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Happy Returns
Series 04, Episode 01
Happy Returns.jpg
Air Date February 21, 1985
Written by John Sullivan
Director Susan Belbin
Length 30 minutes
Previous episode "Licensed to Drill"
Next episode "Strained Relations"
List of episode

Shocking family secrets of the Trotters come to light when Rodney begins dating the daughter of one of Del's ex-fiancés.


The latest object of Rodney's lust is a pretty newsagent worker named Debbie, who is also keen on him, though acts slightly more coy about it. Meanwhile, Del Boy saves a young boy named Jason from getting hit by speeding traffic. That night, Del comes across Jason again, who tells him that he's running away from home because he got into trouble with his mother for letting the air out of the tyres on the Trotter Van. Del tells him that they'll go and tell Jason's mother that Del had asked the youngster to deflate the tyres so Rodney could reinflate them, to entice the boy back home.

Del is pleasantly surprised to see that Jason's mother is June Snell, one of Del's old girlfriends from the 1960's. When Rodney unexpectedly arrives to see Debbie (from the newsagent), Del realises that June is Debbie's mother too. In order to leave the courting couple alone, he and June go to The Nag's Head to reminisce about old times, although June is reluctant to reveal why she left Del so suddenly when they were a couple. However, when she unwittingly reveals that Debbie's 19th birthday is imminent, Del does the maths and suspects with some shock that she left him because she was pregnant with his child - who turned out to be Debbie. Quickly, he returns to June's flat to stop Rodney committing what he mistakenly describes as "an act of incense". An uninformed Rodney isn't happy with his brother's interfering and demands to know why it's Del's concern who he dates. Del tells him everything. Distraught, Rodney pleads with Del to ask June if it's "definitely definite" he is Debbie's father as June hasn't actually told Del yet.

The next night, Del goes round to Junes place, and when he confronts her about being Debbie's father she comes clean; Albie Littlewood - not Del - is actually the father. Albie was Del's old friend, who June was cheating on Del with or as she puts it "playing games" with. Del is shocked at this betrayal and confesses that for nineteen years, he had been riddled with guilt over Albie's death. He believed Albie had died whilst using the railway line as a short-cut when on his way to see him at the Nag's Head. June informs Del that Albie was actually on his way to see her, so he has nothing to feel guilty over.

But Del tells June that was not the cause of his guilt. The real cause of his guilt is that even if Albie had avoided his death that fateful night, Del wouldn't have been at the pub to see him; Del was busy cheating on June with Deidre, Albie's girlfriend. It is Junes turn to become shocked and angry, and when Del turns the tables by using her words "only playing games" she hypocritically calls him a "dirty little toe-rag". Although the issue is now resolved, any hopes Rodney had of dating Debbie are over regardless as Debbie is now dating work-shy Mickey Pearce, and the two make it clear they are going to her room. Seeing history repeat itself, Del smugly says hello to Mickey making the younger man uncomfortable, and on his way out warns Mickey not to take the short-cut across the railway line afterwards, much to Junes annoyance.

Featured characters

Other notes

Continuity errors

  • Del frequently claims that Albie Littlewood was his closest friend ever, yet Rock & Chips quite clearly demonstrates that this was not the case, and Albie was merely another friend of Del's and a member of his gang. In that trilogy, Del's closest friend appears to be Jumbo Mills. Since only a few episodes of Rock & Chips were aired, however, it can be assumed that Albie and Del became better friends in the intervening time period.

Miscellaneous trivia

  • June's flat is quite clearly a re-dressing of the Trotters' flat. It is excusable as on an estate of flats, it's quite feasible that the layout of each flat would be almost identical.
  • Due to Lennard Pearce's failing health, this episode commenced filming without Grandad, however shortly into production, the cast and crew were informed that Lennard had died. John Sullivan didn't want to start the series with a funeral, and the episode "Hole in One" originally scheduled as the season opener was only partially completed with Pearce before his death, so Sullivan wrote this episode as the opener, where it is mentioned that Grandad is in hospital.