Only Fools Chain Gang

The deal of a lifetime.

Detailed sypnosisEdit

During a night at the One-Eleven Club, Rodney introduces Cassandra to Del Boy. They also meet Arnie, a retired jeweller from Lambeth, who interests the Trotters in 250 gold chains, which were supposed to be sold to a gangster named Mr. Maxi Stavros. However, Stavros has not made contact with Arnie for a considerable length of time, and Arnie is being forced to sell them at half their wholesale cost. Del forms a consortium of himself, Rodney, Albert, Boycie, Trigger, and Mike who, after verification by an independent jeweller, purchase the chains for £12,500. However, literally seconds after the deal has gone through, Arnie calls his wife Pat who informs him that Stavros has made contact and is ready to purchase the chains.

Arnie is distraught as he has shaken on the deal, and explains that as far as Stavros is concerned that means the chains are his, and he is not a the type of man you want to let down. The consortium argue amongst themselves for a while until Del calms the situation down with an idea. Arnie will sell the chains to Stavros on the consortium's behalf, for which he will be paid £2,000, meaning the consortium makes £10,500 for doing, in Mike's words "Sod All!"

At an Italian restaurant, Arnie, with the briefcase containing the chains handcuffed to his wrist, sits down and waits for Mr. Stavros. Del and Boycie keep an eye on him from another table, while Rodney and Albert wait outside in the Trotter van, backed up by Mike and Trigger who are in Mike's car. Suddenly, Arnie starts to have a heart attack, and collapses on the floor. Boycie, pretending to be a doctor, tries to get the case off, but receives a punch on the nose from a big Greek man. Del is able to save Boycie by pretending to be a police officer. The ambulance arrives, but Mike's car has been clamped. Rodney and Albert zip down the road after the ambulance in the Trotter van, leaving the others stranded.

Back at Nelson Mandela House, Rodney and Albert return home to say that they lost the ambulance at St. Steven's Hospital at the Fulham Road. Although Del originally berates them for having lost it, Rodney replies that there was no way they could have followed the ambulance to its final location - in an emergency, ambulances are allowed to go through red traffic lights. As Del suggests that the group either phone around every hospital in London or visit them personally, in the hopes of finding out where Arnie ended up, they then get a phone call from an Indian doctor at Arnie's ward, who sadly tells them that Arnie has passed away. Del promises to call Arnie's wife, Patricia, and arrange the funeral - but the doctor refuses to give Del the address to Arnie's house, and hangs up. Wondering what else to do, Rodney suggests that he'll go to Lambeth and look for Arnie's name on the electoral list, but neither he, Del, nor any of the others know Arnie's surname (plus, as Trigger points out, Arnie had only just moved from Lambeth and would not yet be on the electoral list). But Albert has an idea: seeing as Arnie last used it to ring his wife, they could use the redial button on the Trotters' phone, and then discuss arrangements with his wife. Del gives it a try, but comes up short because Rodney phoned the Highcliffe Hotel, Guernsey, because Cassandra is taking a training course there.

A few days later, while picking up Cassandra at the airport, Rodney spots Arnie again, being carried into the same ambulance. At the Nag's Head, Del, Rodney, Albert, Mike, Boycie, and Trigger realize that Arnie is a conman who tricks prospective buyers into giving him their money, then fakes a heart-attack before the fabricated deal can go through. The group then reason that Arnie would have no trouble in acquiring an old ambulance driven by his two sons, Gary and Steven, which would be the perfect getaway vehicle for such deals; not only can it clear traffic through use of its siren, but it can also legally go through red lights. Del also notes that he had previously spoken to the manager of the Italian restaurant, who had noted that shortly after Arnie's ambulance had left, the real ambulance arrived. Del and Rodney also explain to Trigger that Mr. Stavros never existed. They then hear that Denzil and his brothers are about to become the latest victims of Arnie's scam.

The next day, at an Indian restaurant in Stepney, Denzil and his brother Carl are keeping an eye on Arnie from a nearby table. Meanwhile, Gary and Steven (who are both revealed to take turns in doing the voice of the "Indian doctor") are standing by in their ambulance, waiting for their father to pull off his "dying swan" act. Arnie does so, but when he gets loaded into the ambulance, Arnie finds himself surrounded by Del Boy, Rodney, Albert, Mike, Boycie, and Trigger, all disguised as ambulancemen - in a clever double-cross, Del and his friends have bought their own ambulance with which to capture Arnie. Once Arnie's sons arrive at the restaurant, they are apprehended by Denzil and his brothers. Del goes to use vicious-looking bolt cutters on a very frightened Arnie as the credits begin to roll.


Season: 6
Writer: John Sullivan
Director: Tony Dow
Producer: Gareth Gwenlan
Duration: 50 minutes
Airdate: January 22, 1989
Audience: 16.3 million

Featured charactersEdit

Other notesEdit

Story arcEdit

  • It is revealed that Denzil has established a new company, Transworld Express. This company is mentioned in a number of later episodes, such as "Mother Nature's Son" and marks a permanent career change for his character.

Continuity errorsEdit

  • While being introduced to her by Rodney at the One-Eleven Club, Del tells Cassandra that he remembers her father, Alan, by saying "Little fella, one blue eye, one brown, talks with a squint, walks with a stutter." Cassandra replies "That's him!" However, when Alan is first seen in "Little Problems", that is clearly not the case.
  • Boycie puts up seven grand in the flat, yet outside the Italian restaurant after he's been punched, this has grown to "seven and a half grand in unlaundered money" according to Del.

Production goofsEdit

  • In the One-Eleven Club, Arnie hands Del his mineral water and walks off. Del chinks the glasses together and drinks from Arnie's - mistaking it to be his own.

Previous episode: Danger UXD
Next episode: The Unlucky Winner Is...

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