Only Fools and Horses episode banned from TV because it showed Del Boy as bully

An episode of Only Fools and Horses was banned from TV for almost 20 years because it showed loveable rogue Del Boy Trotter as a cruel and nasty bully.

A Royal Flush was originally broadcast at Christmas in 1986 and featured “Plonker” Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst) becoming friends with the daughter of a duke.

His cheeky older brother Del (Sir David Jason) tries – and fails – to help him make the right impression when they mingle with high society.

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The show was only finished just hours before broadcast and contained no audience laughter.

And after it aired, creator John Sullivan said he “hated it” as certain scenes were too dark and made the nation’s much loved Del Boy look totally out of character.

In a scene at a posh dinner at a manor house, he cruelly belittles Rodders in front of the guests.

And when they go to the opera, he upsets audience members by getting in their way and threatens one man angrily “I am gonna come down there and smack you in the eye.”

Sullivan ruled that A Royal Flush should never be repeated.

It was not until 2005 that he allowed it to be released on DVD but only after major editing.

Audience laughter was added to soften harsher moments and other scenes were cut completely.

Editor Chris Wadsworth tells Channel 5 documentary Secrets and Scandals of Only Fools and Horses airing tomorrow (friday): “It’s quite a cruel dark episode. John said ‘This is not a good episode’.

“Some 20 years later he said ‘Can we do anything to take out Del being nasty?” The episode was shown to an audience to get a laughter track but I don’t think we succeeded completely.”

TV producer Richard Latto said: “The original where Del Boy is being quite cruel to Rodney…. it is a hard watch.”

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