Belfast Telegraph

BBC axed Only Fools and Horses IRA joke

The BBC has ended 28 years of speculation to confirm that they banned a joke from an episode of the classic TV comedy Only Fools and Horses because of a reference to the IRA.

A clumsy piece of editing was carried out to remove the word “Provo” from a quip by actor David Jason and made his character Derek ‘Del Boy' Trotter look a right plonker during the episode called A Losing Streak.

Millions of fans of the long-running BBC series have always wondered why the lovable rogue’s words didn’t match what was coming out of his mouth.

And a BBC programme last week finally revealed the truth that Only Fools and Horses |producers were ordered to drop Del Boy’s remark about the IRA at the height of the Provos’ bombing campaign in Britain in November 1982.

During the episode, Del Boy bets his friend Boycie £20 that

the next customer who enters the Nag’s Head pub will order a pint, thinking he is onto a winner because he has already seen an Irish builder coming into the bar. But Derek loses the wager after the Irishman orders a Martini and slimline tonic.

Later Del Boy describes the builder as the “only genuine weight watcher in London”.

But in the new BBC |programme about the worst ever mistakes on television, presenter David Mitchell said that Del Boy had in fact called the man “the only Provo weight watcher in London”.

It’s thought the London bombings in 1982 and the deaths of Republican hunger strikers a year earlier influenced the decision by BBC bosses to insist on Jason overdubbing the word “genuine” for “Provo”.

Mitchell added: “They didn’t want to be offensive to the people of Ireland or the IRA. And believe me it doesn’t take much to get them writing into Points of View (BBC complaints programme).”

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