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Only Fools and Horses episode
"To Hull and Back"
Series Christmas Special
Writer John Sullivan
Director Ray Butt
Producer Ray Butt
Duration 90 minutes
Airdate 25 December, 1985
Audience 16.9 million

To Hull and Back is an episode of the BBC sit-com, Only Fools and Horses, first screened on 25 December, 1985. It was the first feature-length edition of the show, and the fourth Christmas special. The title of the special is derived from the movie To Hell and Back. Parts of the show were shot on location in Amsterdam.


As the Trotters are enjoying another night at the Nag's Head, Boycie and his business partner Abdul call Del Boy in for a secret meeting, which involves Del visiting The Netherlands to smuggle diamonds for them, for which they are being paid £15,000. Del agrees to do the mission.

The next morning, as they arrive at the market, Rodney believes the diamond smuggling trip is very dangerous and illegal, but Del assures him that everything will be OK. Just then, Denzil shows up in his lorry, and asks Del to leave him (Denzil) alone as requested by his wife Corrine.(This links in with a sub-plot in which Del is seen to "haunt " Denzil.) With all that said, Denzil drives off.

The Trotter brothers quickly run off from the police after trying to flog watches that play 36 different national anthems, but they run into local policeman DCI Roy Slater and his right-hand man Terry Hoskins. At Sid's cafe, Slater tells Del and Rodney that he's already investigating the case, and knows that Boycie and Abdul are involved, only Slater doesn't know who the courier is. Also, Slater mentions that he'll be retiring after this case. As Slater and Hoskins leave, Del phones Boycie and tells him that Slater's onto them. Boycie suggests that they and Abdul meet tonight. Del knows the perfect meeting place...

As Boycie and Abdul wait in the trailer of an unsuspecting Denzil's lorry in a car park, Del and Rodney arrive in their Trotter van. With Rodney standing watch, Del enters the trailer and gets the money from Boycie and Abdul to take with him to Amsterdam. As Boycie and Abdul leave, Slater shows up, and Del quickly hides under a big cover, but unfortunately gets locked in the trailer, and is accidentally transported up to Hull by Denzil. In desperation, Rodney follows Denzil all the way to Hull in the van. Whilst there, Del decides that, rather than go through the airports being watched by Slater, he and Rodney should sail to Holland in a hired boat instead. "Experienced seaman" Albert arrives to captain the boat, although it later emerges that he spent most of his time with the Royal Navy in the boiler room and thus has no experience of navigation. Despite that (and after receiving directions from an oil rig), they make it to Amsterdam, where they meet a Dutch diamond dealer named Henry Van Kleefe and conclude the transaction without a hitch, despite the fact that Boycie's money is counterfeit.

After getting lost in the North Sea again, the Trotters eventually find their way back to England by following the Norland ferry, which goes from Zeebrugge to Hull. They end up in Zeebrugge at first, much to their chagrin, but follow the ferry back to Hull.

Upon returning home to Peckham and meeting with Boycie and Abdul at the Nag's Head, the group are apprehended by Slater, who, as it turns out, was working with Van Kleefe from the start. Slater makes a proposal: either they all go to prison, or he leaves with the diamonds and they walk away free; the Trotters and friends reluctantly accept the second option. Del vows to get revenge, but Slater mentions that he's going far away from London when he retires, then leaves. With their mission failed, Del, Rodney, and Albert decide to give up and head on home.

Meanwhile, Hoskins drives Slater straight into a police ambush. It then emerges that Slater's subordinates, even Hoskins, were in turn conspiring against him, and set him up to be caught in possession of the illegal diamonds, and Hoskins was ordered by the commissioner to keep an eye on Slater. Meanwhile, Van Kleefe is also apprehended by the Dutch authorities, after the forged money is immediately noticed when he tries to exchange it at a bank.

Back at Nelson Mandela House, Del and Albert reveal to Rodney that that their adventure wasn't for nothing, because they had switched two of the diamonds for two of Del's cats' eye cufflinks and kept them, while Rodney reveals that it was he, and not Slater, who took the £15,000. Del, unaware that the money Boycie had intended to pay him with was actually real, promptly throws it out of the window, leaving Rodney and Albert open-mouthed, and Del Boy feeling proud of himself.

External links

Preceded by
White Mice
Only Fools and Horses
25 December, 1985
Succeeded by
From Prussia With Love


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