kent is also approaching.

The following evening, at Rodney and Cassandra's flat, the Trotters enjoy a sophisticated dinner with Cassandra's parents as well as her boss, Stephen, and his wife, Joanne. Rodney is barely able to hide his dislike of Stephen due to what he sees as his yuppie pretentiousness, while Del mistakenly thinks – to Stephen's annoyance – that he and Stephen are alike. Del invites Stephen to join the outing due to Joanne's absence visiting her parents for the weekend, but he politely declines. The night ends with a game of Trivial Pursuit, in which Del Boy suggests that a female swan is called a bic (after Rodney tried to give him a clue by discreetly showing him a pen).

The day trip to Margate proves eventful: the coach driver, Harry, apparently gets drunk halfway through the journey, and Rodney gets arrested for accidentally throwing a football meant for Del at a policeman. Just as the jolly boys are preparing to leave Margate and head home, their coach, equipped with a faulty Albanian radio from a batch recently sold by Del, explodes when the radio ignites the fuel line (the fumes of which had actually caused Harry's incapacitation). As there is a train strike and a restricted bank holiday bus service, the jolly boys are forced to spend the night in Margate. Aware of the limited number of vacant hotel rooms, the boys split up into groups and go in different directions.

Del, Rodney and Albert form their own group. After fruitless searching for somewhere to stay, they arrive at a warm and comfortable guest house, only to find that the last rooms have been taken by Jevon, Mickey Pearce and Denzil. The landlady, Mrs Baker, directs them to the Villa Bella, a darkened, run-down hotel managed by the sinister Mrs Cresswell. Rather than spend the night there, however, Del and Rodney decide to visit a nightclub called the Mardi Gras after Del was given complimentary tickets from Mike's old rival, Eddie Chambers, at a halfway house earlier that day. At the Mardi Gras, Del discovers his old girlfriend Raquel is working as part of a magic act with Raymondo. Del and Raquel reminisce about the past, with Del explaining that he had actually been on his way to see her to stop her leaving the UK but was arrested (as seen in "Dates"), and it is clear that they still have strong feelings for each other. Raquel states her intention to leave the act after it ends, as Raymondo, with his foul temper sometimes scares her. Del invites her to live with him in Peckham, which she accepts, and they part with a kiss.

Del and Rodney return to the hotel late, and discover that they have been locked out. After failing to wake up Albert by throwing a stone at the window, breaking it in the process, they head to Raquel's flat to sleep for the night, only to find out that she shares it with Raymondo. Suspecting Raymondo of blackmailing Raquel sexually in return for a job and a home, Del flies into a rage, punches Raymondo and throws his suitcase out of the window. However, Del later discovers from an enraged Raquel that Raymondo is actually homosexual and they only live together as it is cheaper than renting flats separately. Despite this, Raquel and Raymondo forgive an embarrassed Del for the misunderstanding and allow him and Rodney to stay.

Upon returning home, Rodney finds Cassandra and Stephen seemingly alone together. Rodney, suspecting Stephen of fancying Cassandra, finally snaps and spitefully punches Stephen, breaking his nose, but finds that Joanne is also there (as the strike had prevented her going to visit her parents). He is promptly thrown out by Cassandra. Back at Nelson Mandela House, as Del speaks with Raquel over the telephone, he learns the unintended consequences of his actions the previous night as Albert was hit on the head by the stone that Del threw through the hotel window, and Mike and Boycie were injured by Raymondo's suitcase when he threw it out of Raquel's window. Del and Raquel arrange to meet the next week. The episode ends as Rodney irritably enters the flat with his belongings.

As the credits roll, a recap of the Jolly Boys' Outing in Margate is played along to the song "Margate" by Chas & Dave.


Story arc[edit]

  • The events of this episode are mentioned in "Sleepless in Peckham", implying that the Jolly Boys' Outing was a regular event from the 1960s before Del blew the coach up. The very first Jolly Boys' Outing was seen in the first episode of the prequel Rock & Chips.

Episode concept[edit]

  • John Sullivan's sister-in-law Penny was the inspiration behind the script, as she told him of an event her father used to go on each year, called the "Jolly Boys' Outing".[1]


The episode was filmed on location in Margate, Dreamland and Dumpton market, which is now Wyevale Garden centre. The exterior police station shot is the now closed Broadstairs Police Station. The pit stop at the pub on the way to Margate was on the A299 at the Brook Lane turn off to Reculver, which is now a private residence. Cassandra's flat exterior shot was at Richard Court, Lower Northdown Ave, Cliftonville. The hotel exteriors were filmed at Dalby Square, Cliftonville. The exploding coach scene was at the car parks near the old aquarium in Cliftonville, which is now Bethesda Medical surgery, Palm Bay Ave.[2]



  1. ^ Did You Know?
  2. ^ Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office Only Fools and Horses: The Jolly Boys Outing Film Focus". Retrieved 25 October 2015.

External links[edit]