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Rodney and Del look after Boycie and Marlene's dog for the week, with disastrous consequences.

"Sleeping Dogs Lie" was the 5th episode of the 4th series of Only Fools And Horses, airing on the 21st March 1985 with a viewing figure of 18.7 million. The Trotters look after Boycie's dog for a week, Del thinks it is a puppy, but it is a Great Dane and appears to have food poisoning while in the care of the Trotters.


Derek "Del Boy" Trotter is on the phone while Albert Trotter is trying to get a signal on the TV, seeing as Rodney Trotter fiddled with the aerial. Rodney says there was a ghost on the screen. Albert says of course, he was watching a horror film. Del gets off the phone, he has spoken to Boycie who has allowed him to look after his dog Duke while he is off on holiday for 2 weeks. They will get paid for looking after Duke. Del says Boycie and his wife Marlene dont trust dog kennels. 

Del and Rodney go to pick up the dog at Boycie's house in Kings Avenue. Boycie wants Del's word that he will look after the dog. Boycie says he wishes he never bought the dog for her. Marlene walks out with the dog. It is a Great Dane, not a puppy as Del and Rodney thought. Marlene says goodbye to the dog but Boycie is impatient to leave as they have a plane to catch to The Seychelles. As they drive off, Del sees a bag of food meant for the dog, plus some vitamin tablets. Del sees the bag is full of steak, veal scallops, etc. He says the dog shall get a tin of dog food every day and think itself lucky. Del gets into the van but as Rodney does, Duke growls. Del says the dog is harmless. Rodney gets ready to sit down in the van but Del pinches his bum, and Rodney thinks it is the dog and runs of, Del is laughing.

A few days later they take Duke for a run in the park. Del chats up a posh woman who has a small dog. Rodney tries to rouse Duke who is in the back of the van, seemingly asleep but Duke shows no sign of life. Rodney quickly alerts Del, and they are relieved to see he is breathing. Del and Rodney quickly rush Duke to the vet.

The vet says Duke is not injured but his illness is a total mystery. Rodney reckons since Albert moved in, he has bought nothing but back luck. The vet asks what food they have given him and Del says steaks, veal scallops and pork. They say they warmed it up a bit in the microwave. The vet reckons the dog has food poisoning, such as salmonella poisoning due to meat not heated up properly. When the vet asks for the pork to examine it, Rodney says Albert ate the rest for dinner last night. Del phones Albert and says he has to go to hospital as the leftover pork contains "Sam and Ella poisoning".

That night, Del and Rodney are back at the flat and Albert is in hospital having tests done after eating the contaminated pork. Boycie phones the Trotters and Rodney coaxes Del into pretending to be Duke by making barking and dog breathing noises down the receiver. Rodney gets off the phone but runs into the kitchen as an angry Del throws books at him for making him impersonate Duke.

The next morning, the Trotter Brothers arrive at the hospital to pick up Albert, who complains about what the doctors were doing to him, but Del has good news for Albert, that there was nothing wrong with him, and Duke has also made a complete recovery and is back on his paws.

Before the Trotters can leave for the vet, a doctor then shows them a bottle of pills given to him by one of the sisters and says that patients are not allowed to bring their own medicine into the hospital. Del points out that those pills are Duke's vitamin tablets. Rodney denies it and says that he's got Duke's vitamin tablets and pulls out a bottle that looks identical to the other one. After seeing both bottles, Del realises the truth behind Duke's condition: Rodney had been feeding Duke with Albert's sleeping pills, and Albert has been on the "Bob Martins". Albert says he feels full of vitality. Del and Rodney decide not to tell Albert about the mix up of the pills, and they say they need to be careful when Albert walks past lampposts and things. Del then does dog impressions to Albert such as "Come on boy" when he is ready to leave the hospital. Albert looks on at them, perplexed.


Main cast

Guest cast

Previous Episode It's Only Rock and RollEdit

Next Episode Watching the Girls Go ByEdit


  • The idea for the script was purely based on a gag someone told John Sullivan.


  • Del refers to Salmonella Poisoning as "Sam and Ella Poisoning", whereas in the first episode "Big Brother", he knew perfectly well what the illness was, when mentioning the "Salmonella and Chips" frequently cooked by Grandad.

Locations seenEdit