He Ain't Heavy, He's My Uncle

"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Uncle"
Only Fools and Horses episode
Episode no. Series 7
Episode 5
Directed by Tony Dow
Written by John Sullivan
Produced by Gareth Gwenlan
Original air date 27 January 1991
(17.2 million viewers)
Running time

50 minutes

  • 48:41 (DVD)

"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Uncle" is an episode of the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses. It was the fifth episode of series 7, and was first broadcast on 27 January 1991. The title of the episode is derived from the song "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother". In the episode, Uncle Albert is mugged and, thinking he's become a burden, decides to leave Nelson Mandela House.


There is an over-60s night happening at the Nag's Head, and Albert wants to dance with Marlene's mother, Dora Lane. Meanwhile, because of Raquel's pregnancy, and a spate of recent muggings on the estate, Del Boy decides that it is time to become a two-car family again. He purchases a 1977 Ford Capri Ghia from Boycie. Unbeknownst to Del, the car was a trade-in on the verge of being sent to be crushed before Boycie changed his mind. Rodney is unimpressed with the vehicle, who secretly refers to it as the "Pratmobile". Rodney attempts to look for another full-time job, though Raquel and Del remind him that his prospects are bleak, due to him being unregistered for income tax and National Insurance for ten years. However to raise his spirits, Del reinstates Rodney back into Trotters Independent Traders.

That night, at the Nag's Head, Albert play dominoes with his friend and rival, Knock-Knock, with the both of them battling for the affections of Marlene's mother, Dora Lane. The Trotters also notice a gang of skinheads in the background.

Two hours later, back at Nelson Mandela House, Del tells Raquel that he bought the Capri Ghia to drive her everywhere safely. Just then, Rodney rushes in and tells them that Albert's been mugged, and his money and pocket watch have been stolen. Later, Albert, now sporting a black eye, is laid out on the settee. Del wants to get his hands on the muggers, but Raquel tells him to leave it to the police. Then, Cassandra enters, and Albert tells her the story. In the kitchen, Cassandra and Rodney talk about Rodney's future with T.I.T Co, and Cassandra leaves after believing that Rodney is becoming more like Del.

A week has passed since Albert's mugging, and he still has not left the flat. When looking through his old treasure chest of memories, he shows Del and Raquel a photograph of where he and Grandad were born: Tobacco Road, which is now demolished. Rodney enters the flat, and he and Del talk about the doctor wanting Albert to try and return to normal life. Albert enters, and Del yells at him to get over his fear of going outside. The next morning, Albert runs away from home and leaves a note to his family: "I won't get under your feet any more. Your loving uncle, Albert." Raquel suggests that the Trotter brothers go out and look for Albert. Rodney takes the van, while Del takes the Capri Ghia - Rodney accidentally revealing that he calls the Capri the "Pratmobile".

The Trotter brothers spend all day driving around London looking for Albert, including searching the Seaman's Mission and the HMS Belfast. Eventually, they find their uncle at a yuppy housing development that used to be Tobacco Road. Del and Rodney apologise to Albert for yelling at him the previous night. Albert tells them how he first came to Tobacco Road at the age of 15 and got a job on a trampsteamer. He laments the fact that the old neighbourhood has been torn down for the housing development, while Del thinks of it as a huge improvement and starts to wax lyrical about what he plans to do when he can afford to move there. Rodney takes Albert home in the van, leaving Del alone to stare dreamily across the waters.

Two hours later, back at the flat, Albert has regained his confidence. Just then, Knock-Knock rings the doorbell. Albert answers it and tries to escape to his bedroom. Del speaks to Knock-Knock instead, and returns with Albert's pocket watch, which is what Knock-Knock wanted to return. Del has found out the truth: Albert was not mugged, he and Knock-Knock had had a fight over Marlene's mother, and Knock-Knock had knocked Albert out, and had also hit him in the eye. Albert also lost all of his money at dominoes to Knock-Knock, so to avoid embarrassment made up the mugging story.

Just then, Rodney enters and tells everyone that the skinheads were actually undercover police officers who had been placed on the estate following the recent muggings, and a biker gang was arrested for assaulting them. Del's heart sinks and he admits that he asked them to do it as a favour, since he knows their leader, and believed that they were responsible for mugging Albert. As they discuss the possible repercussions by fellow gangs, Albert confidently boasts about how he will beat them all. In a rage, Del attempts to hit Albert, but Rodney restrains him.


Paul & Linda McCartney : Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey

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