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 by Tony Dow
Written by John Sullivan
Produced by Gareth Gwenlan
Original air date 25 December 1989
(20.1 million viewers)
Running time

85 minutes

  • 1:19:56 (DVD)
  • 1:24:00 (iTunes)
List of 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, though Rodney is only barely able to hide his jealousy of Stephen and Joanne, owing to the difference in their social classes. The night ends with a game of Trivial Pursuit, in which Del Boy suggests that a female swan is called a bic.

The day trip to Margate proves eventful; the coach driver apparently gets drunk half-way through the journey (but it is later established that he was overcome by fumes from the radio burning out), Rodney gets arrested for accidentally throwing a football meant for Del at a policeman, and Alan gets sick after overindulging on jellied eels. Just as the Jolly Boys are preparing to leave Margate and head off home, their coach, equipped with one of the Albanian faulty radios being sold by Del recently, ignites and explodes. There is a train strike however, and coupled with a restricted bank holiday bus service, the Jolly Boys are forced to spend the night in Margate. Knowing of the limited number of vacant hotel rooms, the Jolly Boys split up into groups and go in different directions.

Del, Rodney, and Albert split up into 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, sends 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 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 which sometimes scares her. Del invites her to live with him in Peckham.

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 and breaking a window in the process, they head over 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 accidentally 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.

Upon returning home, Rodney finds Cassandra and her boss Stephen, seemingly alone together. Rodney, suspecting Stephen of fancying Cassandra, punches him and breaks his nose only to find that Stephen's wife Joanne is also there. 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 Del threw through the hotel window, and Mike and Boycie were injured by the suitcase he threw out of Raquel's window. Del and Raquel arrange to meet the next week. The episode ends as Rodney enters the flat with his belongings while Del proceeds to eat Albert's breakfast.

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]


  • The little boy, who laughs at Albert when the boat that he was directing hits the iceberg whilst at Margate, is the son of Patrick Murray, who plays Mickey Pearce.
  • The drummer in the Mardi Gras club is Alf Bigden, who played the drums on the famous beginning and end themes.
  • The coach used in the film is a Ford R1014 Plaxton Panorama Elite MkII, PEL 915M.
  • A scene was cut before the episode was broadcast in which Del Boy has a short conversation with two people eating their meals in the Villa Bella, it was cut due to timing restrictions.[3]
  • All video/DVD releases of this episode remove approximately three minutes from the nightclub scene (the section in which Lee Gibson sings "Just The Way You Are"). Besides obscuring the arrival of Trigger and Boycie, this removes a piece of dialogue which paves the way for the subsequent quarrels between Del and Raquel/Raymondo and Rodney and Cassandra. The full nightclub scene is restored in the Netflix versions.



  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. 
  3. ^ "Only Fools and Horses Cuts – Jolly Boys Outing bonus". 12 July 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2016. 

External links[edit]