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"Healthy Competition" was the 2nd episode of the 3rd series of Only Fools And Horses, airing on the 17th November 1983 with a viewing figure of 9.7 million. Rodney Trotter is sick of being Derek "Del Boy" Trotter's dogsbody and tries to start his own business with Mickey Pearce, but soon learns that it's easier said than done.


Derek "Del Boy" Trotter is stood outside a department store persuading some punters to buy some of his battery operated yapping puppies. Rodney Trotter is bored and does not notice a policeman walking down the street, looking for unlicensed traders. Del says he even sold one of the toy dogs to Princess Diana. Del sees the policeman, but also sees that Rodney is stood half asleep, and that he did not warn Del that copper was coming. Del quickly packs up his suitcase and runs through the department store, with the copper in hot pursuit. This makes Rodney realise he was not concentrating. Del runs through the streets of Peckham, he stops in a side alley but is growled at by a cat then chased by dogs. Rodney pulls up and Del gets in the back of the van, the suitcase opens, many of the toy dogs spill over the road. The van drives off. The copper runs from the dogs, and by then Del has long gone.

Back at the flat, Del and Rodney have a huge row but Rodney says he is sick of being Del's dogsbody and wanted to go it alone, well go into business with Mickey Pearce. Del says Mickey has no business brain. Del says that going it alone means what it says, in future Rodney pays his own way in the flat, pubs and everywhere else from now on. Rodney says he is willing to do it and is as sharp witted as Del. Del gives him less that half of the money they have earned lately from Trotters Independent Traders.

At an auction the next day, Rodney and Mickey set their eyes on some crystal goblets. Del warns them not to bid for Lot 37. Rodney knows Del is after Lot 37 and informs Mickey of this, saying Del is trying to cut them out and leave the field open for him. They go ahead and buy Lot 37. They are rusty lawnmower engines. Del says he was the one selling them in the first place. Del had drunkenly bought them off Alfie Flowers, a business associate of his. Rodney and Mickey have paid through the nose for the engines, that Del has made a profit on them and bought the crystal goblets Rodney and Mickey were after.

Rodney and Mickey struggle to sell the lawnmower engines. Del has had to cancel his papers as he has not paid his bill due to being on his own now. Del has sold all his stuff and has had a successful week. Rodney is clearly struggling but is determined to convince Del he is managing perfectly. He claims to have had plenty of clients asking about the engines, and his claims become more exaggerated as Del probes further into his business. The sole off Rodney's shoe is coming off. Rodney asks for some food but Del and Grandad refuse to cook him anything as he hasn't paid his housekeeping money. Rodney attempts to persuade them, but they don't budge. Grandad asks how Rodney could be struggling with money when he had the £200 given to him by Del out of their share of the partnership. It soon transpires that Mickey has gone on holiday to Benidorm with the company finances, leaving Rodney with nothing.

Feeling sorry for his brother, Del comes up with a scheme to get Rodney to rejoin Trotters Independent Traders with his pride intact and thinking that he has been successful. At the Star of Bengal, he pays another trader, Towser, to buy the lawnmower engines from Rodney for £200, despite having a scrap value of only £20, and to make up a story about a contact in the GLC Parks Department who wants as many engines as he can get. Towser then asks what he should do with the engines, and Del tells him to give them back to Alfie for free. Del gives Towser £20 but also leaves Towser with the bill for his meal. Del quickly leaves. With Del's plan, Rodney will gain a bit of confidence and realise he'd be better off being Del's partner again, and Del will get his money back when Rodney buys back into Trotters Independent Traders.

The next day, at The Nag's Head, Rodney tells Del he's liquidated the partnership with Mickey, and proudly tells him that he has sold the lawnmowers to Towser. Unfortunately, it becomes apparent that Del's plan hasn't quite worked out, and that Towser only paid Rodney £165 and kept the remaining £35 for himself. Worse still, Rodney has invested all the proceeds in buying another set of lawnmower engines from Alfie Flowers which are, unknown to Rodney, the same ones Towser had just given back to him. Rodney says Alfie had another load delivered this morning, and said they are the same as the old ones. Del says "You can bet your life they are the same". He thus asks Del if he can borrow some money, and Del angrily bemoans what a 42 carat plonker his brother is. Del gives Rodney an elastic band to put round his Gucci to stop the sole coming off.


Main cast

Guest cast

Previous Episode Homesick[]

Next Episode Friday the 14th[]


  • After being mentioned in two episodes previously, this episode saw the first appearance of Mickey Pearce, the brainless friend of Rodney Trotter.
  • On the R2 DVD release, the theme to the film Jaws has been replaced with a similar track when the policeman is walking towards the Trotter Brothers in the marketplace.
  • Rex Robinson, who played Harry would later play another role, the Vicar in Video Nasty.


  • The Trotter Van is shown to be yellow inside the back door as well as outside, whereas in "A Touch of Glass", the van had a serious spray job as the complete interior was dark red.

Locations seen[]

  • Street market in Peckham
  • Department store doorway
  • Department store interior
  • Unknown back streets and alleyways
  • Unknown side street
  • The Trotters flat (living room)
  • Auctioneers hall
  • Auctioneers exterior (yard)
  • Indian restaurant (dining area)
  • The Nag's Head (main bar)