Arnie was a character in Only Fools And Horses who appeared in 1 episode, Chain Gang. He was a "retired jewellery dealer" and "died" of a heart attack in an Italian restaurant when selling Derek "Del Boy" Trotter and his mates some chains. Turned out he had "died" a few times of a heart attack while meeting customers at restaurants. "He should be taking things easy in his condition" according to Trigger. The customers realised Arnie was not sick at all but was a con man. Arnie was played by Philip McGough.
Arnold Rutter married Pat and they had 2 sons, Gary and Steven in the 1960s. Arnie worked as a jeweller but was dodgy. He frequented the Peckham area and started going to The One Eleven Club. Arnie then came up with a way to make easy money, and got his 2 sons in on the act. He was to invent a business client called Maxi Stavros and trick locals into buying 250 gold chains, then fake a death and make off with the chains, and the money.
In January 1989, Del Boy Trotter met Arnie at The One Eleven Club, of which Del was a member of but Arnie was not a member of, just a paying customer. Arnie claimed to have almost died of a heart attack recently and was told by the doctor to change his lifestyle. Arnie said he was a retired jeweller and still did a bit of dealing. Del said he was interested in a jewellery deal. Arnie arranged to meet Del in the car park in an hour.
An hour later Arnie said he had 250 24 carat gold chains to sell, but in bulk or none at all after Del offers to buy 2, later saying 3. Arnie said he is not running a corner shop. He said he acquired the chains off a Maxi Stavros for their wholesale price of £25'000 a while ago but had not heard from him since. He said he would sell them for half their wholesale price. Del agreed to the deal and when Rodney asked where he will get £12'500 from Del said he will put together a multi national consortium. Well himself, Mike Fisher, Trigger, Albert Trotter and Boycie.
The chains are valued by a jeweller and are said to be real. They all have a celebration beer at Del Boy's flat. However, seconds after the deal has gone through, Arnie calls his wife, who informs him that Mr Stavros has made contact and now wishes to purchase the chains. Arnie is distraught as he has shaken on the deal, and Stavros does not like people to go back on their word, and Arnie worries about having to explain to Stavros that he has sold the chains. Del calms the situation down with an idea. Arnie will sell the chains to Stavros on the consortium's behalf for the original price of £25,000, with Arnie receiving £2,000 for his troubles, leaving the consortium with a healthy profit. Apres Moi La Deluge.
At an Italian restaurant, Arnie, with the briefcase containing the chains handcuffed to his wrist, sits down and waits for Stavros. Del and Boycie keep an eye on him from another table, while Rodney and Albert wait outside in the Trotters' van, backed up by Mike and Trigger who are in Mike's car. Suddenly, Arnie starts to have a heart attack, and collapses on the floor. A sagacious Boycie realises if the chains and cash accompany Arnie to an NHS hospital they may lose them for good. So, impersonating a doctor, Boycie discreetly tries to get the case. A fellow diner spots this and punches Boycie. The restaurant's proprietor is about to call the police but Del is able to save Boycie by pretending to be a police officer. An ambulance arrives surprisingly quickly, and Arnie is taken to hospital. The group try to follow the ambulance in Mike's car, so they know which hospital to visit, only to find it in the process of being clamped. Rodney and Albert drive off in the van after the ambulance, leaving Del, Boycie, Mike and Trigger stranded.
The consortium wait for news back at Nelson Mandela House. Del is pacing up and down. A short time later, Rodney and Albert return home to say that they lost the ambulance at a red traffic light. Del is highly annoyed. They then receive a call from a doctor who informs them that Arnie has died. The doctor is unable to give Del Arnie's address and hangs up. As no one knows Arnie's surname and he was not a member of the One-Eleven club, they are unable to trace him. Albert suggests that they use the redial button on the phone, as Arnie was the last person to use it when he phoned his wife. Del gives it a try, but comes up short and gets put through to the Highcliffe Hotel in Guernsey (Rodney had phoned to contact Cassandra). This means Arnie's wife cannot be traced. Now resigned to losing the gold chains for good, a despondent Mike, Boycie, and Trigger leave the flat. Trigger confesses that his aunt does not know she pawned her necklace yet, then leaves.
A few days later, while picking up Cassandra at the airport, Rodney spots Arnie - this time in West London - being carried into an ambulance by two paramedics. Rodney looks like he has seen a ghost. At the Nag's Head, the consortium realise the truth: Arnie is a con man who tricks people into buying his gold chains, and invents a seller called Maxi Stavros, and Arnie then fakes a heart attack and makes off with the money and the chains. The group deduces that Arnie's wife and two sons are also in on the scam and have acquired an old ambulance, which would be the perfect getaway vehicle for such deals, and they would be dressed as paramedics. The disguise would allow Arnie and his sons to make the getaway without suspicion, and nobody can follow the ambulance through red lights. Del mentions Arnie's ambulance did arrive quite quick though and Boycie says it was a bit lively. Del also says that he spoke to the manager of the Italian restaurant, who had told him that 10 minutes after Arnie's ambulance arrived, the real ambulance arrived. Rodney reckons Arnie and his sons did it with split second timing. The consortium realise that at 1pm Arnie does his dying act, then at 3 minutes past, their sons arrive, dressed as ambulance men and it is off into the wide blue yonder.
Trigger then asks what Mr Stavros has to do with it. A frustrated Del has to explain that Stavros does not exist, and that Arnie invented him. Trigger says that Arnie knew him pretty well. Del gives up explaining to a dim witted Trigger that Mr Stavros never existed. The meeting then closes. Del and Rodney then hear that Denzel and his brothers are about to become the latest victims of Arnie's scam, but Denzil leaves the Nag's Head before Del and Rodney can warn him about Arnie. Denzel is off to Germany on a lorry run and Del shouts "Denzel. Nicht buying them".
The next day, at an Indian restaurant, Denzil and his brother Carl are keeping an eye on Arnie from a nearby table. Meanwhile, a couple of streets away, Gary and Steven are standing by in their ambulance, waiting for their father to fake his heart attack. Gary tells Steven to pretend to be the doctor this time. Arnie fakes his heart attack, but when he gets loaded into the ambulance, Arnie finds himself surrounded by Del Boy, Rodney, Albert, Mike, Boycie, and Trigger, all disguised as paramedics - in a clever double-cross, they have bought their own ambulance with which to capture Arnie. Once Arnie's sons arrive at the restaurant, they are told by a waiter than an ambulance came and took the patient away already. Gary and Steven realise that someone has probably blown the scam and is playing them at their own game, so they walk back to their "ambulance" dejected. They are then apprehended by Denzil and his brothers. Arnie tries to reason with his former customers, as Albert passes Del a large pair of bolt cutters. Arnie says there is no need to cut the chain because he has the key. Del then remarks "Who said anything about cutting the chain off?". Arnie begins to wheeze, and Del quips that Arnie should calm down or else he may give himself a heart attack.
Supposedly Arnie was arrested and the consortium got their money back.
Full Name: Arnold Rutter
Children: Gary and Steven
According to "The Bible Of Peckham", Arnold's surname is said to be Rutter. In the "Chain Gang" episode itself, Rodney asked for his surname as he wanted to trace him on the electoral register to help find the gold chains, but nobody knew his surname, as he was not a member of the One Eleven Club, and the hospital doctor would not disclose his surname.
- Chain Gang (22nd January 1989)