Throughout Only Fools and Horses’ nine season run there were a whole host of famous faces popping up to make cameos, from Oscar winner Jim Broadbent to numerous EastEnders stars down the years. But if this cameo is to be believed then it would knock even Jim’s Academy Award out of the water.
Back in 1992, Only Fools was reaching its very peak, series seven had just been excellently received with some of the sitcoms best ever episodes, including The Class of ’62 and the Miami Twice two-part special.
But meanwhile in the music industry another force of nature was coming of age, boy band Take That releasing their debut album Take That and Party in August 1992, the five boys who made the line-up going on to conquer the music industry in a whirlwind 5 years from formation in 1990 to break-up in 1996 with six number one singles to their names.
The catalyst for this 1996 break-up would be Robbie Williams, youngest member of the band and future solo superstar, becoming Britain’s biggest popstar by the close of the 90s.
Funnily enough it’s also an 18-year-old Robbie Williams that many think they have seen in the Only Fools and Horses Christmas special to close out 1992, Mother Nature’s Son, which aired just a few months after Take That’s debut album released.
The episode’s plot follows Del’s flogging of ‘Peckham Spring Water’ after spotting a business opportunity in Grandad’s old allotment and its polluted water.
Aside from all this action though, the episode sees a scene in the Nag’s Head where Boycie and Marlene are chatting to Mike at the bar. Rodney stands up to join them and bumps another punter at the bar with long black hair clad in a black leather jacket.
As this drinker turns to glance at Rodney and shows his face to the camera, you get a brief glimpse of what surely must be none other than a youthful Robbie Williams, the extra clad in a long wig seeming to even match the tight lipped facial expressions and striking eyebrows of the singer.
What’s more as he begins to turn around again he seems to look directly down the camera lens before taking a surreptitious sip of his pint. On top of this the song being played in the bar at the time is also a Take That hit, further adding to the mystery.
Of course as with all myths, the truth is far more boring, being that this really is just an uncanny lookalike. Despite the many rumours that have been passed down the years that Robbie had been partying with Oasis at Top of the Pops in BBC Studios and snuck onto the Only Fools set, no-one at filming that day ever mentioned seeing him, so it’s almost certainly not true.
What’s more, commenting on a YouTube clip of the alleged appearance, another extra claimed to have worked on the show and even known the name of the real actor who so resembles the Take That star.
Stuart Ellis said: “I was an extra in that show and so was that guy!! The guy’s name is Paul Livermore and he’s Irish!!! Me and Paul got the extra work when we was in New Cross, we met one of the film extra recruiting staff Stuart Richards! Just to let people know it defo ain’t Robbie.”
One thing’s for sure though – that extra could have made a killing as a Robbie Williams lookalike in his heydey.