Only Fools May the Force

Del Boy and Slater, former best friends now bitter enemies.

Detailed sypnosisEdit

Roy Slater, the corrupt police officer and much-reviled ex-schoolmate of Del Boy, has returned to Peckham. He meets Trigger and Boycie – both horrified by his return – in the Nag's Head, and announces that he has recently been promoted to Detective Inspector. He also enquires after the whereabouts of Del Boy, particularly in connection with a stolen microwave, and begins talking to Rodney, who isn't aware that Slater is a police officer, telling him that he's an old friend of Del's. Trigger and Boycie quickly make excuses and leave, and Trigger unsuccessfully attempts to warn Rodney of Slater's real identity. Rodney invites Slater back to their flat and, at Slater's insistence, decides not to call Del in advance and instead surprise him.

Back at the flat, Del is left dumbfounded when Slater walks in, and quickly makes Rodney aware that Slater is not an old friend. He also reveals that Slater, in his career as a policeman, became an immoral and cold-hearted man; he once arrested his own father for having a defective rear light on his bicycle. Del also tells Rodney that Slater is well-known in both the police and criminal communities for having a vast network of informants, all of whom are threatened to work with Slater in case he reveals their betrayal to the criminal underworld. After spotting a suspicious microwave in the Trotters' flat, Slater arrests the Trotter family.

At the police station, Slater quizzes the trio about where, and from whom, they acquired the microwave. In an improvised yarn, they state that it belonged to an unidentified deaf man in the market who dropped it. Rodney and Grandad are taken to separate rooms to give a description of the "phantom of the market", leaving Del and Slater alone in the interview room. They briefly argue about their time as schoolboy adversaries, with Slater complaining about the refusal to let him into Del's group – particularly when they played pirates (Slater, who wanted to be Bluebeard since Del played as Dan Tempest, and Trigger as Long John Silver, would always have to walk the plank; made worse by the fact they played on a pond) – and Del countering that Slater's snide nature made him impossible to like. For example, Del once stopped a team of school bullies from harassing Slater. Shortly after this, Slater found Del behind the bicycle sheds with his sister, and repaid Del's favour by snitching to the headmaster.

Del, Rodney, and Grandad are interviewed simultaneously, but give vastly differing accounts of the man in the market.

When Slater briefly leaves for the canteen, PC Terry Hoskins (whose mother, it emerges, has recently bought a gas fire from Del), advises Del to tell Slater the truth about the microwave, since he'll find out eventually in any case. He also informs Del that Slater is without scruples and will pin an entire filing cabinet of unsolved crimes onto the offender. This, as Hoskins explains, will allow Slater a chance at further promotion (for having apparently "solved" so many crimes in such a short space of time), an C.B.E for the Commander, and helping to calm the general public. Del realises Slater will probably be very determined to find the culprit.

Slater returns with Del alone in the interview room. He also has with him a case file, which turns out to be Rodney's criminal file for possession of cannabis, and hypothetically considers what would happen if Rodney were to be searched and found with more drugs, implying that some may be planted on him, meaning both he and Del would go to prison, leaving Grandad alone on the estate. Slater then further threatens Del with the notion that without his two grandsons looking after him, Grandad would be in severe danger living by himself (implying that Slater could have him assaulted). This leads to one of the most poignant parts of the episode and shows one of the rare serious moments that the show was renowned for delivering extremely well. Del fixes Slater with a stare, and makes his feelings perfectly obvious, saying:

"Now listen to me, Slater. I know a lot of coppers and they're all good blokes. I mean, I don't like them, but they play a fair game. Then there's you!"

Del is cautioned from having "abusive language" added to his list of charges. Despite Slater's best efforts, Del nonetheless still refuses to give the name of the person who stole the microwave on that grounds that becoming an informant is against all he stands for. But as Slater prepares to have the charge sheets typed up, Del offers a deal: he'll give up the name of the thief, provided he, Rodney, and Grandad are all released without charge, with their immunity from prosecution guaranteed in writing; Slater readily agrees, as having someone as well-connected as Del Boy as his informant would give him a great hand in solving crimes.

With all the paperwork drawn up and signed by the Superintendent, Rodney and Grandad are led back into the interview room to see a desperate-looking Del as he prepares to sign it. He tells them of his predicament, and that he has no choice but to tell. He signs it and is asked three times by Slater: "Who nicked the microwave?" After further reassurances of his immunity from prosecution, Del replies with "I did." and gleefully holds up the immunity contract to a stunned Slater.


Season: 3
Writer: John Sullivan
Director: Ray Butt
Producer: Ray Butt
Duration: 30 minutes
Airdate: December 8, 1983
Audience: 10.7 million

Featured charactersEdit

  • Del Boy
  • Rodney
  • Grandad
  • Trigger
  • Boycie
  • DCI Roy Slater (first appearance)
  • PC Terry Hoskins (first appearance)
  • Karen (barmaid) (first appearance)

Other notesEdit

Story arcEdit

  • Slater's wife (who is revealed to be Raquel) is mentioned here, but does not appear until "Dates".

Continuity errorsEdit

  • Slater says to Del that Rodney was caught smoking a Moroccan Woodbine when the police burst in, whereas in "Big Brother", Del says that Rodney was caught smoking the reefer by the governors doing their annual inspection.
  • At the Nag's Head, Slater says to Boycie "Give my love to Marlene, everyone else used to." indicating that Boycie, Slater, Del, Denzil, and Trigger all knew Marlene when they were all in school, but in "Fatal Extraction", Del and Boycie both seem to remember Marlene as the girl who worked in a betting shop down Lewisham Grove.
  • In this episode del boy get a contract against prosecution, yet in he is fined 50 pounds for unlicenced trading

Miscellaneous triviaEdit

  • When Season 1 was being cast, Jim Broadbent (DCI Roy Slater) was offered the part of Del Boy, but he turned it down due to other commitments.

Previous episode: Yesterday Never Comes
Next episode: Wanted

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors). Smallwikipedialogo.png

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.