Thicker Than Water

Del and Reg Trotter in a stand-off.

Detailed sypnosisEdit

Rodney and Grandad are watching an old black and white movie on Christmas Day, when a stranger appears at the door. The stranger turns out to be Del Boy and Rodney's father (and Grandad's son) Reg, who had abandoned them in 1965. Rodney has no idea who he is until Grandad tells him, after which he doesn't know how to react; however, when Del hears and comes home to throw him out, Rodney persuades him to give their dad a chance, which Grandad agrees with on the grounds that Reg is also his son. Reg tells his two sons and father that he's been living in Newcastle, and after a visit to the infirmary, was diagnosed as having a hereditary blood disorder.

Del and Rodney quickly take blood tests, which both turn out negative, but Grandad notices on their results, they appear to have different blood groups. Grandad explains that around the time that Rodney was born, Reg and their mother Joan were having frequent arguments, and Joan flirted with other men. Del and Grandad thus both assume that Rodney has a different father and tell him the news, with Del concluding that Rodney is a "whodunnit". However, when Reg returns having checked his own and Grandad's blood groups, he reveals that it is in fact Del who has the alien blood group.

After spending the night at Trigger's place, Del drowns his sorrows at the Nag's Head, while Reg moves in permanently, wearing Del's clothes, spending time with Rodney, and taunting Del for being a "lone ranger". Rodney reassures Del that children with the same parents can have different blood groups and recommends that he go see Dr. Becker, who has been the Trotter family's doctor since 1962, again to clarify the results.

On New Year's Eve, Del Boy returns home and tells Rodney and Grandad that he took Rodney's advice and went to see Dr. Becker again, who confirmed that his blood type was actually 'A' and not 'AB', as recorded on the results, and it was Reg who had modified them in hopes of exiling Del from the family and taking his son's place in Nelson Mandela House. Del also reveals that Dr. Becker made some background checks, which found that Reg was actually a porter at the Newcastle infirmary, not a patient, and was on the run after stealing numerous items from the hospital, including a doctor's scooter. Reg quickly leaves, and the Trotters are glad to see him go, although Del still gives him some money on his way out. Del assures Rodney that in no time at all, things will be back to normal at Trotter Towers, such as Grandad burning Del's pizza.


Season: Christmas Special
Writer: John Sullivan
Director: Ray Butt
Producer: Ray Butt
Duration: 30 minutes
Airdate: December 25, 1983
Audience: 10.8 million

Featured charactersEdit

Other notesEdit

Story arcEdit

  • This episode hints at a fact that Del Boy and Rodney do not share the same father. The mystery continues in "The Frog's Legacy", only this time the suggestion is that it is actually Rodney who was the product of an affair between their mother Joan and gangster Freddie Robdal (aka "Freddie the Frog"). This is confirmed in the final episode of the series "Sleepless in Peckham", and is the central plot of the 2010 comedy-drama prequel Rock & Chips in which gangster Freddie the Frog (played by Nicholas Lyndhurst (the adult Rodney)) has an affair with Del's mother Joan at about the time Rodney is conceived.

Previous episode: Who's a Pretty Boy?
Next episode: Licensed to Drill

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