Royal Mail celebrated the 40th anniversary of the BBC television sitcom Only Fools & Horses with a set of eight stamps and a miniature sheet issued on February 16.

Created by John Sullivan and first broadcast in 1981, Only Fools & Horses ran for seven series and 16 Christmas specials until 2003, amounting to 64 episodes in all. At its peak, it was watched by more than 24 million people.

Following the exploits of wheeler-dealer Del Trotter (played by David Jason) and his younger brother Rodney (played by Nicholas Lyndhurst) as they tried to make it big in south-east London, it is fondly remembered for the warmth of its wide cast of characters and for its comic one-liners. 

Some of the show’s catchphrases have entered common usage, and ‘lovely jubbly’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2003.

A set of eight stamps features memorable scenes and quotes from the programme, several of which have been voted among the funniest British television moments ever. 

The accompanying four-stamp miniature sheet features the four main characters in the Trotter family, each with his own catchphrase or quote, while the border shows the unmistakable Trotters Independent Trading Co yellow three-wheeled van.

Designed by Interabang, the issue was printed in litho by International Security Printers, with the counter sheet stamps available in four vertically se-tenant pairs.

 

1st class ‘A Losing Streak’

In this episode from 1982, Del Boy risks losing everything he has in a game of poker with Boycie, but he has a trick up his sleeve.

1st class ‘Sleeping Dogs Lie’

In this episode from 1985, the Trotters agree to look after Boycie and Marlene’s beloved great dane, Duke, but soon regret it when the dog inexplicably falls ill.

1st class ‘Yuppy Love’

In this episode from 1989, Del becomes a yuppie, keen to make an impression with his mobile phone and Filofax. While trying to act cool in the wine bar with Trigger, however, he falls through the open hatch.

1st class ‘A Touch of Glass’

In this episode from 1982, Del and Rodney are contracted to clean the chandeliers in a stately home. They are braced to catch one chandelier with a sheet, as Grandad unscrews it from the ceiling, but unfortunately he is unscrewing the other one.

£1.70 ‘The Jolly Boys’ Outing’

In this Christmas special from 1989, the regulars at the Nag’s Head pub book a coach for their annual beano to Margate. The coach's dodgy radio, which had been supplied by Del Boy, emits fumes which incapacitate the driver and eventually catches fire, causing the vehicle to explode.

£1.70 ‘The Unlucky Winner Is…’

In this episode from 1989, Del enters Rodney in a children’s painting competition, and he wins a holiday in Mallorca. To ‘enjoy’ the prize, Rodney has to pretend to be 15 years old for the duration, while his girlfriend Cassandra has to play his mother.

£1.70 ‘Three Men, a Woman and a Baby’

In this episode from 1991, Del and his partner Raquel await the birth of their first child. Rodney is spooked when they decide to name it Damien.

£1.70 ‘Time On Our Hands’

In this Christmas special from 1996, Raquel’s father spots a valuable antigue in the Trotters’ lock-up. By selling it at auction, Del Boy and Rodney finally become millionaires, as Del was always convinced they would.

 

MINIATURE SHEET

1st class Del Boy

‘This time next year, we’ll be millionaires’ was Del Boy’s optimistic catchphrase throughout the series.

1st class Rodney

‘Cosmic!’ was Rodney’s underwhelmed response to many a plan conjured up by Del.

£1.70 Grandad

‘I’ve always wanted to go to Benidorm. Where is it?’ was Grandad’s response to the prospect of a cheap overseas holiday.

£1.70 Uncle Albert

‘During the war...’ was Uncle Albert’s catchphrase, the prelude to unprompted reminiscences from his days serving in the Royal Navy.

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

The presentation pack contains many facts and stories behind the sitcom, including how it was nearly axed by the BBC in its early days.

A press sheet of 14 uncut miniature sheets is available, in a limited edition of 300, as well as the usual stamp cards and first day covers.

 

PRICES

Set of 8 stamps   £10.20

Miniature sheet   £5.10

Presentation pack  £16.20

Press sheet   £78.55

Stamp cards   £5.85

First day cover (stamps)   £12.90

First day cover (mini sheet)   £6.80

Medal covers   from £19.99

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   3/5

It’s yet another stamp issue featuring a television series, but one of the most popular of its generation

QUALITY OF DESIGN   1/5

The quality of TV stills from the 1980s doesn’t stand up to very close scrutiny

WOW FACTOR   3/5

With plenty of recognisable characters, these stamps will get noticed if used on commercial mail