Nostalgic 'Only Fools and Horses' stage show soothes divided Britain

By Barbara Lewis and Lisa Keddie LONDON (Reuters) - British comedy 'Only Fools and Horses' ran for decades, drew the biggest home audience yet for a TV episode – and has smashed box office records with a West End musical version that resonates in a nation riven by Brexit and yearning for simpler times. Much has changed in Britain since Derek 'Del Boy' Trotter and his younger brother Rodney eked out a living in the 1980s and 1990s in the mean streets of Peckham, southeast London, selling whatever dubious goods they could lay their hands on.

Reuters March 22, 2019 01:06:59 IST
Nostalgic 'Only Fools and Horses' stage show soothes divided Britain

Nostalgic Only Fools and Horses stage show soothes divided Britain

By Barbara Lewis and Lisa Keddie

LONDON (Reuters) - British comedy "Only Fools and Horses" ran for decades, drew the biggest home audience yet for a TV episode – and has smashed box office records with a West End musical version that resonates in a nation riven by Brexit and yearning for simpler times.

Much has changed in Britain since Derek "Del Boy" Trotter and his younger brother Rodney eked out a living in the 1980s and 1990s in the mean streets of Peckham, southeast London, selling whatever dubious goods they could lay their hands on.

"We're in an incredibly polarised situation, so it's quite nice sometimes to go back and look at things with rose-tinted glasses," Tom Bennett, who plays Del Boy in the musical, told Reuters.

"Simplistically you could say they were simpler, much better times. That's not the case at all. But it's fun. It's a musical. It's based on one of the best comedies ever written."

The original was the creation of John Sullivan whose ability to portray loveable underdogs was rooted in his experience of growing up in a working class family in south London.

He took a job behind the scenes at the BBC and got his scripts noticed after years of rejections.

In 1996, one episode of "Only Fools and Horses" drew a record British television audience of more than 24 million and by the time he died in 2011, Sullivan's quintessentially British humour had generated laughter across the globe.

Jeff Nicholson, who in the musical plays Boycie, a businessman more financially successful but shadier than Del Boy, sums up Sullivan's skill.

"He hit some really heavy subjects but then brought you out of that emotional moment with a cutting gag," he said.

Residents of today's gentrified Peckham are among those packing the Theatre Royal Haymarket, one of the West End's oldest theatres.

The musical is the work of Sullivan's son Jim, who teamed up with actor and writer Paul Whitehouse, and developed ideas left by his father.

It is taking bookings until the end of August. Since opening last month, it has made more than 8 million pounds ($10.52 million) and sold 150,000 seats, making it the fastest selling show in the theatre's history.

Last year musicals drove record West End box office revenues of more than 765 million pounds, the Society of London Theatre said. ($1 = 0.7608 pounds)

(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Apple will enable storage of IDs like drivers licenses on iPhones
Business

Apple will enable storage of IDs like drivers licenses on iPhones

By Stephen Nellis (Reuters) -Apple Inc on Monday said it will offer the ability to store state-issued identification cards digitally on iPhones and that it is working with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to accept the digital IDs at airports, one of several updates to the software that runs on its devices. It also showed updates to its FaceTime video chat app, adding the ability to schedule calls with multiple attendees and making the software compatible with Android and Windows devices.

Airline bosses call on UK and U.S. to lift trans-Atlantic travel restrictions
Business

Airline bosses call on UK and U.S. to lift trans-Atlantic travel restrictions

LONDON (Reuters) - The bosses of all airlines flying passenger services between Britain and the United States called on Monday for the countries' governments to relax COVID-19 restrictions to reopen travel routes between the two countries. After more than a year of restrictions, the CEOs of American Airlines, IAG unit British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways Corp said high vaccination rates in both countries meant travel could restart safely. The push for reopening trans-Atlantic routes on Monday comes ahead of meetings between U.S.

EU patience wearing thin with UK on N.Ireland, weighing options
Business

EU patience wearing thin with UK on N.Ireland, weighing options

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's patience towards Britain over Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland is wearing thin and the bloc will consider its options should Britain continue its "confrontational path", an EU official said on Monday.