Watch: Fans flock to Only Fools and Horses musical
A planned special episode of Only Fools and Horses to mark its 30th anniversary would've seen Del Boy retire as an ultra-successful millionaire.
John Challis, who played Boycie in the beloved sitcom, told The Sun that plans were afoot for a final special, but creator John Sullivan became ill before the episode could be made.
Sullivan wrote all 64 episodes of the programme, which aired from 1981 until 2003, and was inspired to create Del Boy by market traders he had observed while growing up in Balham, South London.
Challis said Sullivan was at work on a final special ahead of the 2011 anniversary of the show's premiere, until he was struck with viral pneumonia.
The writer died at the age of 64 at a private hospital in Surrey.
Challis said news of Sullivan's death came as "a complete shock to everybody" and that plans for the special subsequently fell apart.
He revealed: "It was going to be Del Boy’s 65th birthday, he was going to retire and there was going to be a bit of a get-together in the Nag’s Head. But unfortunately [John] got ill and didn’t come out of it.”
Del Boy and Rodney previously became millionaires in the 1996 episode Time on Our Hands — originally billed as the final outing for the characters — but they lost the cash when the show returned in 2001.
Challis was a regular part of Only Fools and Horses in his role as Del Boy's rival and subsequently reprised the character of Boycie in spin-off series The Green Green Grass.
The show's legacy has since continued with prequel Rock & Chips, as well as a stage musical — written by Paul Whitehouse and Sullivan's son, Jim — which debuted in 2019.
Tom Bennett plays Del Boy in the musical, with Whitehouse playing Grandad and Ryan Hutton featuring as Rodney.
Only Fools and Horses is routinely listed as one of the greatest British sitcoms ever made and Del Boy was crowned the fourth best TV character of all time in a 2001 Channel 4 poll.
Most recently, David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst reprised their iconic roles in a 2014 sketch for Sport Relief, in which they shared the screen with David Beckham.
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