Rock and Chips Review: Trotters Junior Traders

January 23, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

4rock300ROCK AND CHIPS: Sunday 24th January, BBC1, 9pm ALERT ME

Any Meatloaf fans tuning in to Rock and Chips should prepare themselves for disappointment – this is the ‘before-they-were-famous’ story of the Only Fools and Horses cast, not a music documentary.

After finally deciding that David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst were a bit too old to reprise their roles as the Trotter brothers – although Lyndhurst does put in a nice performance as his own father – the BBC have found themselves an uncanny new Del Boy in the form of James Buckley (the blue-mouthed hilarious one from Inbetweeners).

This comedy-drama takes us back to a Peckham circa-1960 in which Derek Trotter, Boycie, Denzil and Trigger have just walked out of school without many qualifications.

As you might expect they soon start earning a few quid on the side, but these young characters are merely fringe players in this 90 minute special. The real story revolves around a young Del Boy, his radiant mother Joan Trotter, his work-shy and selfish old man, his granddad – played perfectly by Phil Daniels, and Freddie Robdal.

While most of those names will fit in well with our knowledge of the iconic sit-com, that last person will probably leave you stumped. Freddie Robdal is a rather suave art connoisseur-slash-thief who returns to East London after a ten year spell in prison and catches the eye of the 18 year-old Del’s warm-hearted but downtrodden mother.

Although faced with some pretty large challenges, the writers have succeeded in breathing new life into these well-loved characters – but that could be because they were so very rich in the first place.

Yet amid the seriousness of this prequel there are a few moments of comedy gold and it’s easy to see why the original Del spoke of his mother with such eye-moistened high regard – she is the original blonde bombshell here.

Indeed fans of James Buckley will begin to wonder what his character in The Inbetweeners would make of her.

Fittingly, one excellent moment comes when Joan’s sleazy locks himself in his office after an encounter with her. “I want you to be my right hand”, he says later when offering her a promotion.

Leo says:

Absolutely brilliant please make this into a series. perfect homage to the original but in my eyes far better.

Mardroid says:

Rodney having another father isn’t a new thing. It was story thread in the last episode ever of Only Fools and Horses. Honest.

I enjoyed Rock and Chips. It wasn’t as funny as Only Fools, but then it wasn’t meant to be. As a story with it’s own tone filling in more of the back-story, I thought it worked very well. I’m curious to see if a new series is commissioned after this.

Ru says:

to follow in the footsteps of the original comedy gold holds huge expectations admittedly but i found it disappointing. there was no oomph to the plot which plodded along. rodney having a different dad gave it an interesting angle but nicholas lyndhurst didn’t suit playing that character. the only star was delboy’s mother. young delboy himself had no spark & seemed like an ‘extra’. agree with comment above that this ‘comedy drama’ ought to be viewed on its own & out of curiosity. a spin-off series could work due to the 60’s era setting (which seemed authentic) & its serious mood is more of a drama rather than comedy. if a comedy then it needs to be funny!

Gary says:

I am a huge OFAH fan and for me, this did not disappoint one little bit. I for one was completely absorbed by Nick Lyndhurst’s character – just shows what a damn fine actor he is.

Please John Sullivan, please BBC, let there be a future series of R&C. Magnificent!

One point to note from the original piece above. I’m sure that residents of Peckham will be horrified to learn that it’s moved from South to East London!!!

Adam says:


I thought the prequal was good, not sure about the whole Rodbey having another dad side of it but i would like to see a series take off from this

Patricia says:

Just watched Rock and Chips – brilliant – the music choice, all the 60’s items, scenes, way of life, was brought alive again, and the humour, honesty and ironic sadness was all incredibly well acted, lived, by all the actors – well done everyone, I mean everyone – all those back stage as well as the key actors, and of course the writers – million thanks for making my Sunday night – cheers, Tricia in Antwerp, Belgium.

Paul Benson says:

What a load of tripe. Forget the genious of Fools and Horses and watch this movie as a stand alone, very bad. Only worth curiosity value

Stewart says:

What a brilliant idea !! MAKE THE SERIES !! All fools and horses fans are gonna love it !! MAKE THE SERIES

Steveo says:

Loved only fools and horses cant wait for this new one please make a full series says:

We are collecting reviews – please write your review – if we get enough positive views there may be a chance of a series commissioned by the BBC

really looking forword to the prequal loved only fools and horses looks like a good choice of cast for rock and chips nicholas lyndhurst and david jason your legend miss u both together cos your funny