Only Fools And Horses: Licensed To Drill (1984)
Only Fools And Horses is one of my favourite sitcoms, and again, I don’t really need to explain much about the history or the characters on the show as I imagine everyone will already be familiar with it, indeed, it’s one of the most successful British TV shows that there’s ever been. So instead I have decided to write about one of the less remembered episodes of the show.
Licensed To Drill was a 20-minute long educational video about oil featuring the cast of Only Fools And Horses that was made to be shown in science lessons in schools. It was made on film and contains no laughter track. It was written by John Sullivan as every other episode was and he also performs the theme song at the end. It has never been shown on TV or been released on DVD, so when it turned up on YouTube a while back I was very interested in taking a look.
It begins with Granddad watching a film on TV about the war. Del has thought of yet another money-making scheme, to invest in oil, this time next year they’ll be millionaires! Del tells us all about where oil comes from and the many ways that it can be used, it’s incredible the amount of things you can find it in. Rodney finds it all rather mindblowing. Del then makes Rodney and Granddad watch a film about oil and sets out his ambitious plan where a deal will take place tomorrow. Let’s hope it doesn’t end up with Rodney in protective custody like last time…
The next day, a sleepy Rodney finds someone called Paddy sat at the table. Del reveals that he has just completed a deal with him to buy an offshore oil rig, a snip at just £400. Rodney has to explain to Del that oil rigs are enormous things far away in the North Sea, not in a lock-up garage in Catford. It concludes with Del realising that he has been done up like the proverbial kipper. And he seemed so honest as well. They can’t go after him though because Rodney’s still in his pyjamas and the van’s out of petrol. The irony of the situation was not lost on Del. What a plonker.
Licensed To Drill was made in 1984 between series three and series four and marks the final appearance of Lennard Pearce as cheeseburger-loving Granddad, who died just as work on the fourth series began. Just when I thought I had seen them all, it was great seeing a supposedly lost episode of Only Fools And Horses, which I think is definitely up to the usual very funny standard of the show.