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The Trotters finally become millionaires, for 5 years at least.

"Time on Our Hands" was the third and final part of the 1996 Christmas trilogy of Only Fools And Horses, airing on the 27th December 1996 with a viewing figure of 24.3 million, and was meant to be the last ever episode of the show. The Trotters became millionaires in this episode and after years of working on markets selling dodgy gear in all kinds of weather they could enjoy a millionaire lifestyle, for at least the next 5 years at least. A the time of broadcast, this was meant to be, very likely, the last ever episode but the show was to return 5 years later due to popular demand. Time On Our Hands was watched by a staggering 24.1 million viewers.


[[Raquel Turner|

Del Boy moans at Rodney's uncaring nature over his "Illness".

Raquel]] is nervous about her parents coming to dinner. Del Boy feigns illness to try and get Rodney to take his mind of him and Cassandra's miscarriage 2 weeks previously. That morning in the garage Rodney is leafing through some paperwork and says how he used to keep files for Trotters Independent Traders when he began working for Del 16 years ago but Del told him to stop it, in case the tax man came snooping, as seen in Big Brother.

Raquel Turner

[[Raquel Turner|

Del Boy moans at Rodney's uncaring nature over his "Illness".

Raquel]] is nervous about her parents coming to dinner. Del Boy feigns illness to try and get Rodney to take his mind of him and Cassandra's miscarriage 2 weeks previously. That morning in the garage Rodney is leafing through some paperwork and says how he used to keep files for Trotters Independent Traders when he began working for Del 16 years ago but Del told him to stop it, in case the tax man came snooping, as seen in Big Brother.

Later that day, Del and Rodney are chatting in the garage. Del picks out a old timepiece and says that could change our lives if that was life's lucky dip, but Del then throws it on the gas stove, saying it wont change their lives, as life is not like that. (Really Del, as that timepeice was priceless, like the chandelier that your late grandad broke 14 years earlier). A few minutes later, Del and Rodney are in the lift when it breaks down. After being trapped in there for some time, the Trotter Brothers have a discussion about Rodney and Cassandra's miscarriage. A distraught Rodney admits that he's spent too much time feeling sorry for himself since Cassandra lost their baby. Del comforts Rodney by telling him that it's just a dropped stitch in life's tapestry, which their late mother Joan used to say whenever things went wrong, and assures that things will get better. Rodney agrees and is finally at peace with the whole thing, and Del suggests to Rodney to go home and have a heart-to-heart with Cassandra. Once the conversation is over, Del successfully fixes the lift himself, and gets it working again. Only then does Rodney realise that Del had in fact tampered with the controls, in order to force Rodney to talk. The Trotter Brothers share a hearty laugh. Meanwhile Mickey Pearce and Denzil help get the temporary posh furniture into the Trotter's flat for the upcoming dinner. Raquel is as nervous as anything.

That night Raquel asks Del not to use any of his French phrases to her parents. Everybody is getting ready for the dinner and the table is set. James and Audrey Turner come round and Del tries to impress the Turners but fails, he thinks being a Naval man is being fond of a certain part of the body rather than if he was ever in the Navy. When he jokes at 15 year old port may have acne, James and Audrey dont get the joke. But the worst thing is Albert had made the coffee earlier with the gravy granules and vice versa. In the kitchen Del notices this but as he goes to check, they are pouring coffee over their meals. Del is mad at Albert. He exits to the lounge. All the guests start eating but react at the horrible taste and say they are all full up. Del grimaces at Albert, not before he pours gravy all over Albert's dinner after Albert refuses gravy when offered some. Del whispers "Git" in Albert's ear.

The next morning at Del's garage James is complaining of a bad tummy. Del shows him the "Aladdin's Cave". James spots an old timekeeper on the gas stove and takes a look at it. He examines it and starts to think this could be the lost Harrison Lesser Watch, made by John Harrison in the 1600s. Del explains he bought the watch off a pawn shop about 16 years ago and that the shop had just shut down and was selling some of its gear as the owner died and had no family. James also asks Del if he has any proof the watch is his property. Rodney says when he began working for Del 16 years earlier he used to keep files then. He finds the receipt for the watch, given to Del by the landlord. Whatever is made from the auction will be paid into the Trotter's bank as they have proof they own the watch.

A few days later at the Nags Head Del, Rodney, Trigger and Denzil are talking as Del has said the watch has been authenticated and accepted by experts and is up for auction at Sotheby's. Del and Rodney go to the auction thinking they will make £15'000 or so from the auction. The auctioneer starts the bidding for the timekeeper at £150'000. Del faints at the shock that he will be at least that much better off.

Rodney drags Del out of the room but the auction is still going. Once Del has recovered Rodney says the auction is still going and the bids are getting higher. When Del and Rodney run back into the room, the bidding is at now £4 million. Rodney then faints.

Later in the van Rodney shows Del the paperwork which says the watch sold for £6.2 million quid. The watch has been donated to the Greenwich Museum after being bought by a anonymous bidder. Del and Rodney are now millionaires, they have £3.1 million each. They scream in happiness and due to this the van shakes side to side.

Del and Rodney go to visit Boycie's car showroom. Rodney buys Del Boy a Rolls Royce from his share of the winnings. This is a thanks for bringing him up (including helping get over Cassandra's miscarriage). That night they arrive at The Nags Head and everyone cheers for them. Del says he will pay for the champers but Mike says on the house. A few weeks later, Rodney has moved into a plush apartment overlooking the Thames, Del Boy has bought a plush country mansion in the Home Counties and has bought Albert a yacht. But the former often skint ex market trader Del Boy realises this new millionaire lifestyle is not what it was cracked up to be so one night he goes back to his now empty flat at Nelson Mandela House to reminisce. He recalls when in 1957 his mum told him to get off to bed for his 11 Plus next day. Del also remembers when Grandad said Del would reach the top, but one day Millwall would win The Cup, and when Del's dad Reg said he never hit his mum Joan, only in self defence.

Rodney turns up, saying Raquel knew Del had gone missing, but he knew Del may be back at the old flat, and Del says the millionaire lifestyle is not what he thought it would be. Del says it was the chasing and trying and dreaming and scheming that he misses, as he won his fortune rather than earned it. He say that for the past 16 years since they bought the watch, they were working until all hours trying to earn money to put food on the table not knowing the watch was priceless. Del realises he does not have to get up at 5am to flog hookie gear down markets until 6pm anymore.

Albert has returned to collect some belongings. Del is still not sure whether to sell the flat. Rodney says they have had a last look so should lock up and go. As they leave the phone rings. It is Del's friend Lenny Norris. Del agrees to buy some electronic carpet steamers so he can double his money. Rodney persuades Del not to and Del tells Lenny that Trotters Independent Traders has ceased trading.

The Trotters walk away from Nelson Mandela House

As they walk away from the flat to the Chinese takeaway Del now realises they have money to invest. Rodney is not pleased and when Del asks if he has ever let Rodney down before Rodney recalls when a few years back Del entered his painting for a competition but forgot to mention he had to pretend to be 14 all week on holiday in "The Unlucky Winner Is... ". As they walk off Del says they could be billionaires this time next year.


Main cast

Guest cast

Previous Episode Modern Men

Next Episode Comic Relief Special


  • Final appearance of Albert Trotter.
  • Final appearance of Mike Fisher.
  • This episode referred to a scene from the very first episode of the series, "Big Brother" where Rodney says he started working for Del and kept files and receipts and in which Del had castigated him for it in case the tax man came snooping. When Raquel's dad found what looked to be a priceless watch he asks Del for proof of ownership and Rodney says he kept files when he began working for Del 16 years ago and amongst them was the receipt for the Harrison Watch, with the neat twist that the Trotters would have been millionaires back in 1981 if they knew they were sitting on a priceless antique watch.
  • When Del went back to the now empty flat towards the end of the episode, sentences from Big Brother and Thicker than Water were heard when Del was reminiscing about the memories of the place.
  • This episode was meant to be the last ever episode of the show, or at least very likely the last ever episode. John Sullivan never said for definite that this was going to be the last ever episode but said it is a likelihood, and he still left the ending open for future episodes, as hinted in the "This time next year we could be billionaires" ending line from Del Boy. And once this episode aired, there was hopes that the show may come back in the future and that "Those Trotters may be millionaires no more", and that would be keeping in with Del Boy's "living on the edge, taking risks" strategy, as explained in "Danger UXD" and "Mother Nature's Son". The show was indeed bought back five years later, in 2001, where the Trotters lost all their money in a dodgy stock market investment and ended up back at their old flat. John Sullivan wrote a line in "Time On Our Hands" that Del did not want to put the flat on the market. This was confirmed in "If They Could See Us Now" when Del said he never sold the flat and when they lost all their millions, they had a place to live at least.
  • Even though Del now had £3.1 million and Rodney the same amount, it seems by the end of the episode that they had spent a lot of it already. The Thames apartment must have set Rodney back £1 million, and Del's country mansion must have cost about £1 million, and also they bought Albert's yacht, new furniture for both of them, Del's Rolls Royce, Rodney's new fast car. Seems Del and Rodney only had about £1.700,000 each by the end of the episode. Although Rodney and Cassandra would have sold their previous flat, which would have cost several hundred thousand pounds. In true Trotter style Del was flashing his money about like Elton John. The Trotters never skimp. They were to later invest in a stock market, and make even more than they won, only to lose it all.
  • This special attracted a television audience of 24.3 million, a record for a British sitcom.
  • Del, Rodney, and Uncle Albert were originally intended to become cartoon characters as they walked off into the animated sunrise at the end. It was John Sullivan's opinion that they could no longer be real, and thus end the show. At the last minute, it was changed to enable a sequel trilogy.
  • During the Trotter Family's last-minute attempts to get everything ready for the big dinner with Raquel's parents, Del is seen pouring some Tia Maria in a glass and then topping it up with Lucozade. He first tasted this in "To Hull and Back" after Rodney ordered it for him at the bar of The Nag's Head.
  • This would be one of the few episodes that used incidental music in some scenes. Similar to the final scene of "Three Men, a Woman, and a Baby".
  • If you look very carefully throughout this episode, you will see items that the Trotters had once tried to sell or had previously been in their flat but were later taken out. One is the wooden box which was seen in "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. But the most noticeable one was the Russian Army Camcorders that Del was selling in "Fatal Extraction".
  • Technically the Comic Relief Special was the next episode but that short sketch was the only ever episode, whether a full length one or a sketch that actually "broke the 4th wall" so to speak as Del and Rodney were talking in character then acknowledging the viewers as David Jason and Nick Lyndhurst by saying this is not really Only Fools And Horses then asking for people to donate to Comic relief. This was the only occurrence of truly breaking the 4th wall in an Only Fools And Horses episode.


  • The Trotter garage is a lot smaller than the one seen in "It's Only Rock and Roll", where it had a wall opposite, probably another garage block, and was much larger.
  • In this episode, they find the Harrison watch which had been in the garage since 1981, just as Rodney became Del's partner in the business, as mentioned in Big Brother from Series 1 in 1981. Yet in Cash and Curry, the 3rd episode of Series 1, the Trotters sell all their stock in the garage to raise £2000. This was shortly after Rodney became Del's business partner so surely the Harrison watch would have been among the stock sold in "Cash and Curry". Maybe it fell under the van and when found soon after, Del dismissed it as the Victorian egg timer.
  • In the scene where he is looking through the garage before going with Del to the lifts, Rodney lifts up two of the Russian Army camcorders at the same time, with relative ease - whereas in "Fatal Extraction", Rodney could barely carry one camcorder because they were so heavy. It can be explained away that Rodney might have been going down to the gym a lot.
  • During the time 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, yet it was stated in "Hole in One" during the court case that the Trotters live at 368 Nelson Mandela House. Maybe the flats were re numbered for some reason.
  • In the scene were Del and Rodney celebrate in the Trotter Van outside Sotheby's, the weather is fine when they get in and whilst they are talking in the van; however, when the scene cuts to show the van rocking as they celebrate it is raining heavily.
  • When James comes down to the garage to collect his BMW, you can see that the car is green. In the subsequent scene when they are talking about the "lesser watch", the car is red.

Locations seen

  • The Trotters flat (living room, kitchen, entrance hallway)
  • Nelson Mandela House exterior (courtyard, garage block)
  • Hallway on ground floor of Nelson Mandela House
  • Lift area on ground floor of Nelson Mandela House
  • Lift interior
  • Hallway on 12th floor of Nelson Mandela House
  • The Nag's Head (main bar)
  • Sotherby's auctioneers exterior (frontage, street)
  • Sotherby's auctioneers (auction room, hallway, reception)
  • Boycie's car showroom (office, car area)
  • Country mansion exterior (driveway, frontage of mansion, back garden)
  • Country mansion (large living room, bar area, snooker table)
  • The River Thames (St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Albert's yacht)
  • Rodney and Cassandra's riverside apartment (living room, balcony)