Happy Returns

"Happy Returns"
Only Fools and Horses episode
Episode no. Series 4
Episode 1
Directed by Susan Belbin
Written by John Sullivan
Produced by Ray Butt
Original air date 21 February 1985
(15.2 million viewers)
Running time 30:30 (DVD) / 30:33 (iTunes)

"Happy Returns" is an episode of the BBC sitcom, Only Fools and Horses. It was the first episode of series 4, and was first broadcast on 21 February 1985. In the episode, when Del discovers that Rodney's latest girlfriend is the daughter of an old flame, he suspects she might be his daughter.


The latest object of Rodney's lust is a pretty newsagent worker named Debbie, who is also keen on him, though acts slightly more coy about it. Meanwhile, Del Boy saves a young boy from getting hit by speeding traffic. That night, Del comes across the boy again, who tells him that he is running away from home because he got into trouble with his mother for letting the air out of the tyres on the Trotters' van. Del tells him that they will go and tell the boy's mother that he had asked the youngster to deflate the tyres on the Reliant Regal van, to entice the boy back home.

Del is pleasantly surprised to see that the boy's mother is June Snell, one of Del's old girlfriends from the 1960s. When Rodney unexpectedly arrives to see Debbie (from the newsagent), Del realises that June is Debbie's mother too. In order to leave the courting couple alone, he and June go to The Nag's Head to reminisce about old times, although June is reluctant to reveal why she left Del so suddenly when they were a couple. However, when the barmaid unwittingly reveals that Debbie's 19th birthday is imminent, Del deduces that June left him because she was pregnant with his child - Debbie. Quickly, he returns to June's flat to stop Rodney committing what he mistakenly describes as 'an act of incense'. An uninformed Rodney isn't happy with his brother's interfering and demands to know why it is Del's concern who he dates. Del tells him everything. Distraught, Rodney pleads with Del to ask June if it's 'definitely definite' he is Debbie's father as June hasn't actually told Del yet.

The next night, June comes clean; Albie Littlewood - not Del - is really the father. Albie was Del's old friend, who June was cheating on Del with. For 19 years, Del had been riddled with guilt over Albie's death. He believed Albie had died whilst using the railway line as a short cut when on his way to see him at the pub (Albie's bicycle had fallen onto a live rail and electrocuted him). June informs Del that Albie was actually on his way to see her, so had nothing to feel guilty over. But Del tells June that is not the cause of his guilt. The real cause of his guilt is even if Albie had avoided his death that fateful night, Del would not have been at the pub to see him; Del was busy cheating on June with Deidre, Albie's girlfriend.

Just when the misunderstanding appears to be cleared up, Del realises it is too late, as Debbie has now fallen for Mickey Pearce. As Del leaves the flat, he sarcastically tells a confused Mickey not to take a shortcut across the railway line.

The antics of this episode are mentioned by Debbie's mum, June, in "A Royal Flush".

Episode cast

Actor Role
David Jason Derek Trotter
Nicholas Lyndhurst Rodney Trotter
Diane Langton June Snell
Roger Lloyd-Pack Trigger
Patrick Murray Mickey Pearce
Oona Kirsch Debby
Nula Conwell Maureen
Lala Lloyd Lady in newsagents
Ben Davis Jason



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