Little Problems

"Little Problems"
Only Fools and Horses episode
Episode no. Series 6
Episode 6
Directed by Tony Dow
Written by John Sullivan
Produced by Gareth Gwenlan
Original air date 12 February 1989
(18.9 million viewers)
Running time

50 minutes

  • 49:49 (DVD)

"Little Problems" is an episode of the BBC sit-com, Only Fools and Horses. It was the final episode of series 6, and was first screened on 12 February 1989. John Sullivan's idea for the script came from a drink with David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst one evening, and the idea grew into this episode.[1]


With his wedding to Cassandra coming up, Rodney is worried that he will never receive his diploma in computing, having apparently failed his exam again, and also has the problem of needing to find £2,000 for the couple's new flat. However, Del Boy states that he will take care of these problems, as he announces that he's giving Rodney the £2000 as a wedding present, and then hands over Rodney's diploma, telling him that his teacher had been delayed in marking some of the diplomas. After Rodney leaves, Del confides to Uncle Albert that Rodney had in fact completely failed his exam, and his teacher required a £150 bribe in order to give a passing grade. In addition, Del will either need to sell his stock of mobile phones or get Boycie to pay up for the dodgy VCRs that Del had sold him a few months previously (in "Danger UXD") to raise the £2,000.

The following night, Del finds it hard work selling his phones, and Boycie claims to be out of pocket, thanks to the combination of a slump in the used car market and medical bills for his wife Marlene's pregnancy. Things get a lot worse when Mickey Pearce and Jevon enter the Nag's Head with cuts and bruises all over their bodies and tell Del that local crime bosses Tony and Danny, the Driscoll Brothers, are coming for him, and that it was in fact the Driscolls that had supplied Del's phones.

Del, Mickey, and Jevon hide upstairs (as does Trigger, although he does not understand what is going on), and the Driscolls enter, but find nothing. Just as it looks like they're safe, Trigger accidentally activates the antenna in Del's cordless phone, causing it to extend right up Del's nose, giving away their hiding place. The Driscolls threaten Del into paying them £2,000, but Del manages to buy some time by reminding them that he had looked after their mother when they got themselves jailed for their early crimes. Having seen the Driscolls enter, a terrified Boycie enquires whether Del had bought the VCRs off them and Del, seeing a chance to get his payment, says he did. The "skint" Boycie then suddenly produces £3,000 from his jacket pocket, giving Del the money that he needs.

At Rodney's stag night, the Driscoll Brothers show up again looking for Del, who suddenly remembers that he had promised Rodney £2,000 for his flat. He goes off to talk to the Driscoll Brothers and leaves Rodney alone with Denzil who believes that Del will use the money to pay them off. Rodney returns to the flat late that night (with an 'L' plate glued to his boxer shorts), shouting at Del, who is in the bathroom. Del informs Rodney that his money is on the table. Del is then shown nursing his injuries, muffling his pained groans, having taken a beating from the Driscoll Brothers' thugs rather than break his promise to his younger brother.

On the day of Rodney and Cassandra's wedding, Del is able to attend as the best man and Rodney is embarrassed as the minister reveals his middle name to be Charlton (named after Charlton Athletic according to Del, as their mum was a fan). Cassandra's parents Alan and Pamela also attend, although Pam fears that Alan will get drunk at the reception.

At the reception at the Nag's Head, Rodney thanks Del for everything, and leaves with Cassandra on their honeymoon. Marlene approaches Del and the two talk about past years, and Marlene asks Del why he never got married despite always being engaged when he was younger. Del tells her back then none of the women he went out with were interested in helping to raise Rodney, and he wasn't willing to put his brother into care. As a result, he broke up with them because family came first. The two say a fond farewell (a little too fond for Boycie's liking), and Del is left alone to remember all the good and bad times he has experienced, as well as Rodney's new found happiness, while Simply Red's "Holding Back the Years" plays in the background.

A few weeks later, Del returns home to the flat from the market, followed shortly by Rodney, dressed in a three-piece suit. Rodney asks Del what is for dinner, then Del offers Rodney some advice: "You don't live here no more." Realising his mistake, Rodney exits the flat abruptly, leaving Del amused, as he now knows that Rodney will always be around.

Episode cast

Actor Role
David Jason Del Boy
Nicholas Lyndhurst Rodney
Buster Merryfield Uncle Albert
Gwyneth Strong Cassandra
Roger Lloyd-Pack Trigger
John Challis Boycie
Kenneth MacDonald Mike
Sue Holderness Marlene
Paul Barber Denzil
Actor Role
Patrick Murray Mickey Pearce
Steven Woodcock Jevon
Roy Marsden Danny Driscoll
Christopher Ryan Tony Driscoll
Denis Lill Alan Parry
Wanda Ventham Pamela Parry
Jeff Stevenson Comedian
Derek Benfield Registrar

First appearances


Production notes

Mickey Pearce's injury in this episode was genuine. A few weeks before filming commenced, Patrick Murray tripped and fell through a pane of glass at his home, badly injuring his right arm. John Sullivan wrote this into the script, with Mickey explaining that he and Jevon had taken a beating from the Driscoll Brothers.


Wikiquote has quotations related to: Little Problems
Preceded by
"Sickness and Wealth"
Only Fools and Horses
12 February 1989
Succeeded by
"The Jolly Boys' Outing"
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