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Wednesday, 8 August, 2001, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Only Fools And Horses to return
Only Fools And Horses
The last episode of the comedy attracted 23 million viewers
BBC comedy classic Only Fools And Horses is to return to British TV screens in three new one-off episodes.

Recording of the programmes will begin in November, but no dates have been set for broadcast.

The BBC has confirmed reports that writer John Sullivan is working on new scripts - the first since the last Christmas special in 1996.

BBC Director of Entertainment Alan Yentob said, "It's been a long wait, but the best things are always worth waiting for."

Most of the original cast have agreed to work on the new episodes.

A BBC spokeswoman told BBC News Online: "All parties are incredibly keen to work on it."

But on the day the sitcom's return was confirmed came the sad news that actor Kenneth MacDonald - known to viewers as Mike the landlord in the Nag's Head - had died aged 50.

Fee

A report in the Guardian newpaper said that the three one-off programmes would cost 1m each - more than twice the average for a sitcom.

It added that the show's star David Jason - who plays Del Boy Trotter - would receive a 100,000 fee per episode.

It is likely that Nicholas Lyndhurst, now a much bigger star than when the series began, will receive a comparable fee.

On its last outing in Christmas 1996, the programme attracted an audience of more than 23 million viewers.

Buster Merryfield
Buster Merryfield died in 1999
In the first new episode, Del Boy and and Rodney are still enjoying the millionaires' life, after making their fortunes in the last episode.

Millionaires' life

Other members of the original cast, including John Challis and Sue Holderness, who play Boycie and Marlene, have agreed to work in the new episodes - as has Roger Lloyd-Pack, as roadsweeper Trigger.

Actor Buster Merryfield, who played Albert, died two years ago.

Seven series of the show ran between 1981 and 1991, with Christmas specials turning up for many years after that.

The show has its own appreciation society, which claims 6,000 members.

And the comedy recently came in at number 10 in a list of cult TV shows compiled by TV critic Jeff Evans.

Evans singled out the sitcom for the loyalty it inspired among its devotees, telling the Daily Mail that it "does inspire conventions of fans who meet in pubs called the Nag's Head and wander round dressed as their favourite characters."


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See also:

08 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
Only Fools barman Mike dies
08 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
In pictures: Only Fools And Horses
07 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
Doctor Who named cult favourite
19 Jul 01 | Showbiz
Del Boy museum planned
02 Aug 01 | Scotland
Del Boy's dead end street
17 Jun 01 | TV and Radio
Award triumph for Del Boy
12 Apr 01 | Showbiz
Jason shows off daughter
02 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Del Boy 'set for return'
27 Sep 00 | Business
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