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Del of an act to follow; TVChoice.

Rock & Chips (BBC1, 9pm) SOME people may think the BBC has missed a trick in not bringing Only Fools And Horses back for the Royal Wedding.

Del Boy Trotter would surely have been in his element, flogging misprinted memorabilia to gullible tourists on his Peckham market stall.

Instead, we've got the next best thing - the third instalment of the prequel Rock & Chips, also by Only Fools And Horses creator John Sullivan, who died last Saturday.

Rock & Chips is also set in the early 1960s, when Del Boy was still a teenager and Rodney but a babe in arms. While his brother may not get any lines yet, the young Derek (Inbetweeners star James Buckley) does have to share the limelight with his mother Joan (Kellie Bright), a woman previously best known to OFAH fans for her suspiciously long list of deathbed requests.

Here, she's very much alive, and pursuing an illicit romance with Rodney's father Freddie Robdal, played by Nicholas Lyndhurst.

But even with other Trotters to share the load and Peckham veteran Lyndhurst on hand to offer a few pointers, playing the younger version of a character of such iconic stature as Del Boy must be a daunting task.

Luckily, Buckley was encouraged to put his own stamp on the part. He says: "There was no pressure to imitate David Jason and I don't think anyone would have wanted that.

"It's just important to remember that this isn't an episode of Only Fools And Horses. That's already been done - and so brilliantly - that there wouldn't be any point in trying to do it again. This is completely different and I think, as long as people realise this is something new and exciting, then they'll get a lot out of it."

That doesn't mean he completely ignored the original, though. Buckley says: "I bought the complete box set of Only Fools And Horses to make sure I hadn't missed any episodes. I was watching a series a day at one point!" The research clearly paid off as, despite some initial scepticism from die-hard OFAH fans, the first helping of Rock & Chips proved so successful, it led to another portion at Christmas, and then this latest episode.

Joan is still the Trotter family breadwinner, holding down a job at the Ritz cinema while also working as Freddie's charlady. But the fact that, even after six months, she still doesn't know how to switch on his vacuum cleaner suggests her duties aren't entirely domestic.

In fact, she'd like to set up home with Freddie permanently, but decides to put off leaving her feckless husband Reg until Del is settled.


Making his mark: James Buckley as the young Del Boy in Rock & Chips.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Apr 28, 2011
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