32 Responses to “A Royal Flush episode review”

  1. Rob M says:

    People always say how nasty Del was in a royal flush, but never mention how nasty Boycie was in a losing streak. (card game episode)

    He was willing to strip Del of all his cash and everything in the flat

  2. Roy Wood says:

    I don’t know why people often criticise “A Royal Flush” because I think it’s great.
    Obviously, it’s not a classic episode and it isn’t the best episode but it’s certainly not the worst episode.
    The worst ever “Only Fools” episode was “If They Could See Us Now” and not “A Royal Flush”.
    And I only like the original uncut 1986 “A Royal Flush” and I hate the cut version from 2004 with the laughter track, it’s terrible.
    And the worst thing they ever done with “Only Fools” was when they edited “Miami Twice” and placed it onto VHS & DVD.
    I can’t stand to watch it.
    They should have put it onto VHS & DVD how it was broadcast in 2 parts and with part 2 with no laughter track.
    The laughter on Part 2 is fake and in some places is too loud and irritating and is louder than the dialogue.
    I do hope that “Miami Twice” will get a Blu-ray release one day but how it was broadcast in 2 parts and uncut and no edits or laughter on part 2.
    I love the original transmissions of both “A Royal Flush” and “Miami Twice” but can’t stand the edited versions.
    “A Royal Flush” is a proper “Only Fools” episode (the 1986 uncut) but “If They Could See Us Now” isn’t.
    After “Time On Our Hands” they should have gone straight onto “Strangers On The Shore” because the 2002 and 2003 episodes are alright just not 2001.
    But of course, everyone’s opinions are different and that’s fair enough and if we were all the same, we would be boring so bonnet de douche my son!
    I know quite a few people who’s favourite episode is “A Royal Flush” it’s a great episode, not great enough to watch as often as “Hull & Back” and “Jolly Boys’ Outing” and “Heroes and Villains” but still a great “Only Fools” episode :)

  3. Adam says:

    Yeah it’s bad, though I’m not sure I would declare it the absolute worst. The plot is a bit of a stretch, but still much more believable than some of the later specials (*cough* Mafia boss doppelganger *cough*), and there are some funny moments. Probably the highlight of the episode is Del bringing his own gun for the clay shooting. “Iggy Higgins robs banks!” XD

    However, it is a tough watch, and no surprise that the cast, crew and BBC have effectively buried it in the vault. I have the uncut DVD version and at 76 mins it really drags. The opera scene in particular just goes on and on with only one funny moment – when Del realises he recognises the tune and starts whistling along. The major mistake of the episode is that he comes across to the viewing audience exactly as he does to the opera-goers – crude, boorish and annoying.

    It just smacks of being an unpolished first draft, though I can’t imagine hacking it down to an hour improves it much. Jason’s performance is just ‘off’, and Lyndhurst isn’t given anything to do except gradually sink into despair, which he does in a way that’s just a bit too genuine. It doesn’t help that almost all the episodes around it are regarded as classics, so its comparative lack of quality stands out all the more. And of course it builds to a climax which seems uncommonly mean-spirited for OFAH (the same problem the first comeback special had). I’ve seen war documentaries less bleak than that final scene. The total lack of audience and background noise make it seem like Del and Rodney have been condemned to the void at the end of the universe.

  4. Leanne says:

    I think the port/rum had a lot to do with the dining scene. Wasn’t it Albert that told them not to give him to much. The more he drank the more of an arsehole he became. I didn’t dislike that episode but I didn’t love it. I felt sorry for Rodney. But apart from this episode we all still love del!

  5. David Barlow says:

    I’m quite familiar with the uncut version and wish I had held onto it. I used to quite like this episode. I agree that it shows a really unpleasant side to Del but let’s face it he has many horrible facets to his personality for example in how many episodes does he knowingly rip off his friends and exploit people ?

    Of course, this episode goes a step further and shows Del humiliating his brother Rodney and we know above all else that family means everything to Del so it rubs us up the wrong way. It seems at odds with the rest of the OFAH, or does it ? Rememnber that in ‘And the winner is ..’ Del is perfectly happy to let Rodney suffer on holiday just so that he can have a good time.

    I would say that the Del in this episode is an exaggeration of the bad side of Del and this is actually explained by the fact that we have never seen Del this blind drunk before. He has a financial motive from the very beginning which is right on character but gets so drunk and carried away that he totally overdoes it. He never intended to humiliate Rodney at the outset.

    For these reason I wish they had not edited this down as for me it does little to paper over the problems that everyone had with the full version. The laughter track is also does little to enhance the episode, we are so used to hearing a live audience that is becomes noticeably fake.

    Overall I think this episode has a place in the OFAH legacy, there’s nothing wrong with seeing Del ‘warts and alll’ – I so much prefer it to the post millionaire episodes that came towards the end.

  6. Elvis says:

    I frankly don’t know where to begin so I’ll just say that I agree with everyone who thought this episode was appalling and did not fit into the series whatsoever. It was an embarrassment.

    I can’t explain why I watched it to the end tonight except to say that I hoped for something redeeming to happen. As it was, it was like watching The Evil Captain Kirk from Star Trek.

  7. Cyril says:

    I’ve been watching OFAH episodes in chronological order for the past few weeks, and I just made it through this particular episode. My takeaway is this; This is totally classic Del Boy in this episode.

    Throughout the first five series, I’ve been constantly saying to myself, over and over, “How is this one of the most beloved characters in British sitcom history??” Derrick Trotter is not a lovable rogue…he’s a selfish, narcissistic megalomaniac, an unscrupulous, manipulative and exploitative sociopath, and one of the most cruel fictional characters in television history. He’s not a protagonist, but rather an antagonist, to the point where it’s not charming or endearing or even pithy. To be frank, I hate the series 1-5 Del Boy.

    Now, having seen some later episodes, he’s nowhere near as bad once he settles down with Raquel and becomes a father. But the Derrick Trotter seen in Royal Flush should be hanging from a gibbet in the Tower of London, but to me this is simply the culmination of his behavior throughout the early years of the series.

  8. Paddy The Greek says:

    I’ve just watched a video of the cut scenes on Dailymotion (the first time in a long while that I’ve seen them as it’s ages since I saw the full version of the episode)and I have to largely agree with Nathan’s review. Although I don’t necessarily agree with Sullivan editing it down, I can see why he did it.

    The fact is, despite some good lines that could have done with being left in, the vast majority of what’s cut simply isn’t funny. Del is totally out of character, his ‘performance’ in the opera scene is complete idiocy, his behaviour at the dinner table just nasty. Rodney is nearly in tears at the end of the opera scene (a fact that Sullivan made less obvious in the edit) and is a wreck by the time Del’s finished with him in the dinner scene. It’s not right at all, it just doesn’t sit with how Del behaves in other episodes, and to have the character of Rodney end up destroyed by Del’s behaviour doesn’t sit right either. Also, the fact that there is no laughter track/live audience (not a bad thing in itself) actually emphasises how unfunny and harsh most of it is.

    I have to say I was not in favour of the edited version being the default version for broadcasts and DVD releases, but having now watched the deleted parts again I can understand why it was done. The edited version does mitigate quite a bit of the nastiness of the original version, with the addition of the laughter track and much of Del’s excesses (as well as Rodney’s reaction to these excesses) removed. This makes it watchable but it is still far from a classic episode and the behaviour of Del is not ‘right’ for virtually the entire episode.

  9. Chrissy says:

    I live in the US and just got Britbox, so I am watching most of the “Only Fools and Horses” programs for the first time, as I didn’t watch them when I lived in the UK.

    I love the series and find it hilarious but was perplexed and also angry when watching “Royal Flush” so I googled it and found this article.

    I totally agree with the comments and I think that not only is it not funny, it is also a very crude depiction of the English working class – I noted that there were no jokes at the expense of the upper classes in it, all of whom were shown to be reasonable.

    Not only is this script not true to the previous character of Del, it is not true to the real people his character is based upon; even though the majority don’t ever go to see an opera, I cannot believe any of them would behave the way Del & his girlfriend were shown in this episode. That Sullivan wasn’t around during filming makes it clearer how this got filmed as it is without someone asking for partial rewrites.

  10. scott Barber says:

    I agree totally with this review. The original uncut version is just awful. Del does come across as evil and nasty throughout. I remember watching it as a kid when it came on at Christmas, and couldn’t believe what I was watching.

    From beginning to end, it doesn’t let up once, making Del one of the nastiest TV sitcom characters ever, and not in a good way like Blackadder or Basil Fawlty.

    The opera scene is very embarrassing, but the dinner table scene just turns Del into a downright pig, and at the end of the episode he doesn’t redeem himself, but instead tries to physically hurt Rodney, after destroying him throughout the entire episode. It just doesn’t make any sense, because Del at his worst in other episodes usually had good intent underneath, and usually redeems himself. Here he doesn’t.

    I can see why Sullivan wanted to edit this, and why he tried to disown it. The faults are glaringly obvious, even the edited version.

    I prefer to think this didn’t exist at all, and really wished it had never been made in the first place.

    • Griff says:

      It’s quite an exaggeration to call Del evil and nasty throughout.

      He was nothing more than a drunken fool at the dinner table.

      • Adam says:

        Del makea his brother cry, ruins an opera performance deliberately, reunites with an ex with neither he nor his ex acknowledging how horribly their previous encounter was, with them having callously cheated on each other), wrecks his brother’s romance and THEN blackmails the girl’s father to break her and Rodney up. This unforgivable betrayal of your loving brother (who in some respects is more like your innocent son) is not evil? You must be a very cold person.

  11. Sam says:

    The whole Del trying to mix with the wealthy and out-stay his welcome scenario reminded me too much of ‘A Touch of Glass.’

    The only thing I like about the episode are the scenes at the beginning with Rodney & Vicky in the market & café. I turn it off after that for the usual reasons.

  12. Rmatton14@aol.com says:

    Yeah – the uncut version is available on the number discs, those weekly only fools and horses magazines that came with a DVD every fortnight – that version of ‘a royal flush’ is uncut.

    the BBC offical DVD release in the shops is the horrible chopped version with a laughter track.

    on a side note, the uncut version is also available on VHS home video, the official video tape release of ‘a royal flush’ – all the scenes are intact.

    • Glenn says:

      I agree with the comments on here that it is a bad episode , the worst of the specials and I only,own it because I bought the DVD to complete the whole set . The premise is typical Del but it’s the way it’s done . I’m afraid it should be royally flushed down the khazi as Del would say….

  13. Kevin Healey says:

    I have both versions and I prefer the uncut original. I don’t think you should over analyse this episode, at the end of the day Del had way to much to drink, got totally pissed and as a result acted completely out of character.

  14. Wayne Barrett says:

    A good article, Nathan,but, I think you are analysing too much about the characterization of Del. There are many other “Evil Del” moments in Only Fools roughly around this period- “Strained Relations”- Del says to Rodney, “I wish I’d had you put in care, then I could have been someone” (which is far nastier then anything in “A royal flush” and also just before this in “Tea for three” both the brothers are quite spiteful to each other. I always thought that a “Royal Flush” was one of the best Only Fools episodes-full of classic one liners and a great although unlikely plot. It is in my opinion, far better than some of the post ’91 fools- too many lacklustre efforts for such a high standard (never particually liked “Fatal Extraction”)but it’s all down to personal choice. Thw bottom line is that underneath it all, Del and Rodney care deeply for each other as shown in the thread running through the entire show’s history. The no.1 sitcom in history of course!

  15. Rob says:

    I prefer the full uncut version of ‘a royal flush’ I wasn’t keen on the 2004 edited version with a laughter track/laughing audience.

    If anybody is thinking about getting ‘a royal flush’ on DVD/Video whatever – I would strongly suggest getting the uncut version, the 2004 hacked version was brutally chopped by about 20 mins of footage.

    the uncut version is a little harder to find than the common cut one – but it’s worth it.

  16. Paul says:

    Hi anyone know whos in the line up for this years convention? Come on Perry let us know ?

  17. danboy says:

    Sorry but i just can’t watch the edited version, it’s awful. Granted the original cut isn’t the best episode in the world either, one of my least favourites. To think this is sandwiched between To Hull and back and The frog’s legacy in terms of Xmas specials (2 of my all time favourite episodes) doesn’t really help.

    The episode does have some good lines though….

    “…..I see, and what is sirs pleasure?

    Well birds and curry I suppose but I haven’t come here to chit chat”

    As said, I always look back on this episode with a touch of regret about what might have been, but to pretend it doesn’t exist would be wrong

  18. Griff says:

    I enjoyed this write-up, until the author started to refer to Sir David Jason’s character as ‘Evil Del’. That is a ridiculous and over-the-top comment/nickname to make for Del Boy in this one special.

    If we can just step away from what happened in the show, Del Boy, at the end of the day was basically like an excited kid at Christmas when he found out Rodney was seeing a lady of upper class. And yes, like every OFAH episode, Del also had the sight of money in his mind. SHOCK HORROR!

    I agree that Del’s behaviour at the dinner table was a little out of order, but this was solely down to him being pissed. When you’re pissed, you tend to say silly things and behave in a way you normally wouldn’t. AND, I happen to believe it’s perfectly feasible that Del wanted Vicky’s family to be aware of Rodney’s dodgy past (Dope smoking at college) as I believe special branch WOULD find this out and potentially ‘get rid’ of Rodney. After all, Vicky herself advised Rodney that special branch keep an eye out for her if she is out late or doesn’t return to her home after a certain while.

    It annoys me when fans slate this episode. It had many, many funny one-liners and in my opinion was well written. Yes, it was a little sad at the end but for Christ sakes – the one compliment that all fans and critics have paid tribute to, is Sullivan’s ability to make you laugh and cry. This episode was a prime example that comedy and doom could mix. It was a good episode and funnier and more enjoyable than the final trilogy in my opinion.

    • Rob says:

      Which was your favourite episode out of the final 3 episodes? Just wondered

      I must admit I liked royal flush I thought it was good episode. But I personally preferred frogs legacy dates and jolly boys outing their my favourite episodes. Classics

      • Griff says:

        I guess I really enjoyed ‘If They Could See Us Now’ purely because it was the first episode out of the 3 and one that you kind of go ‘ahhh, I’m glad the show is back and alive’. But I guess for the actual all round funny story-line and jokes, then it’s ‘Strangers on the Shore’.

        Overall, The Jolly Boys Outing is the greatest special they produced.

        • Rob says:

          Yes jolly boys outing was just perfect wasn’t it! What a fantastic episode. Such a shame they never made the final episode about dels 65th birthday that they were planning on doing.
          I still would like to see del boy rodders and trigger visit Boycie down at the farm just as a one off green green grass xmas special, think it would be so funny and nice to see them again. Jim John Sullivans son could come up with a great script I am sure.

  19. Rob says:

    I must admit – Del does indeed come across a bit nastier than usual in this episode, especially the comment towards the customer in the market at the beginning of the episode:

    ‘well you can run your wrist gently down the blade and find out’

  20. Oliver says:

    Agreed Rob. “If they could see us now” Was a decent episode and I loved the one liners it had in it. It was not the best, but it was certainly up there. In my opinion though the perfect ending to this series was when they went off into the sunset as millionaires as the triple after it was “as not as good as” I don’t know weather it was because Albert had died or not, but it just didn’t feel right. The problem with royal flush though, it was a good story, they just mucked about with it too much, not having laughter, releasing it uncut, then the severally cut it an released that. John Sullivan not being there really notices as it feels like a rush job.

  21. richard says:

    This episode came just under 3 months after Del had had his chance of a lifetime ruined by Rodney’s behaviour in ‘who wants to be a millionaire’.
    Maybe Del had every right to still be a little bit bitter towards Rodney in this episode.
    I know episodes stood alone in those days but maybe John Sullivan still had this in mind.
    As for the final 3 episodes, this was a typical case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’.

  22. John says:

    Who is this idiot who wrote this, clearly not a true OFAH fan and as far as I know the only one fan who “Hates” it, he should hang his head hating any episode and whats all this “evil del” rubbish, he was just drunk at a meal and as for the handshake, its clear he doesnt realize he shaking the broken hand.

    I personally love this ep as I do all except the last 3 though I dont “hate” them, you have look far to much into what isnt there.

    To quote del, Nathan you are a total wally

    • Pete says:

      That’s not a nice thing to say at all – personally the episode is by far the worse that was ever shown – in fact it is the only one I personally do not own, why? because I don’t like it either and therefore have never bothered to purchase it.

      Does that make me a “idiot” – should I “hang my head in shame” – …you are the only idiot that should “hang his head in shame”.

  23. Rob says:

    I notice your negative comment about ‘if they could see us now’ i watched that again the other night and thought after seeing it again it was a funny episode. Some classic moments! Trig arriving at flat ‘you put a bit of music on dave’ ? and the karaoke version ! lol how can you say this is a bad episode? Rodney as Russel crow hilarious. del boy saying this time next year we will be millionaires, Rodney response “this time last week we were millionaires”! I couldn’t stop laughing and think it isn’t as bad as people make out. I thought it was very funny, like when Rodney tells john ross to piss off thinking it mickey pearce, again had me in tears of laughter.
    Just my opinion don’t know what everybody else thinks? I admit initially I agree time on our hands the best ending, but I think there are bits out of the new final 3 episodes which were superb, and I am glad that the 2001, 02 and 03 episodes were made.

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