Healthy Competition

"Healthy Competition"
Only Fools and Horses episode
Episode no. Series 3
Episode 2
Directed by Ray Butt
Written by John Sullivan
Produced by Ray Butt
Original air date 17 November 1983
(9.7 million viewers)
Running time

30 minutes

  • 27:54 (DVD)
  • 27:30 (iTunes)

"Healthy Competition" is the second episode of series 3 of the BBC sit-com, Only Fools and Horses. It was first broadcast on 17 November 1983. In the episode, Rodney decides to leave Trotters Independent Traders and go into business with Mickey Pearce.


After an argument with Del Boy for failing to spot an approaching policeman at the market, leading to a frantic chase scene, Rodney informs Del and Grandad that he has other things on his mind and is preparing to make a big announcement, namely that he is leaving Trotters Independent Traders to set up a business partnership with his friend Mickey Pearce. Del and Grandad warn Rodney that Mickey Pearce is not to be trusted and has no business sense, but Rodney dismisses their claims. Del warns Rodney that going it alone means he has to pay for everything himself from now, but Rodney goes ahead with it, insisting that he can prove he is just as good as Del. Rodney raises his revenue by informing Del that he owns one half of Trotters to which Del, after slight hesitation, gives Rodney money from the pile (though clearly less than half, in keeping with his character).

Rodney and Mickey meet Del at a local auction the following day, and set their eyes on a set of glass goblets. Del then arrives and urges them not to buy Lot 37, claiming that it is just scrap iron. Both Rodney and Mickey, thinking Del is trying to cheat them out of bidding for that lot, go ahead and purchase Lot 37, which turns out to be rusting and broken lawnmower engines. It also emerges Del was the one selling the engines in the first place, having drunkenly bought them off Alfie Flowers, an associate of his. Adding insult to injury, Rodney and Mickey have paid so wildly over the odds for the engines that Del ending up making a decent profit on the engines, with which he was able to buy the goblets they were after.

Things immediately go downhill for Rodney. Whilst Del has a successful week and manages to sell all his merchandise, Rodney and Mickey are lumbered with the broken lawnmower engines which are still stuck in Mickey's garden shed. Del tells Grandad about his own success and they both joke about Rodney's misfortune with the lawnmower engines. A couple of nights ago, someone broke into the shed and stole two of the engines, only to return them the next night. Rodney comes in and Grandad suggests they leave him alone and do not upset him about the engines.

Rodney is clearly struggling but is determined to convince Del he is managing perfectly. He claims to have had plenty of clients asking about the engines, and his claims become more exaggerated as Del probes further into his business. Rodney asks for some food but Del and Grandad refuse to cook him anything as he hasn't paid his housekeeping money. Rodney attempts to persuade them, but they do not budge. Grandad asks how Rodney could be struggling with money when he had the £200 given to him by Del out of their share of the partnership. It soon transpires that Mickey has gone on holiday to Benidorm with the company finances, leaving Rodney with nothing.

Feeling sorry for his brother, Del comes up with a scheme to get Rodney to rejoin Trotters Independent Traders with his pride intact and thinking that he has been successful. He pays another trader, Towser, to buy the lawnmower engines from Rodney for £200, despite having a scrap value of only £20, and to make up a story about a contact in the Parks Department who wants as many engines as he can get. Towser then asks what he should do with the engines, and Del tells him to give them back to Alfie.

Later on at The Nag's Head, Rodney tells Del he's liquidated the partnership with Mickey, and proudly tells him that he has sold the lawnmowers to Towser. Unfortunately, it becomes apparent that Del's plan hasn't quite worked out, and that Towser only paid Rodney £165 and kept the remaining £35 for himself. Worse still, Rodney has invested all the proceeds in buying another set of lawnmower engines from Alfie Flowers which are, unknown to Rodney, the same ones Towser had just given back to him. He thus asks Del if he can borrow some money, and Del angrily bemoans what a 42 carat plonker his brother is.

Episode cast

Actor Role
David Jason Derek Trotter
Nicholas Lyndhurst Rodney Trotter
Lennard Pearce Grandad Trotter
Glynn Sweet Auctioneer
Patrick Murray Mickey Pearce
Rex Robinson Harry (Foreman)
Dev Sagoo Waiter
Mike Carnell Towser

First appearances



John Williams: Jaws theme

Note: In the VHS/DVD versions, John Williams' "Jaws theme" is replaced by a similar-sounding piece of music.

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