Only Fools and Horses

Only Fools and Horses: The classic running joke from the show that happened completely by accident

Sometimes the best jokes just write themselves

Only Fools and Horses became the legendary show that it is today first and foremost because writer John Sullivan and the numerous talented actors that graced its cast knew just how to get a laugh out of its audience. Throughout the show’s run from 1981 to 2003 there were countless hilarious and memorable jokes, from Del’s fall through the bar in Yuppy Love, to the iconic chandelier disaster that forms the punchline to A Touch of Glass, everyone has their favourite.

The show was also infused with the kind of comedy that doesn’t necessarily garner a huge laugh but just gently tickles you constantly. Whether it came from Del’s outfits, the Trotter’s unmistakable canary yellow Reliant three-wheeler, there was always some form of entertainment.

But one big running joke that many assumed was just another clever flick of genius writer John Sullivan’s pen was actually unintentional and turned out to be quite the happy accident. Everyone familiar with the show will know that on the side of the Trotter brothers’ ridiculous yellow van was the title of Del’s business Trotters Independent Trading Co., a seemingly innocuous name at first until abbreviated to the acronym T.I.T. Co.

The company boasted of operating in New York, Paris, and of course – Peckham (Image: BBC)

Whilst a fairly straightforward and very silly joke, it fit right in with the tone of the show and the haphazard wheeling and dealing Del got himself into, so it surprised a few when John Sullivan later explained: “I’d love to say it was deliberate from the start but it wasn’t, it was a pure accident.”

Accident or not, the gag was just one of many that made the show what it was and still is to its legion of fans.

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