Only Fools and Horses Wiki
It's Only Rock and Roll
Series 04, Episode 04
It's Only Rock and Roll.jpg
Air Date March 14, 1985
Written by John Sullivan
Director Susan Belbin
Length 30 minutes
Previous episode "Hole in One"
Next episode "Sleeping Dogs Lie"
List of episode

Rodney joins an aspiring rock band, and Del becomes their manager.


At a warehouse, as Del Boy loads up the Trotter Van with the latest item to flog called Kandy Dolls, Rodney (who has to go down to the Arndale Centre to flog them, like how he flogged cricket bats each "personally autographed" by Viv Richards at Christmas) tells him that he just joined a band that are styling themselves after Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Del points out that Rodney doesn't have any drums, as well as mention that he shouldn't be hanging with that "bunch of wallies", especially their wild lead singer, Mental Mickey Maguire, who once bit another man's ear off. It is then revealed that each Kandy Doll has a different voice chip meant for another toy, and the Trotter Brothers then drive off.

Later, back at Nelson Mandela House, Del tells Uncle Albert (who is pouring himself a glass of brandy) that the Shamrock Club in Deptford, the "Paddies' Moulin Rouge", doesn't have an act for St. Patrick's Night since their resident band, "The Dublin Bay Stormers", are in jail for their violent behaviour. Del manages to secure a booking for Rodney's band at the Shamrock Club with a clever ruse which involves a carefully timed slamming door and the LP of "Diane" by The Bachelors on the record player, then calling Liam, the owner of the club on the phone, and telling him that it'll cost £300 to hire the band for St. Patrick's Night. Once the conversation is over and Del hangs up, Albert tells his nephew that the other Trotter relatives told him stories about Del and his "business activities". Albert never believed them until now. But Del doesn't care, because he's heading off to the community hall to tell Rodney.

That night, at the community hall, Rodney and his band are rehearsing a song they wrote called "Boys will be Boys", with Mental Mickey providing vocals, two other guys named Stew and Charlie both playing rhythm guitars, and Rodney playing drums on packing cases until Del enters, listens to the band playing their song rather badly, then tells them that he wants to be their manager who will buy them brand new equipment, as well as get them bookings, like the Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, etc. Mental Mickey allows Del to take the position. Del then asks the band if they know any of the Bachelors' songs, and the band look at him nonplussed. Now their manager, Del promises the band that this time next year, they'll be millionaires. The band resume their song, Del exits and jokingly cringes in pain over their terrible musical skills.

On St. Patrick's Night at the Shamrock Club, a massive riot has broken out due to the performance of Rodney's band. Rodney, Del, Stew, and Charlie exit the club with their instruments and equipment and drive off into the night in the van, while Mental Mickey enjoys himself fighting various club patrons.

A few days later, at the Trotters' garage, Rodney has invited a policeman in to tell him that his band's instruments were "stolen". But Del appears at the garage door and explains to his younger brother and the policeman that he had them on a sale-or-return basis, much to Rodney's surprise. Del gets rid of the policeman, and tells Rodney that he returned the instruments because the "bunch of wallies" were terrible and weren't destined for the Albert Hall, and Carnegie Hall; the only hall they were destined for was "Sod 'All". Rodney then bemoans that he got kicked out of the band for defending his older brother, and Del explains that Mental Mickey and his band were too insane to hang out with in the first place. Rodney then asks Del why he always interferes in everything his younger brother does. Del answers that their mother Joan said to him on her deathbed, "Del, please give little Rodney all the encouragement that you can. Never, Del, never hold him back!", but Rodney points out that whatever they're arguing about, their mother always had something to say about it on her deathbed, like last week, when the Trotter Brothers were arguing on whose turn it was to get the fish and chips, Del claims that their mother said on her deathbed, "Send Rodney for the fish!" Del then pays Rodney his share of the £300 booking fee and tells him to just forget about that "bunch of wallies" and move on. With the conversation over, the Trotter Brothers head off to the market to flog hooky Maltesers.

The next evening, as Del is talking to Monkey Harris on the telephone about the Kandy Dolls, he watches the TV's and discovers to his complete horror that the group, now named 'A Bunch of Wallies' and having hired a new drummer, are at #26 on the UK Singles Chart and performing their song on Top of the Pops. Suddenly, Del hears Rodney entering the flat, quickly turns both TV's off, and pretends to stir a cup of tea with a cigar, as Rodney enters and tells his older brother that he met an old woman down at the laundromat, and told her that Albert wants to take her to the old folks' beano on Thursday. Del falsely laughs about it, then drinks his cigar-soaked tea. Rodney then proceeds to watch Top of the Pops, but Del tells him that both TV's are broken. And so, Rodney decides to enter Albert's bedroom and tell him the good news. While that happens, Del quickly puts on his camel coat, as Albert exits his bedroom and tells his nephew that he doesn't want to go on the old folks' beano. Del tells his great uncle not to go then, as well as mention that he's going out, but not to tell Rodney. As he heads off to the kitchen, Albert tells Del that Rodney's busy watching Top of the Pops on the portable TV. Just as Del is about to escape, a fuming Rodney exits Albert's bedroom and tells Del that Mental Mickey and his band are in the charts and have a chance of making it to #1, and Rodney has lost out on it. Del protests that he too has lost out as he was the band's manager. Rodney produces his old drumstick and threatens to hurt Del with it.

Featured characters

Other notes

Continuity errors

  • At the near end of the episode, Del tells Monkey Harris that he's had the dolls for a week, shortly before seeing the Bunch of Wallies on Top of the Pops. On the day Del bought the dolls, Rodney was still in the band, and another member said later he reckoned his friend's cousin could get them a recording contract. So, in the tight space of one week, the Bunch of Wallies have played the Shamrock Club, fired Rodney, found a new drummer, got some instruments of their own (which they never had previously), gained a contract, recorded their song "Boys will be Boys", released it as a single, entered the charts, and appeared on Top of the Pops. Although Del telling Monkey he has only had the dolls for a week could be explained as a negotiating ploy by Del as he is trying to sell the dolls to Monkey, and if he told Monkey that he had the dolls for longer, they would appear less valuable.
  • How did Rodney manage to tell Uncle Albert that he'd organised a date for him at the old folks' beano and start watching Top of the Pops in Albert's room in just five seconds? That was the gap between Rodney entering the room and Albert leaving it.

Production goofs

  • The Trotter garage is bigger than the one seen in "Time On Our Hands", where it was linked up with other garages and was smaller.
  • When Del's on the telephone to Liam at the Shamrock Club, he starts playing "Diane" by the Bachelors. However, when he puts the receiver down and turns the volume up, it jumps to a different point of the song.

Miscellaneous trivia

  • This episode featured a brief cameo by ex-Radio1 DJ Mike Read, who was on the TV presenting the Bunch of Wallies on Top of the Pops.