Sleeping Dogs Lie (Only Fools and Horses)

"Sleeping Dogs Lie"
Only Fools and Horses episode
Episode no. Series 4
Episode 5
Directed by Susan Belbin
Written by John Sullivan
Produced by Ray Butt
Original air date 21 March 1985
(18.7 million viewers)
Running time 29:58 (DVD) / 29:59 (iTunes)

"Sleeping Dogs Lie" is an episode of the BBC sitcom, Only Fools and Horses. It was the fifth episode of series 4 and first broadcast on 21 March 1985. In the episode, Del Boy and Rodney babysit Boycie and Marlene's cherished Great Dane, Duke.


As Albert watches an old horror movie and Rodney bemoans the lack of jobs in London, Del Boy has found another opportunity to be a millionaire by babysitting Boycie and Marlene's dog, Duke.

The Trotter brothers arrive at Boycie's house and meet Duke, a large Great Dane who eats steak, takes vitamin pills, and nearly kills people when playing with them.

The next day, Del and Rodney go to the park where Del reminds Rodney that it is his turn to take Duke for a run. As Del walks off to flirt with a beautiful woman walking a dachshund, Rodney is horrified to see Duke lying in the back of the Trotter Van with no sign of life, and rushes to tell Del the bad news. The Trotter brothers race back to the van and are relieved to see that Duke is still breathing, so they quickly drive him to the vet.

While waiting at the local veterinary clinic, Rodney says that he believes that Duke being ill is all because of Albert. When the vet enters having examined Duke, he tells them that Duke is not injured and his illness is a mystery. He asks what the dog has been eating and when Del mentions re-heated pork, the vet concludes that Duke has been struck down with salmonella poisoning. Since Albert ate the rest of the pork, Del phones home and tells him he must go to hospital.

Later that night, back at the flat, Boycie and Marlene phone the Trotters to check on Duke, and Del pretends to be Duke by doing a quick barking noise into the telephone receiver.

The next morning, the Trotter Brothers arrive at the hospital to pick up Albert, who complains about what the doctors were doing to him, but Del has good news for Albert, that there was nothing wrong with him, and Duke has also made a complete recovery and is back on his paws.

Before the Trotters can leave for the vet, a doctor then shows them a bottle of pills given to him by one of the sisters and says that patients are not allowed to bring their own medicine into the hospital. Del points out that those pills are Duke's vitamin tablets. Rodney denies it and says that he has got Duke's vitamin tablets and pulls out a bottle that looks identical to the other one. After seeing both bottles, Del realises the truth behind Duke's condition: Rodney had been feeding Duke with Albert's sleeping pills, and Albert has been on the "Bob Martins". Del and Rodney decide not to tell Albert, although they joked about it.

Episode cast

Actor Role
David Jason Derek Trotter
Nicholas Lyndhurst Rodney Trotter
Buster Merryfield Uncle Albert Trotter
John Challis Boycie
Sue Holderness Marlene
Linda Barr Dog owner
Debbie Blyth Receptionist
John D. Collins Vet
Brian Jameson Doctor

First appearances


Episode concept


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