April 27

Lovely Jubbly! The woman who dressed Del Boy wins a BAFTA

Costume designer Phoebe De Gaye, the woman responsible for giving Del and Rodney their Peckham chic looks in Only Fools and Horses, won a BAFTA last night for her work on the BBC drama The Musketeers.

Back in 1981, Phoebe was a young costume designer working at BBC Television Centre when she was allocated to work on a new situation comedy called Only Fools and Horses. “I went off to meet [producer] Ray Butt and then I met the actors,” she recalls.
article-2533599-0300B4050000044D-945_634x894Phoebe got her inspiration for Del’s gear by going to car boot sales and looking at people not unlike Del Boy. “I remember one guy struck me,” she recalled. “He was a real jack-the-lad type with a paunch and white shoes and pushed up hair. I thought Del ought to have had permed hair like footballer Charlie George but I couldn’t persuade David to go for that!”

Once she had some ideas Phoebe made some rough sketches that she then presented to the production team. They approved them and with just a very small budget to spend she then set about gathering what she needed. Del’s costumes needed a little more variety so she took David Jason shopping in London’s Oxford Street to find the stuff for Del Boy to wear.

“We went to lots of different shops and I got David to try on all these horrible suits after looking around for a while and finally bought the suit in a really cheap and cheerful shop,” said Phoebe, pictured below on the set of The Musketeeers in the Czech Republic.

“Things would be bought at the sort of places that the Trotters themselves would have shopped at,” added Phoebe, Lark Rise To Candleford and Agatha Christie’s Marple.

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In the early days Rodney was rarely seen without his green camouflage combat jacket which came from BBC costume department stock and Phoebe added a Yasser Arafat-type headscarf which she bought at Shepherd’s Bush market. “Rodney always had a grungy look well before grunge became fashionable!” she said.

There’s more on dressing the Trotters – and masses of other behind-the-scenes details plus interviews with the stars – in my book Only Fools and Horses: The Official Inside Story OfficialinsideStory

(c) Steve Clark 2015. All rights reserved.

April 10

Video: The trailer for the first ever episode of Only Fools and Horses… with the original theme tune

This is a real find – the trailer for the first ever episode of Only Fools and Horses. This was recorded off air straight after an episode of the hospital drama Angels. You’ll notice the theme music is different. This music was written by Ronnie Hazlehurst and it was replaced after the first series with the more familiar one, which was written and sung by the show’s creator John Sullivan.

April 9

Only Fools and Horses creator John Sullivan’s grandson appeared in Sport Relief sketch with David Beckham

More than ten million people were watching when a little boy met David Beckham in the Only Fools and Horses Sport Relief sketch on Friday March 21st. What they did not know was that the six-year-old is the grandson of the show’s creator John Sullivan.

Little Joe Sullivan was seen asking the superstar for his autograph in a market in the sketch and helped to set up one of Sport Relief’s funniest moments when Beckham fell over.

Only Fools and Horses writer John Sullivan died three years ago and his family thought it would be a fitting tribute to include young Joe in the scene.

Dan Sullivan, Joe’s father, said: “My brother Jim and I put the sketch together and Jim thought it would be nice to include Joe in it. We agreed that if Dad had been here to write it he would probably have tried to include one of his grandchildren in it.

“Joe was very nervous before filming. There are always lots of people on the set of a television programme so it would be daunting for anyone not used to it, let alone a six-year-old child, but everyone was really nice to him.

“Once he met David Beckham he was much more relaxed, David really put him at ease. David’s got children of his own and he’s got a really nice manner and is very natural and down to earth.

“Joe had lines to say with David and the scene had to be filmed quite a few times and his confidence grew as it went on. Joe did really well. We are very proud of him and I am sure my dad would have been too.

“My brother Jim and I put the sketch together and Jim thought it would be nice to include Joe in it. We agreed that if Dad had been here to write it he would probably have tried to include one of his grandchildren in it.

“In the scene David Beckham was seen signing a ball for Joe’s character and later Beckham presented Joe with another signed football after filming which he had brought for him.

“That was really nice of David and Joe will really treasure it,” said Dan.

Joe, an Arsenal fan like his father and grandfather, knew Beckham from television but his younger ­sister Mia, three, who also met the former England captain, did not have a clue that she was chatting to one of the world’s most famous men.

This year’s Sport Relief show raised a record £51million on the night with a star-studded line-up, including Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan reuniting to sing their hit duet Especially For You.

(c) Steve Clark 2014