To Hull and Back
|Only Fools and Horses episode|
|"To Hull and Back"|
|Airdate||25 December 1985|
"To Hull and Back" is an episode of the BBC sitcom, Only Fools and Horses, first screened on 25 December 1985. It was the first feature-length edition of the show, and the fourth Christmas special. The title of the special is derived from the movie To Hell and Back. Parts of the special were shot on location in Amsterdam and unlike most other episodes was shot entirely on film and therefore not before a studio audience (making it laugh-track free). In the episode, the Trotters agree to smuggle diamonds from Amsterdam for Boycie.
As the Trotters are enjoying another evening at the Nag's Head, Boycie and his business partner Abdul call Del Boy in for a secret meeting, with a proposal that he travels to Amsterdam to buy some diamonds and bring them back to the UK. Realsing that this is smuggling, Del rebuffs Boycie and Abdul. However, Del quickly changes his mind and agrees to the task when Boycie offers him £15,000 for the privilege.
The next morning, as they arrive at the market, Rodney is worried that the diamond smuggling trip is far too risky, but Del assures him that everything will be OK. Just then, Denzil shows up in his lorry, and asks Del to leave him (Denzil) alone as requested by his wife Corrine. (This links in with a sub-plot in which Del is seen to "haunt" Denzil.) With all that said, Denzil drives off.
The Trotter Brothers quickly run off from the police after trying to flog watches that play 36 different national anthems, but they run into local policeman DCI Roy Slater and his partner DC Terry Hoskins. At Sid's cafe, Slater tells Del and Rodney that he's already investigating the case, and already knows that Boycie and Abdul are involved, only Slater doesn't know who the courier is. Also, Slater mentions that he'll be retiring from the police force after solving the case. As Slater and Hoskins leave, Del calls Boycie on the telephone and tells him that Slater's on to them. Boycie suggests that they and Abdul meet up tonight, and Del knows the perfect meeting place.
That night, as Boycie and Abdul wait in the trailer of an unsuspecting Denzil's lorry in a car park, Del and Rodney arrive in the Trotter van. With Rodney standing watch, Del enters the trailer and receives the diamond payment briefcase from Boycie to take with him to Amsterdam. As Boycie and Abdul leave, Slater shows up, and Del quickly hides under a tarpaulin, but unfortunately gets locked inside the trailer, and is accidentally transported up to Hull by Denzil. In desperation, Rodney follows Denzil all the way to Hull in the van. Whilst there, Del decides that, rather than go through the airports being watched by Slater, he and Rodney should sail to Holland in a hired boat instead. "Experienced seaman" Albert arrives to captain the boat, although it later emerges that he spent most of his time with the Royal Navy in the boiler room and thus has no experience of navigation. Despite that (and after receiving directions from an oil rig), they make it to Amsterdam, where they meet a Dutch diamond dealer named Hendrik Van Kleefe and conclude the transaction without a hitch, despite the fact that Boycie's money is counterfeit.
After getting lost in the North Sea again, the Trotters eventually find their way back to England by following the MV Norland, a ferry which goes from Zeebrugge to Hull. They end up in Zeebrugge at first, much to their chagrin, but follow the ferry back to Hull.
A few more days later, upon returning home to Peckham and meeting with Boycie and Abdul at the Nag's Head, the group are ambushed by Slater, who, as it turns out, had been in cahoots with Van Kleefe from the start. Slater makes a proposal: either they all go to prison, or he leaves with the diamonds and they walk away free; the Trotters and friends reluctantly accept the second option. Del vows to get revenge, but Slater mentions that he's moving far away from London when he retires, then leaves. With their mission failed, Del, Rodney, and Albert decide to give up and go home.
Meanwhile, Hoskins drives Slater straight into a police sting. It then emerges that Slater's superiors have long suspected him of corruption, and set him up to be caught in possession of the diamonds, and Hoskins was ordered by the Commissioner to keep an eye on Slater. Slater attempts to bribe his way out, but Hoskins refuses and reveals a microphone hidden in his jacket lapel that transmitted their conversation to the commissioner. Meanwhile, Van Kleefe is apprehended by the Dutch authorities while he is attempting to deposit the counterfeit money at the bank.
Back at Nelson Mandela House, Del and Albert reveal to Rodney that all is not lost, because Del, having noticed that the diamond money was fake, had switched two of the diamonds for two of his cats' eye cufflinks and kept them hidden in Albert's pipe as a way of revenge. Rodney then reveals that it was he, and not Slater, who took the £15,000 during the commotion at the pub. Del, believing that the £15,000 was also counterfeit but was, in fact, genuine, throws it over the balcony, leaving Rodney and Albert stunned, and Del feeling proud of himself.