May the Force Be with You (Only Fools and Horses)

"May the Force Be with You"
Only Fools and Horses episode
Episode no. Series 3
Episode 5
Directed by Ray Butt
Written by John Sullivan
Produced by Ray Butt
Original air date 8 December 1983
(10.7 million viewers)
Running time 29:28 (DVD/Digital download)

"May the Force Be with You" is an episode of the BBC sitcom, Only Fools and Horses. It was the fifth episode of series 3, and was first screened on 8 December 1983. The title of the episode comes from the famous quote from Star Wars: May the Force be with you. In the episode, the despised DCI Roy Slater returns to Peckham and arrests the Trotters for stealing a microwave.


DCI Roy Slater, a corrupt, ambitious police officer and much-reviled ex-schoolmate of Del Boy, has returned to Peckham, where he has been tasked with tracking down a stolen microwave. He meets Trigger and Boycie – both horrified by his return – in the Nag's Head, and announces that he has recently been promoted to Detective Inspector. He begins talking to Rodney, who is unaware that Slater is a police officer, and tells him that he is an old "friend" of Del's. Rodney invites Slater back to Nelson Mandela House, without informing Del.

Back at the flat, Del is left dumbfounded when Slater walks in, and quickly makes Rodney aware that Slater is not an old friend, but an unscrupulous policeman, who once arrested his own father for having a defective rear light on his bicycle (which he had borrowed from Slater). After spotting a suspicious microwave in the Trotters' flat, Slater arrests Del, Rodney and Grandad.

At the police station, Slater quizzes the trio about where, and from whom, they acquired the microwave. In an improvised yarn, they state that it belonged to an unidentified deaf man in the market who dropped it. Del, Rodney, and Grandad are interviewed separately, giving vastly differing descriptions of the man in the market, with varying descriptions of the fictional assailant's race, age and height. Del and Slater briefly argue about their time as schoolboy adversaries, with Slater complaining about the refusal to let him into Del's group, their refusal to let him play Bluebeard and always having to walk the plank.

When Slater briefly leaves for the canteen, his partner, PC Terry Hoskins (whose mother, it emerges, has recently bought a gas fire from Del), advises Del to tell Slater the truth about the microwave. He also informs Del that Slater is without scruples and will pin an entire filing cabinet of unsolved crimes onto the offender. This, as Hoskins explains, will allow Slater a chance at further promotion for having quickly solved so many crimes. Slater returns with Rodney's criminal file for possession of cannabis, and makes a veiled threat that drugs may be planted on Rodney, meaning both he and Del would go to prison, leaving the vulnerable Grandad alone on the estate.

Despite Slater's best efforts, Del still refuses to give the name of the person who stole the microwave on that grounds that becoming an informant is against all he stands for. But as Slater prepares to have the charge sheets typed up, Del offers a deal: he will give Slater the name of the thief, provided he, Rodney, and Grandad are granted immunity from prosecution in writing and released without charge. Realising how much leverage being an informant would give him over Del in future, Slater readily agrees. With all the paperwork drawn up and signed by the Superintendent, Rodney and Grandad are led back into the interview room to see a desperate-looking Del as he prepares to sign it. He tells them of his predicament, explaining he has no choice but to co-operate, with he and Rodney facing the possibility of long prison sentences and Grandad being alone on the estate. He signs it and is asked by Slater: "Who nicked the microwave?" After further reassurances of his immunity from prosecution, Del confesses that he himself was the thief. A gleeful Del points at his immunity document as a horrified Slater looks on.

Episode cast

Actor Role
David Jason Derek Trotter
Nicholas Lyndhurst Rodney Trotter
Lennard Pearce Grandad Trotter
Roger Lloyd-Pack Trigger
Jim Broadbent Roy Slater
John Challis Boycie
Christopher Mitchell PC Terry Hoskins
Michele Winstanley Karen (Barmaid)

Story arc

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