Heroes And Thieves

Heroes and Villains (Only Fools and Horses)

Heroes and Villains is an episode of the BBC sit-com, Only Fools and Horses, first screened on 25 December 1996 as the first part of the 1996 Christmas trilogy. It attracted a UK television audience of 21.3 million, at the time a record for the show.


The episode opens with Rodney's futuristic dream, in which a grown-up Damien, head of the now multinational and all-powerful Trotters Independent Traders, rules the world, barking orders to President Keanu Reeves and waxing lyrical about the benefits of war in the year 2026. Del Boy and Raquel live in a mansion, Trotter Towers, but Rodney himself is merely an old messenger, Cassandra is a maid, and Uncle Albert's body has been preserved.

Rodney wakes up back in the present day on his birthday, on which he receives an identity bracelet from Del with the name "Rooney". Del's application for a council grant has been rejected, and Raquel receives a letter her estranged parents, who want to meet her again. It emerges that Rodney and Cassandra have been trying for a baby, which leads to an unsuspecting Uncle Albert drinking one of Cassandra's urine specimens, believing it to be apple juice. Meanwhile at Sid's cafe, Trigger is telling everyone in earshot about a medal he received from the local council for owning the same broom for twenty years, despite the fact that it has actually had 17 new heads and 14 new handles in that time. Del buys tickets for himself and Rodney to attend a publican's fancy dress birthday party, Cassandra goes to Spain with her mother, and Raquel and Damien visit her parents.

At Del's insistence, he and Rodney go to the party dressed as Batman and Robin respectively, but their Reliant Regal van breaks down halfway there and they have to run the rest of the way. En route they interrupt an attempt to mug Councillor Murray and, emerging from the fog dressed as Batman and Robin, promptly scare away the thieves. Del and Rodney arrive at the party, unaware that the publican, Harry Malcolm, had in fact died the day before and the fancy dress has thus been cancelled in favour of a wake (a fact that Boycie, who meets them in the doorway, declines to mention), and they burst into the main room singing the Batman theme tune.

Del and Rodney are in the market the next day and see the gang of muggers again, this time attacking an elderly woman. Rodney gives chase, before one of the muggers then starts chasing him; Del ultimately knocks the mugger unconscious with his suitcase. Del (though not Rodney, much to his annoyance) receives a medal for apprehending the gang. While at the awards ceremony, he meets Councillor Murray again, who offers to do him a favour in return for rescuing her. That night Del announces that his application for a council grant has now been approved, and Rodney reveals that he and Cassandra are expecting a baby.

Episode cast

Actor Role
David Jason Del Boy/Batman
Nicholas Lyndhurst Rodney/Robin
Buster Merryfield Uncle Albert
Tessa Peake-Jones Raquel
Gwyneth Strong Cassandra
Roger Lloyd Pack Trigger
John Challis Boycie
Kenneth MacDonald Mike
Sue Holderness Marlene
Paul Barber Denzil
Roy Heather Sid
Angela Bruce Councillor Murray

Actor Role
Douglas Hodge Old Damien
Jamie Smith Damien
Steve Weston Kenny
Scott Marshall Gary (mugger)
Dan Clark Scott (mugger)
Furman Dar Kevin (mugger)
Sheree Murphy Dawn (mugger)
Bay White Old Lady
Robin Meredith Mayor
Richard Hicks Photographer
Ted Shepherd Tom (Commissionaire)


  • During Rodney's dream, Damien is speaking on the telephone to the American President who is named Keanu Reeves.
  • On 21 December 2006, a scene from this episode was voted number 3 in the UKTV Gold Top 40 Greatest Only Fools Moments. The scene in question was when Del and Rodney came running through the mist dressed as Batman and Robin. Another scene from this episode also made it into the Top 10 of this poll: the scene when they discuss Trigger's broom (scene is described above in the "Plot" section)
  • The Batman and Robin scene was influenced from the YMCA scene in Wayne's World 2 of accidentally being dressed up in a situation.
  • This episode marks one of the first TV appearances by Sheree Murphy, who would go on to have a successful acting and presenting career.


When production began on the 1996 Christmas trilogy, it originally started off as just one episode, where its original script included all the elements of both "Heroes and Villains" and "Time On Our Hands", but compressed to fit into one movie. But as the ideas grew, John Sullivan told the producers that more than one episode would be needed, so "Modern Men" was written as a filler between the two episodes, and it ended up being the current trilogy.


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