Only Fools Russians

The Trotter family inside their shelter, preparing for a nuclear war.

Detailed sypnosisEdit

Del Boy purchases a pile of bricks and discovers several boxes of lead underneath, Rodney discovers (in some old paperwork found with the lead) that the lead is for a do it yourself nuclear fallout shelter. The episode was first screened whilst the real-life Soviet war in Afghanistan was ongoing, and Rodney persuades Del that, with a potential World War III looming, they should build the shelter rather than sell it. Del agrees to test out the shelter over the weekend.

Several potential locations for the shelter, including Grandad's allotment and Grandad's own idea of a spot in the New Forest, prove unworkable as the trio are unable to beat the four minute warning (due to a run in with the police).

The remainder of the episode is set in the shelter, where the discussion turns to war and the potential aftermath of the impending one. Del suggests that the present generation of British youngsters have been denied their birthright of a war, which sparks a tirade by Grandad, who gives a passionate "war is hell" speech. The episode ends with Del Boy dreaming aloud of what could become of the world in the event of nuclear fallout, while the camera zooms out to reveal the location of the Trotters' fallout shelter; at the top of their tower block, Nelson Mandela House.


Season: 1
Writer: John Sullivan
Director: Martin Shardlow
Producer: Ray Butt
Duration: 30 minutes
Airdate: October 13, 1981
Audience: 8.8 million

Featured charactersEdit

Other notesEdit

Story arcEdit

  • During his "war is hell" speech, Grandad mentions his brother, George, who would also be mentioned in "Strained Relations" as being Del's assumed godfather.
  • Grandad's allotment is not only mentioned in this episode, but it appears eleven years later in "Mother Nature's Son", which would contradict what Grandad said about never having a garden in "Homesick" (though he may have said this to gain sympathy).

Episode conceptEdit

  • The idea for the script was based on a true article John Sullivan was reading about, which involved a group of people who did as the script suggested: purchase lead and end up with an air-raid shelter.

Production goofsEdit

  • The Trotter van's registration number is APL 911 H in both this episode and "A Touch of Glass", whereas in "Modern Men", the van's registration number was DHV 938 D.

Previous episode: A Slow Bus To Chingford
Next episode: Christmas Crackers

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