Only Fools and Horses

Only Fools and Horses: The tragic reason one character only starred in one episode

She introduced a whole new dynamic to the show, and John Sullivan had hoped to bring her back regularly

What all the most dedicated fans of Only Fools and Horses will tell you is that a huge part of what makes the show so great is the fantastic performances from the less central characters.

Whilst we all know Del, Rodders, Grandad and Uncle Albert well, it’s the characters like Trigger, Boycie, and Denzil that really complete Only Fools and Horses.

Another character may also have been remembered up there with Trigger had tragedy not struck.

Eva Mottley only appeared in one episode of Only Fools, but she made a lasting impact as Denzil’s wife Corinne.

The episode in question was the December 22, 1983 episode ‘Who’s a pretty boy?’, the penultimate episode of season 3.

In the episode Corinne was introduced as the wife of an old school friend of Del’s, Denzil, who hires the Trotters to redecorate the flat they share in Peckham despite Corinne’s protests.

Things get off to a bad start when Del sees that Corinne’s canary has died and, thinking they had somehow killed it, Grandad rushes to the pet shop to replace it.

When Corinne comes back she is horrified to see the canary alive as the bird had already been dead when she woke up that morning.

This deepens Corinne’s distrust of Del who she already didn’t like after he completely ruined the catering at her wedding, serving up pie and chips for guests with a jam sponge as the wedding cake.

John Sullivan the legendary writer of the show thought the dynamic of Corinne being distrusted of Del and always suspecting he was up to something worked excellently and had wanted to include her more in the series as a voice of reason.

Eva Mottley was just 31 years old when she died
Eva Mottley sitting on chair playing guitar April 1983

But tragically Eva Mottley would die before this could come to fruition.

In 1985 Eva had been working on a sequel series to drama TV show Widows when she left her role, claiming the production team had been both racially and sexually abusive.

She became depressed following this and struggled with substance abuse and debt before taking her own life on Valentine’s Day 1985 aged just 31.

After Eva’s tragic death John Sullivan, despite the plans he had for the character, decided not to recast Corinne out of respect for the late actor.

Corinne’s absence was later explained by saying she and Denzil had separated.

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