Many months have passed since Rodney married his sweetheart Cassandra. He is now working for her father's printing firm, while Uncle Albert has to act as "Executive Lookout" for Trotters' Independent Traders, i.e: watching out for the police. Whilst Albert and Del Boy flog car radios "as recommended by Nigel Mansell" down at the market, Cassandra visits them both and narrowly avoids one of Albert's war-stories. She also tries to put them off from coming to dinner at her and Rodney's flat the following evening, but Del is naively slow on the uptake and proclaims he and Albert will be there.
Soon Marlene, with her newborn son named Tyler, pop by and chat with Del, who talks about how he, Rodney, Albert, Boycie, and numerous Nag's Head regulars are going off on their traditional once-a-year annual "Beano" (day-trip) called the Jolly Boys' Outing to the seaside resort of Margate on Saturday.
The following evening, at Rodney and Cassandra's flat, the Trotters enjoy a nice dinner with Cassandra's parents, as well as her boss, Stephen (a yuppie who is much hated by Rodney, Alan, and Albert), and his wife, Joanne. During a game of Trivial Pursuit, Del also points out that Cassandra's father Alan is also going on the Jolly Boys' Outing, much to his wife Pam's chagrin; but Alan promises her that he won't eat or drink anything and just have a good time.
On Saturday, the Jolly Boys are riding down the highway in their coach (equipped with one of Del's car radios), singing along to "Help!". Albert complains that they had to leave before breakfast, but conversation from Mickey Pearce and Jevon reveals that the Jolly Boys had to leave early due to it being a Bank Holiday weekend (Margate will therefore be flooded with tourists), and a train strike is also ongoing. Del goes to get his uncle some sandwiches from Denzil, only to discover him taking pills. Denzil states he simply has an ear infection, and a doctor told him to take some medication. He begs Del not to the others, since they will laugh. Del promises that Denzil's secret is safe with him. However shortly, Mike hands Denzil the brass bell he calls time with in the pub - Del has told everyone on board the coach.
The coach arrives at a halfway house, where the Jolly Boys have a couple of drinks. While finding Del in the gents' toilets, Mike runs into his old rival, Eddie Chambers, who says that he now runs a night club called the Mardi Gras in Margate. Del buys some tickets from Eddie, and explains to Mike that he'll sell the tickets to some other people before leaving Margate. Mike then informs Del that Harry, the bus driver, is drunk.
Outside, Rodney, Mickey, Jevon, and Denzil play a bit of football, as the other Jolly Boys exit the halfway house with a paralytic Harry, who is helped onto the coach by Mike and Trigger. Albert suggests that Denzil should drive the coach, seeing as he is licenced to drive both heavy goods vehicles and buses. Denzil refuses at first, but eventually gives in and only agrees to drive the coach if Harry drives it home. As the Jolly Boys prepare to leave, Rodney gets arrested for accidentally throwing the football at a policeman. Del and Alan quickly bail Rodney out, and they head for Margate.
The Jolly Boys arrive in Margate and enjoy themselves, such as playing on the beach, and going on the rides at the funfair. At one point, Alan tries to eat some jellied eels, but Mike quickly stops him (as per the advice of Alan's wife).
6:00pm in the evening, and Del and Rodney sit down together at a jetty and talk about how Cassandra reminds them of their late mother Joan. Looking out to the sea, Del also brings up the time when he and his friend Jumbo Mills set up a seafood stall called "Eels on Wheels" outside the Nag's Head, and how television killed off the franchise; although the council health inspection didn't help much either. Once the chat is over, the Trotter brothers proceed back to the coach.
In the coach park, Rodney phones Cassandra, and they talk about how every time Del is always around him, something goes wrong and Rodney gets blamed for it.
Meanwhile, inside the coach, Denzil notices smoke coming out of the radio and calls Del in to take a look. Mike suggests switching the radio off since the main petrol line runs underneath it. Del does so, and flames suddenly shoot up out of the radio. All the Jolly Boys evacuate the coach.
As Rodney tells Cassandra that it's not fair to say that everything Del touches goes wrong, the coach explodes, leaving the Jolly Boys stranded.
That night, the Jolly Boys arrive at Margate railway station, only to discover that the trains are still on strike, and the last bus has left as it's a bank holiday. All the Jolly Boys start yelling at each other, until Alan raises his voice, tells everyone to calm down, then points out that the coach company has promised to send down a replacement vehicle at 9:00am tomorrow morning, meaning that the Jolly Boys will have to spend the night in Margate. Because every Bed and Breakfast in Margate will be full due to it being a Bank Holiday, the Jolly Boys have no choice but to split up discreetly - leaving a comical Trigger unsure as to which way he should go.
Del, Rodney and Albert split up into their own group. After luckily finding a hotel which appears to have vacancies, the three discover that the last vacancy was taken by Jevon, Mickey Pierce and Denzil, who are sitting down to a large roast dinner. The landlady suggests that the Trotters head to the Villa Bella, a hotel across the road which always has vacancies.
The Villa Bella is a run-down, darkened and damp-looking affair, run by the meticulous and frightening Mrs Creswell. After paying Mrs Creswell thirty pounds and signing the register, the three soon discover that their room is dark and uncomfortable, with Del sleeping on the sofa and Rodney and Albert forced to share a bed. They begin to discuss Cassandra, and Del tries to convince Rodney to come out the Mardis Gras club for a bit of entertainment and some food. He mentions that being on her own, Cassandra would probably have invited someone round to the flat, meaning Rodney shouldn't feel guilty for going out.
At the Mardi Gras, Del and Rodney chat more about Cassandra while eating scampi. Mike, Boycie, and Trigger show up as well, as a magic act called "The Great Raymondo and Raquel" begins. Trigger is the first to notice who the magician's lovely assistant is, and Mike and Boycie point out that it's Raquel, an old girlfriend of Del's last seen in "Dates". Del doesn't believe it at first, but is instantly convinced when he sees her on the stage. Del loudly calls out to Raquel, who is overjoyed to see him again.
A few minutes later, Del and Raquel are seated at the bar, as they talk about what they've been doing lately. After suggesting that she come back to Peckham with Del as well as receiving his address, Raquel is ordered by the magician to get back up on stage with him.
Del and Rodney return to the Villa Bella, only to discover that they've been locked out. They try to call Albert to open the door, but he can't hear them. Rodney suggests throwing something up at the window, and Del throws a bit of pavement stone at the window, shattering it.
The Trotter brothers retreat to Raquel's flat to sleep for the night, only to find out that she shares it with the Great Raymondo. Blinded with rage, Del attacks Raymondo and chucks his suitcase out the window. Raquel furiously explains that Raymondo is gay, and they sleep in separate rooms. Del realizes his mistake, apologizes to everyone, and gets a kiss on the head from Raquel.
Upon returning home, Rodney finds Cassandra and her boss Stephen, seemingly alone together. Rodney punches him only to find that Stephen's wife Joanne is also there, and is promptly thrown out by Cassandra.
Back at Nelson Mandela House, as Del makes up with Raquel over the telephone, he reveals not only that Albert ended up being hit on the head by the stone Del threw through the hotel window, but Mike and Boycie were injured by the suitcase he threw out of the Great Raymondo's window. Rodney then walks in with all his things, and Del (after eating Albert's breakfast) absent-mindedly asks if he sorted everything out.
As the credits roll, a recap of the Jolly Boys' Outing in Margate is shown along to the song "Down to Margate" by Chas & Dave.
Season: Christmas Special
Writer: John Sullivan
Director: Tony Dow
Producer: Gareth Gwenlan
Duration: 85 minutes
Airdate: December 25, 1989
Audience: 20.1 million
- Del Boy
- Uncle Albert
- Tyler (first appearance)
- Mickey Pearce
- Stephen (Cassandra's boss)
- Alan Parry
- Pamela Parry
- Harry (coach driver)
- The events of this episode are mentioned in "Sleepless in Peckham", implying that the Jolly Boys' Outing was a regular event from the 1960s before Del blew the coach up. It was, as it was stated in that very episode.
- John Sullivan's sister-in-law Penny was the inspiration behind the script, as she told him of an event her father used to go on each year, called The Jolly Boys' Outing.
- Raquel tells Del that she has no family left, but in "Heroes and Villains", Raquel visits her mother and father whom she had not seen for years.
- Albert tells Cassandra about his war days and how he crashed into a German boat, which later reveals that Sid was aboard it. However in "Hole in One", in the court case, the judge said that Albert spent the best part of the war on the Isle of Wight. And in "If They Could See Us Now", Rodney and Del were sorry that they didn't take Albert on holiday with them, but then said he never owned a passport. Then again, Albert was possibly lying.
- When Del and Rodney discuss Del's fish stall business with Jumbo Mills, Del mentions Man from Atlantis which came out long after Jumbo emigrated to Australia.
- When Del, Rodney, and Albert arrive at the Villa Bella there are cars parked to their right, the next shot is from the other side of the road and there are no cars in sight. Then we see them by the entrance again and now there are cars immediately behind them.
- The Halfway House (nowadays known as The Roman Galley) appears to have had some rather liberal opening hours compared to most venues in 1989, as the party are drinking before leaving at 11am.
- The song Help! is featured, but the version used was recorded by new wave band Bananarama, instead of the original version by The Beatles.
- The rollercoaster shown in the episode is the UK's oldest rollercoaster and the third oldest in the world. The Scenic Railway is still at the Dreamland amusement park in Margate. The ferris wheel and the spinning boat (The Mary Rose), which were also shown, have been removed.
- The police station featured was in fact in the neighbouring town of Broadstairs. It has since been closed and is now the headquarters of a local pub operation company.
- The Villa Bella, the hotel in which the Trotter family stayed at, has since been demolished.
- The boy who stands next to Uncle Albert and laughs at his unsuccessful attempt to drive a motorised boat game is the son of Patrick Murray, who plays Mickey Pearce.
- The man who asks Rodney why Rodney's data is now on his computer (which it shouldn't be) is actor Jake Wood, who plays Max Branning in EastEnders.
- It took three weeks to film the episode, shooting on location on both film and outside broadcast video. As usual, the studio interiors were recorded at BBC Television Centre.
DVD cuts and editsEdit
- This special was edited on the Region 2 DVD release for contractual reasons. The scene where Del and Rodney are eating scampi at the Mardi Gras club was cut due to the track Just the Way You Are, performed by the female singer in the background. The BBC refused to pay the rights for it to be used on distribution, therefore approximately seven minutes were taken out of the DVD release. Yet the scene can be seen in repeats on UKTV Gold.
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