Nicholas Lyndhurst has enjoyed a long and successful career on stage and on the small screen, but he will undoubtedly be remembered for the show that made him famous, Only Fools and Horses.
The show is one of the most well-loved and critically acclaimed sitcoms in TV history, with 6 BAFTA wins and 12 nominations.
Set in Peckham, a town in the south of London, the show starred Sir David Jason, who played the consummately ambitious wheeling and dealing market trader Del Boy, Nicholas Lyndhurst, who played his long-suffering younger brother Rodney, and their daft old Granddad, who was played by Royal Shakespeare Company veteran Lennard Pearce. After Pearce’s sudden death in 1984, the Trotter brothers welcomed their great uncle Albert Trotter, played by Buster Merryfield, to stay for a few days that ended up being for the rest of the show’s run (barring the 2001-2003 Christmas specials, which were shot after Merryfield had passed away).
The trio of Del, Rodney and Granddad and later Albert were four of the richest, most developed characters you could find in British sitcoms. However, what really pushed the show to the next level was the litany of unforgettable supporting characters, each so fleshed out they could have starred in their own spin-off series.
The show followed the highs and lows of the Trotter family, as they continued on their seemingly never-ending quest to become millionaires.
The show achieved consistently high ratings, particularly throughout the latter portion of its run which consisted of an annual Christmas special – an occasion which became an institution for families all across Britain. Everybody watched the Fools and Horses Christmas specials.
Such were the high ratings for the shows, the last ever episode of the series original run, as well as the last ever episode with Merryfield’s Uncle Albert, which aired over the Christmas period in 1996, garnered a mind-numbing 24.3 million viewers. That was a number unheard of in the relative modern times of the 90s, with those sorts of viewing figures not seen since the days of the Morecambe and Wise Christmas specials.
Both critically and popularly acclaimed, the show struck a chord with the British public and became part of the culture of the country. It added many new words to the English lexicon and spawned an extensive range of merchandise, including books, videos, DVDs, toys and board games. A spin-off series, The Green Green Grass, ran for four series in the UK from 2005 to 2009. A prequel, Rock & Chips, ran for three specials in 2010 and 2011. A special Sport Relief episode aired in March 2014, guest starring David Beckham.
Lyndhurst excelled as he played his character’s supposed father Freddie the Frog in Rock and Chips, and as well as that he found success with Goodnight Sweetheart, which aired at the same time as the Christmas specials of Only Fools and Horses through the 1990s.
And while Nicholas Lyndhurst continues to be one of the most famous faces in Britain, his son, Archie Lyndhurst, is just starting out in the business that made his father one of the most loved actors in Britain.
Initially, however, dad Nicholas was reluctant to let his son follow in his footsteps. According to the Guardian, Nicholas gave his then 14 year old son some advice about getting into show business, urging him that he should not get into the business if all he wants to achieve is fame.
The Only Fools and Horses star said: ”When Archie said he wanted to be an actor, I said: ‘I can’t offer any advice other than please don’t do it.’ He said: ‘Daddy, I just want to entertain people.’ I told Lucy: ‘If I ever hear him say the f-word – ‘famous’ – the deal’s off.’ He never has.”
However, Archie has since starting working on a kids TV comedy and the veteran sitcom star is shocked at how great his son is on screen.
He said: ”He’s filming his second series for CBBC, ‘So Awkward’. I wish I’d been as good as him at his age.”
And since seeing Archie’s achievements, Nicholas has been able to take a step back as he can see the teenager is capable of making his own decisions.
He added to The Guardian newspaper: ”I became a different person overnight when I had my son – terrified. You could call me a helicopter parent, but now Archie’s 14, I’m learning to back off.”
But now Archie is on the verge of turning 18, and has carved himself out a promising career after appearing on Bad Education as Young Alfie in 2014, and a couple of voice over roles in video games such as The Secret World: Issue 10 – Nightmares in the Dream Palace and Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward.
In 2016, he appeared in the pilot of the TV series Our Ex Wife and from 2015 to 2017 he appeared in the show that found him the most fame: CBBC’s So Awkward.
He currently has a couple of projects in filming as well as post production – he is currently working as the editor on the short Memory Slip and as an actor in another short The Infectious Imagination of Henry Bramble, which is currently in post production.