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Hole in One
Series 04, Episode 03
Hole in One Albert.jpg
Air Date March 7, 1985
Written by John Sullivan
Director Susan Belbin
Length 30 minutes
Previous episode "Strained Relations"
Next episode "It's Only Rock and Roll"
List of episode

"Hole in One" was the 3rd episode of the 4th series of Only Fools And Horses, airing on the 7th March 1985 with a viewing figure of 13.4 million. This episode saw Uncle Albert "fall" down a cellar to try and win some money for the family.


Del sues the Brewery after Uncle Albert falls down The Nag's Head's cellar.


Four weeks have passed since Grandad's funeral and Uncle Albert first moved in with Del Boy and Rodney, and things are not good for them financially. It is the worst winter in over "two million years", and Rodney has foolishly made an investment in £500 worth of sun tan lotion.

At The Nag's Head, as the Trotters pass by the open door into its cellar, Mike wants a word with Del about the deep-fat fryer he sold him. Inside, Del and Rodney once again start to argue, prompting Albert to leave.

Suddenly, a loud crash is heard, and the Trotter Brothers run into the cellar to find that Albert had fallen down through the cellar's open door. Del hatches a plan when Albert says "I've got a right mind to sue the brewery!" He also tells Rodney to phone Solly Attwell, the Trotter Family's solicitor.

Back at Nelson Mandela House, Solly tells Del and Rodney that there's nothing physically wrong with Albert after his accidental fall, but suggests that it may have hurt him mentally. Furthermore, he tells them that the Brewery has agreed to settle out of court for two thousand pounds, an amount which will solve their financial troubles, but Del still decides to take the case to court, hoping to gain more compensation.

At the courthouse, Del and Rodney tell their sides of the story, hoping that they get their money from this, but when a wheelchair-using Albert comes up to tell his side of the story by faking amnesia a lot, the Brewery's Barrister reminds Albert about a lot of cases similar to this one, all involving Albert Gladstone Trotter, and they all took place after the war. Not only that, but Albert underwent basic parachute training on the Isle of Wight, where he learned how to fall off things without injuring himself.

Later, outside the courthouse, the Trotter Brothers are fuming. According to details from the trial, Albert, who has been nicknamed "the ferret" by the insurance company, has no less than fifteen prior cases against various institutions for falling down holes. As Del Boy points out, these are only the known cases, i.e. the ones that went to court and Albert has probably taken additional money in out of court settlements.

A squeaking sound announces the arrival of their Uncle, who is still in his wheelchair. Blowing smoke into the older man's face, Del demands the truth. Albert reluctantly admits that the court was telling the truth. He explains that the first time it happened was a genuine accident. Despite not hurting himself, because of his training, Albert never-the-less still got compensation from the incident. After that, whenever he and Grandad were short of money, Albert, who had recognised the opportunity presented to him, would deliberately go and fall down a hole. He apologetically says that he was just trying to help.

Unimpressed and unappeased, Rodney points out that Albert's actions very nearly landed them in serious trouble. Rodney was almost charged with contempt of court, whilst Del's name has been passed on to the Director of Public Prosecutions. As for the Trotters attorney, Mr Solly, he stands a chance of being debarred, though Rodney mispronounces it as de-frocked. What the brothers fail to take into account is that the only reason they were in court in the first place was due to Del's greediness. If they had just accepted the original £2000 compensation, all of this could have been avoided.

Genuinely remorseful, Albert explains that whilst he didn't want to do it, he had a couple of reasons to fall down the cellar at the Nag's Head. Firstly, he hoped to use the compensation money as a way to thank his nephews for all of the kindness that they've shown him these past few weeks. Tearfully, he says that the second reason was that he wanted to use a portion of that money to pay for Grandad's headstone. He tells his surprised nephews that when they were children, Grandad used to look after Albert, whilst lamenting how he never got the chance to repay his older brother.

Touched by this, Del and Rodney forgive Albert. They begin to wheel their Uncle home, shortly before Del furiously reminds Albert that he can walk and doesn't need the wheelchair.

Featured characters

Other notes

Story arc

  • The Trotters' address is revealed to be 368 Nelson Mandela House, Dockside Estate, Peckham.
  • Albert's middle name is revealed to be "Gladstone".

Episode concept

  • The idea for the script was based on a true story about John Sullivan's grandfather, a coal-man named Dickie, who claimed compensation by falling down holes.

Continuity errors

  • In the previous episode "Strained Relations", Del believes that Albert causes bad luck, Rodney disagrees. In this episode, Rodney says that Albert is bad luck and Del thinks Rodney is talking rubbish.
  • During the court case, the judge says that the Trotters live at 368 Nelson Mandela House, yet in "Time On Our Hands" while Del and Rodney are stuck in the lift, as Denzil and Mickey Pearce take furniture out of the Trotters' flat, the door number is clearly 127.
  • After the court case, Albert tells Rodney and Del that every time himself and Grandad were short of some money, Albert would just fall down a hole. In the court case, it was revealed that the incidents occurred after the war. In "Tea for Three", Albert said that he and Grandad didn't speak to each other after they met and rowed over Ada. In "Miami Twice", Albert revealed that he left Ada behind when he went to war, so Albert clearly met Ada before the war and therefore couldn't be speaking to Grandad after the war when they allegedly worked together falling down holes. But clearly they did work on this together, as Albert says so, meaning he was (as usual) exaggerating when he said him and Grandad never spoke again.
  • The replacement in the storyline of the character of Grandad with that of Albert creates plot ambiguities; the exact reasons why a Royal Navy ships engineer would be learning parachute jumping in the war was never explained adequately, also in future episodes - particularly "Strangers on the Shore", Albert's war stories were proven to be true, which contradict the statement in the court case that he spent the whole war on the Isle of Wight.

Production goofs

  • The exterior of the Nag's Head is very different to that of the Nag's Head exterior which is later seen in "Miami Twice" and "Fatal Extraction" where the Trotter Van pulls up outside a very spick modern pub.
  • When Solly is talking to Del and Rodney in the flat about Albert falling down the Nag's Head cellar, he says the line "He must have landed on something soft." When Solly says this, the camera shows Rodney sitting at the table with a glass of beer in front of him. He picks it up and then says to Solly, "Yeah he did, the landlord." But the next camera angle shows the glass of beer on the table instantly without Rodney having put it down. This therefore clearly showed that this particular scene was cut at the point of Rodney saying his line and then later resumed.

Miscellaneous trivia

Hole in One Grandad.jpg
  • This episode was originally written for Grandad and meant to be the fourth series' opening episode, but unfortunately, Lennard Pearce died from a heart attack after the filming of Grandad falling down the Nag's Head cellar and the courthouse scene. The episode was put on hold after Christmas 1984, and "Happy Returns" and "Strained Relations" were written and filmed as the first two episodes for this series. Once Buster Merryfield joined the cast, the scenes with Grandad were re-shot with Albert (the only shots of the Grandad version kept in the Uncle Albert version were Mike looking up at Grandad). The rest of the original footage has never been transmitted, and is not available on DVD.
  • The shot of the Nag's Head exterior was filmed at 267 Kensal Road, W10, London.