Ofah russians

Del and Rodney prepare for the 4 minute warning.

"The Russians Are Coming" was the 7th episode of the first series of Only Fools And Horses, airing on the 13th October 1981 with a viewing figure of 8.8 million. This saw the Trotters practice for if ever they had to go to war by building a nuclear fallout shelter.


Derek "Del Boy" Trotter and Rodney Trotter are at a demolition site. Del has bought a pile of bricks. He says there could be £1000 worth of lead underneath. They then transport the lead up to their flat. Rodney suggests building a nuclear fall out shelter as he found some documents among the lead, showing you how to build one. Del agrees to build the shelter at the weekend. Rodney says that this country is not prepared for war. Rodney wants to do a dummy run in case there ever was ever a 4 minute warning of Russian missiles attacking Britain. He says Grandad's old allotment is a place they could go to in 4 minutes. He goes to get his stopwatch.

In a couple of minutes they managed to get into the van but as they were driving through the back streets, they were stopped by Eric The Policeman. Eric was a friend of Del's and let him off. When Del asks Rodney how they are doing for time Rodney says "we died 45 seconds ago". Del says they will never do this run in 4 minutes. Grandad has a great idea where to build the nuclear fall out shelter.

A day or 2 later, at the weekend, the Trotters are in the fall out shelter. It has been built. They have a portable toilet in the shelter and beds and supplies. They have a TV which is fuzzy as the signals cannot get through the lead. Del says the toilet will have to be back on the building site first thing Monday morning. Or the Irish labourers will go mad. Del reckons war is our birthright as until recently, every generation of youngsters was guaranteed a decent war. Del says he saw all the films but Grandad says he saw the real thing. He says he saw the soldiers coming home after The Armistice and several had limbs missing, and could not breathe properly as their lungs were shot to bits by mustard gas. They were promised homes fit for heroes but got heroes fit for homes.

The conversation turns to how people would be mutated by nuclear radiation. Del reckons Rodney dates mutants in peacetime. Del is dreaming aloud of what could become of the world in the event of nuclear fallout. He says if the population was wiped out and they survived the Holocaust, Del could become King. He says if they dropped the bomb on them now they would be safe as houses.

Turns out the nuclear fall out shelter is on top of Nelson Mandela House, the towerblock.


Main cast

Guest cast

Previous Episode A Slow Bus to Chingford Edit

Next Episode Christmas CrackersEdit


  • The idea for the script was based on a true story which John Sullivan was reading about, which involved a group of people who did as the script suggested: purchased lead and built an air-raid shelter.
  • The episode was first screened whilst the real-life Soviet war in Afghanistan was ongoing.
  • During his "war is hell" speech, Grandad mentions his brother George, who would also be mentioned in "Strained Relations" as Del's assumed godfather.
  • Grandad's allotment is only mentioned in this episode, but it does appear eleven years later in "Mother Nature's Son", which would contradict what Grandad said about never having a garden in "Homesick".


  • Grandad's allotment is mentioned in this episode, but in Homesick, Grandad says he never ever had a garden but surely an allotment would count s a garden.

Locations seenEdit