Ofah happy returns

Does Del have a long lost daughter?

"Happy Returns" was the first episode of the 4th series of Only Fools And Horses, airing on the 21st February 1985 with a viewing figure of 15.2 million. Derek "Del Boy" Trotter meets an old flame, who has a daughter who is 19 next week, and 19 and a half years ago, Del and June were dating.


It is early 1985 and Rodney Trotter is being served by Debbie Snell. Him and Debbie have been seeing each other. Rodney wants Derek "Del Boy" Trotter to get a porno mag for him as he would feel embarrassed buying one himself. Del asks for a dirty mag, Debbie asks which one and Del then asks Rodney which one he wants. Rodney walks out in embarrasment. A few minutes later, they stop a young boy from running out into the middle of the road. He says his mum is going to kill him, which is a famous figure of speech. The boy said his mum is angry with him because he let down the tyres on that motor, which was Del's van.

Later that night Del sees him sat on the pavement outside a towerblock and tells him that they'll go and tell the boy's mother that he had asked the youngster to deflate the tyres on the 3 wheel van, to entice the boy back home.

Del is pleasantly surprised to see that the boy's mother is June Snell, one of Del's old girlfriends from the 1960s. They had broken up in September 1965 just after Albie Littlewood's funeral. Albie had died when he took a shortcut across a railway line and his bike fell on the live rail. When Rodney unexpectedly arrives to see Debbie, the girl from the newsagent, Del realises that June is Debbie's mother too.

In order to leave the courting couple alone, Del and June go to The Nags Head to reminisce about old times, although June is reluctant to reveal why she left Del so suddenly back in 1965 when they were a couple. However, when the barmaid, Maureen unwittingly reveals that Debbie's 19th birthday is imminent, Del realises that June must have left him because she was pregnant with his child - Debbie, as she was born a few months after they broke up. Del and Trigger have a chat in the bogs and Trig says Debbie short changed him the other day. Del says that is it then, she is his kid. Del then realises that Debbie is dating Rodney, who may be her uncle.

Quickly, he returns to June's flat to stop Rodney committing what he mistakenly describes as 'an act of incense'. June is agry at Del for showing her up in the pub and that is why she never told Del in the first place. An uninformed Rodney isn't happy with his brother's interfering and demands to know why it's Del's concern who he dates. When Rodney says he is thinking of getting engaged to Debbie, Del tells him everything, that Debbie is his daughter. Del says he can see their mum Joan Mavis Trotter in Debbie. Distraught, Rodney says that he has met the first girl in his life who really means something to him and it turns out to be his niece. Rodney pleads with Del to ask June if it's 'definitely definite' he is Debbie's father as June hasn't actually told Del yet. Rodney goes to bed but says he may have a nightmare that his wife will call him Uncle Rodney.

The next night, Del visits June demanding answers. June says there is nothing to be said. Del tells June to tell Debbie that he is her father. June says when Del said he knew, she thought he really knew. Debbie is not Del's daughter. Del says she must be as she was born 6 months after they split up. He asks that if he is not her father then who is?

June says that Albie Littlewood is Debbie's father. Albie was Del's old friend, who June was cheating on Del with. For 19 years, Del had been riddled with guilt over Albie's death. He believed Albie had died whilst using the railway line as a short cut when on his way to see him at the pub. June informs Del that Albie was actually on his way to see her, so had nothing to feel guilty over. But Del tells June that is not the cause of his guilt. The real cause of his guilt is even if Albie had avoided his death that fateful night, Del wouldn't have been at the pub to see him as Del was busy cheating on June with Deidre, Albie's girlfriend.

Just when the misunderstanding appears to be cleared up, Del realises it is too late, as Debbie has now fallen for Mickey Pearce. As Del leaves the flat, he sarcastically tells a confused Mickey not to take a shortcut across the railway line. Del then leaves the flat, leaving Mickey looking bemused at Del's comment.


Main cast

Guest cast

Previous Episode Licensed to DrillEdit

Next Episode Strained RelationsEdit


  • June's flat is quite clearly a re-dressing of the Trotters' flat. It is excusable as on an estate of flats, it's quite feasible that the layout of each flat would be almost identical.
  • The old lady in the shop who asked Del about how Grandad was appeared in the next episode at his funeral.
  • Due to Lennard Pearce's failing health, this episode commenced filming without Grandad, however shortly into production, the cast and crew were informed that Lennard had died. John Sullivan didn't want Series 4 to open with a funeral, and the episode "Hole in One" originally scheduled as the opener was only partially completed with Pearce before his death, so Sullivan wrote this episode as the opener, where it is mentioned that Grandad is in hospital.


  • Del frequently claims that Albie Littlewood was his closest friend ever, yet Rock & Chips quite clearly demonstrates that this was not the case, and Albie was merely another friend of Del's and a member of his gang. Maybe Del was exaggerating his friendship with Albie due to the fact Albie tragically died so young, and he made out they were close friends when they were just friends. In the Rock & Chips trilogy, Del's closest friend appeared to be Jumbo Mills.

Locations seenEdit