Only Fools and Horses Wiki
Licensed to Drill
Series 03, Episode 09
Licensed to Drill.jpg
Air Date N/A (produced in 1984)
Written by John Sullivan
Director Malcolm Taylor
Length 20 minutes
Previous episode "Thicker than Water"
Next episode "Happy Returns"
List of episode

Del has another get-rich-quick scheme in mind when he educates Rodney and Grandad on the wonders of oil drilling.


As Rodney and Grandad watch a war movie, Del Boy who had earlier returned from Dirty Doug's café with a magazine about oil and is now reading it while lying on the couch, begins educating his younger brother and grandfather, explaining all the products which would not exist without oil. He then insists that they watch a short film being shown on TV about the Maureen off-shore oil rig. When the film is over, Del goes to bed after insisting that Rodney reads the magazine in time for an important business meeting which will occur the next day.

When Rodney wakes up the following morning, he finds a strange man in the flat, and it emerges that Del has just concluded a deal with him. He explains that he has bought an oil rig for £400, intending for them to drill for oil themselves. However, Rodney points out to a seemingly unaware Del that offshore oil rigs are located hundreds of miles offshore (not hundreds of yards as Del appeared to presume), and Del suddenly realises that he has been conned.

Del attempts to give chase to the mysterious man he called "Paddy" who has, in Rodney's words "done [Del] up like a kipper", but is prevented from doing so when Rodney informs him that the Trotter Van is out of petrol. On this ironic note, Del, jaw agape, stares into the camera before attempting to throttle his younger brother as the credits begin to roll. Meanwhile, the "Paddy" character is briefly seen smoking a cigar and laughing triumphantly in his car outside the flat before he drives off.

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Other notes

Miscellaneous trivia

  • This special was filmed in 1984 for public schools, in between the third and fourth series of Only Fools and Horses.
  • Even though it was shown in various schools throughout the UK from 1984 onwards (mainly in science lessons), this special was never broadcast commercially and had only recently been rediscovered.
  • There was some confusion as to who wrote this episode, as the writing credit at the end is to Brian Hague, and not John Sullivan. This credit, however, refers to the documentary clip that the Trotters watched on the television during the episode. John Sullivan wrote the script, as well as writing and singing the theme song, "Licensed to Drill".
  • The name is derived from the James Bond film Licensed to Kill.