February 13

Remember Only Fools and Horses star Roger Lloyd Pack – and perhaps make a donation to charity

The funeral took place today of the much-loved actor Roger Lloyd Pack who was famous, of course, as Trigger in Only Fools and Horses, and was an actor of great range and depth.

Roger died of pancreatic cancer, the ninth most common cancer in the UK. More than 8,000 people are diagnosed in the UK every year and although it can affect people of any age, it is most common in those aged between 50 and 80.

Pancreatic cancer is very difficult to detect and treat as it causes few symptoms in its early stages, when the tumour might be more treatable, but is often not diagnosed until it is relatively advanced. Surgery can be used be used to remove the tumour but this treatment is only suitable for around 15-20% of patients.

Research into finding a cure for pancreatic cancer was very important to Only Fools and Horses creator John Sullivan as his great friend, actor Ralph Bates, had died of it in 1991 aged just 50.

Ralph (right), who starred in John’s BBC comedy series Dear John, died ten weeks and one day following his diagnosis. He left behind a wife, Virginia, a son Will and daughter Daisy.

Following Ralph’s death a charity was set up bearing his name – The Ralph Bates Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund – and John was a Patron of it until his untimely death in April 2011.

The main objective of The Ralph Bates Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund is to provide funds for research into causes and cures for pancreatic cancer and a donation to the charity will help with this. You can make a donation on the charity’s website.

There is also a national charity, Pancreatic Cancer UK, which offers support to people with pancreatic cancer and their families, information about treatment and details of research into the illness. Donations can be made here.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone who ever laughed at Trigger and enjoyed Roger’s sublime performances in Only Fools and Horses made a small donation to one of these charities to help fund research to combat this awful illness.

January 21

Del and Rodney team up with David Beckham for a one-off special Only Fools and Horses sketch for Sport Relief.

Wheeler-dealers Del Boy and Rodney Trotter are to team up with David Beckham for a one-off special Only Fools and Horses sketch for Sport Relief.

The short sketch, which has already been filmed, will be screened as part of Sport Relief on March 21st.

The short sketch has been written by Jim Sullivan and Dan Sullivan which includes some previously unused material written by their father John Sullivan OBE, who created and wrote every episode of Only Fools and Horses.

I was on set for the filming of the sketch and although I can’t go into details about it at the moment – you won’t be disappointed. I’ll be writing more about it closer to transmission.

Jim Sullivan says: “David Beckham got in touch back in September last year saying he is a big fan of Only Fools and wondering if there was a possibility of doing something together for Sport Relief 2014.”

Jim said recently: “Since Dad passed away back in April 2011 we have been asked a few times whether we’d  be interested in writing any new material for Only Fools and we have always said no, our intention being to protect the work and not to attempt adding to it.

“However, Sport Relief being such a worthy cause, and with the opportunity to help raise a lot of money, we felt things were different this time, and we also knew that Dad would approve.

“So we put together a sketch, incorporating some of Dad’s old notes – bits of dialogue for the show that he never found a place for – and, thankfully, the response was positive and everyone got behind it.

“Working on the sketch has been a lot of fun, but also quite daunting.  The characters are so well loved, but we do feel we know and care for them enough to give them back their voices just this once.

“And we would like to make it clear that it is just this once, and that we are not, and never have been, looking to write any new episodes.  There was only ever one writer of Only Fools and Horses, and it is going to stay that way.”

January 19

Enjoy the Only Fools and Horses Sport Relief sketch – but don’t expect any new episodes

Beckham in Only Fools

The news about a new short Only Fools and Horses sketch for Sport Relief has been greeted with great excitement by fans of the show and in the media.

But I don’t expect it to lead to any other episodes. Here John Sullivan’s son Jim eloquently explains why: “Since Dad passed away back in April 2011 we have been asked a few times whether we’d be interested in writing any new material for Only Fools and we have always said no, our intention being to protect the work and not to attempt adding to it.

“However, Sport Relief being such a worthy cause, and with the opportunity to help raise a lot of money, we felt things were different this time, and we also knew that Dad would approve.

“So we put together a sketch, incorporating some of Dad’s old notes – bits of dialogue for the show that he never found a place for – and, thankfully, the response was positive and everyone got behind it.

“Working on the sketch has been a lot of fun, but also quite daunting. The characters are so well loved, but we do feel we know and care for them enough to give them back their voices just this once.

“And we would like to make it clear that it is just this once, and that we are not, and never have been, looking to write any new episodes. There was only ever one writer of Only Fools and Horses, and it is going to stay that way.”