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"Hole in One" was the 3rd episode of the 4th series of Only Fools And Horses, airing on the 7th March 1985 with a viewing figure of 13.4 million. This episode saw Uncle Albert "fall" down a cellar to try and win some money for the family.


It has been four weeks since Grandad's funeral. Times are tough for the Trotters. They have not bought or sold anything down at the market for a month and it is winter time. Albert has settled in to living with Del and Rodney at their flat in Nelson Mandela House. Rodney has squandered their last £500 on sun tan lotion, when it is early February, and bitterly cold at that. Del is not happy. Rodney says they have forecast a boiling hot summer, so they can flog the lotion then. Del says Rodney cannot even give it away, let alone sell it.

Later that morning, in the car park of The Nags Head, the Trotters park their van on the road. It is a sunny but bitterly cold and snowy morning. Del knows Mike Fisher is after him about the dodgy chip fryer he sold him. Albert says hello to Mike and asks about the fryer, unaware Del is nearby. Del is annoyed with Albert. In the pub, Del and Rodney argue about their financial woes and how Del thinks Rodney has held him back all these years. Albert is fed up with their bickering and leaves the pub. During the row, there is a loud crash and bang. Uncle Albert has fallen down the cellar.

Albert is laying on the cellar floor, having fallen down the stairs and crashed into Mike, who was sorting out the beer barrels and now has a neck injury. Albert reckons he has a good mind to sue the brewery. This prompts Del to contact Solly Attwell, the Trotter family's lawyer and solicitor. Del hopes to earn a huge sum from the brewery out of this.

A few days later, Solly says that when Albert was taken to hospital, the X-ray showed he was physically fine but says Albert could be mentally scarred by falling down the hole. Solly says the brewery are willing to settle out of court for £2,000, but Del still wants to take the matter to court. Solly says they could pretend Albert has amnesia since he fell down the hole. As Solly is a dodgy solictor, Del tells him to get things in motion, invent witnesses, etc.

At court, Del gives his testimony saying that before the fall, Albert was rarely ever at home, he was always out and about and now he never goes out. Rodney is called up and says the Nag's Head cellar had no warning notice and no guard rail. Rodney almost puts his foot in it by saying he thought at the time that could be dangerous and someone could fall down a hole. Del sighs, worrying that Rodney may blow the scam. Del and Rodney are hopeful they can win £10,000.

Albert is called to the stand to give his side of the story. This panics Del and Rodney as Albert has to pretend to be suffering from amnesia and may forget this. Solly tells Del and Rodney not to worry as he told Albert to claim loss of memory if asked any awkward questions. Albert is put under oath. He says he was on his way to post his entry form for The Krypton Factor game show when he fell down the hole; all his life flashed before him, including the Battle of the River Plate, the sinking of the Graf Spee, and the Raid on Telemark. Mike pretends to yelp out in pain with his sore neck to interrupt Albert, but the judge tells him to be quiet.

The barrister for the brewery, Mr Gerrard, says that he looked into Albert's Royal Navy records and found that he underwent basic parachute training, learning to fall without injuring oneself. The barrister also asks Albert if he could be the same Albert Gladstone Trotter who fell down a cellar at The Victory Inn, Portsmouth in 1946 and won compensation. And that there was a similar case in 1951 involving a man with the same name, plus several other lawsuits of an Albert Gladstone Trotter falling down holes in pubs across Southern England, from The Thatched Inn, Canning Town and The Crossed Keys pub in Gravesend, Kent. Del says Albert has been down more holes than Tony Jacklin. The court case is thrown out.

Outside the court, Del is furious at what that garrity old git has done to them. Rodney says Albert has fifteen previous lawsuits for falling down holes. Del says the courts nicknamed Albert "The Ferret". Del also says those fifteen cases are the known ones, and whether there are more, such as a landlord paying Albert a backhander so as not to take the case to court.

Albert, in a wheelchair comes up to Del. Del confronts Albert. Albert says the first time he fell down a hole was genuine, and he did not get hurt but still got compensation. So whenever he and Grandad were short of money, Albert would fall down a hole, and this time he was only trying to help. Rodney says he and Del could get done for contempt of court, with Del's name now known to the Director of Public Prosecutions. And Solly could be disbarred. Albert said he wanted to repay Del and Rodney for taking him in a month ago and being kind to him. Albert says he also wanted to get Grandad's headstone. Del and Rodney forgive Albert and start to wheel him home in his wheelchair. Del then furiously reminds Albert he can walk.


Main cast

Guest cast

  • Maureen The Barmaid - Nula Conwell
  • Cockney Man In PubMichael Roberts
  • Solly Attwell - Colin Jeavons
  • Judge - Dennis Ramsden
  • Mr Gerrard - Andrew Tourell
  • Mr Fraser - James Woolley
  • Clerk - Les Rawlings

Previous Episode Strained Relations[]

Next Episode It's Only Rock and Roll[]


  • This episode was originally written for Grandad and meant to be Series 4's opening episode. But unfortunately, Lennard Pearce died from a heart attack on the 15th December 1984, straight after the filming of Grandad falling down The Nag's Head cellar and the courthouse scene. The episode was put on hold after Christmas 1984, and "Happy Returns" and "Strained Relations" were written and filmed as the first two episodes for this series. Once Buster Merryfield joined the cast at the start of January 1985, the scenes with Grandad were swiftly re-shot with Albert (the only shots of the Grandad version kept in the Uncle Albert version were Mike looking up at Grandad) in January 1985. The rest of the original footage has never been transmitted, and is not available on DVD. It is believed that the original scenes with Lennard have been destroyed, but this has never been 100% confirmed. However, several publicity photos of the Lennard Pearce version of the episode survives and has been published.
  • The idea for the script was based on a true story about John Sullivan's grandfather, a coal-man named Dickie, who claimed compensation by falling down holes.
  • As the Trotters are brassic, Albert asks what is in the garage, and Rodney says, the van. Any "junk" in the garage, the Trotters wrongly assumed was just that, junk, including a "Victorian egg timer" that would make them millionaires 11 years later.
  • The Trotters' address is revealed to be 368 Nelson Mandela House, Dockside Estate, Peckham.
  • The shot of The Nag's Head exterior was filmed at 267 Kensal Road, W10, London.


  • The exterior of The Nag's Head is very different to that of The Nag's Head exterior which is later seen in "Miami Twice, Part 1: The American Dream" and "Fatal Extraction" where the Trotter Van pulls up outside a very spick modern pub. It was never said that the pub had moved premises as the interior of The Nag's Head remained pretty much the same throughout the show's run.
  • In the previous episode "Strained Relations", Del believes that Albert causes bad luck, Rodney disagrees. In this episode, Rodney says that Albert is bad luck and Del thinks Rodney is talking rubbish.
  • When Solly is talking to Del and Rodney in the flat about Albert falling down The Nag's Head cellar, he says the line "He must have landed on something soft." When Solly says this, the camera shows Rodney sitting at the table with a glass of beer in front of him. He picks it up and then says to Solly, "Yeah he did, the landlord." But the next camera angle shows the glass of beer on the table instantly without Rodney having put it down. This therefore clearly showed that this particular scene was cut at the point of Rodney saying his line and then later resumed.
  • During the court case, the judge says that the Trotters live at 368 Nelson Mandela House, yet in "Time on Our Hands" while Del and Rodney are stuck in the lift, as Denzil and Mickey Pearce take furniture out of the Trotters' flat, the door number is clearly 127. A theory is, at some stage the flats were renumbered for some reason.
  • The replacement in the storyline of the character of Grandad with that of Albert creates plot ambiguities; the exact reasons why a Royal Navy ships engineer would be learning parachute jumping in the war was never explained adequately, also in future episodes - particularly "Strangers on the Shore", Albert's war stories were proven to be true, which contradict the statement in the court case that he spent the whole war on the Isle of Wight. The scripts would have been written for Grandad originally, explaining that he spent much of the war on the IOW but later given to Albert, who was supposed to have travelled all round the world during WW2.
  • After the court case, Albert tells Del and Rodney that every time himself and Grandad were short of some money, Albert would just fall down a hole. In the court case, it was revealed that the incidents occurred after the war. In "Tea for Three", Albert said that he and Grandad didn't speak to each other after they met and rowed over Ada, Albert's future wife. In "Miami Twice, Part 1: The American Dream", Albert revealed that he left Ada behind when he went to war. So, Albert clearly met Ada before the war and therefore couldn't be speaking to Grandad after the war when they allegedly worked together falling down holes. But clearly they did work on this together, as Albert says so, meaning he was (as usual) exaggerating when he said him and Grandad never spoke again.

Locations seen[]