"The Frogs Legacy" was the Christmas Day 1987 special of Only Fools And Horses, airing on the 25th December 1987 with a viewing figure of 14.5 million, and saw The Trotters think they may become millionaires. But where did Freddie "The Frog" Robdal hide the gold bullion he had left to Del Boy and Rodney's late mother Joan Mavis Trotter? Also to Rodney's alarm, he finds out that around the time Rodney was concieved, Freddie was friendly with him and Del's mother Joan, and Rodney does have Freddie's height and interest in art. Gets you thinking.
Del Boy is now trying to sell the computers he has had for a year and a half. He has sold one to Mr. Jahan. In The Nag's Head one night, Del tries to sell Mike Fisher one of them. Mike refuses. Trigger says that his niece Lisa is finally getting married to Andy and he invites Del, Rodney, and Uncle Albert to the wedding reception. Mr Jahan sees Del and says that the computer he sold him is still not working, it has destroyed his files and set fire to his curtains. Del persuades Mr. Jahan to give it one more week. He also manages to blag a job for Rodney from Mr. Jahan. Del tells Rodney and Rodney is not pleased. Rodney reluctantly agrees when Del says he needs to go and see Mr. Jahan down an alleyway opposite a office building. This means Albert is now Del's lookout down the market, the man who has to pretend to have a bad back in Del's plan to sell those back massagers.
A few days later Del, Rodney and Albert attend the wedding reception of Lisa to Andy. Del has sold Reverend Ian Sturrock a computer. He is the same priest who married Andy and Lisa. While there, Del meets Reenie Turpin, Trigger's aunt. She had moved away from Peckham in 1965, the year after her best friend, Del's mum Joan had died. Reenie then says that Joan met a local gentleman villain called Freddie "The Frog" Robdal in 1960 and she "befriended" him when she was having marital problems with her husband Reg long before Rodney was born. And one day Freddie and his gang of safe crackers broke into the vaults of a bank in London City in August 1963. The rest of the gang got caught but Freddie got away, with a stolen loot of gold bullion work £250'000. He then wrote out a will and died a week later when he inadvertently sat on a detonator when robbing a post office in Plumstead with Gerald "Jelly" Kelly.
It is on this information that Del embarks on a mission to find the lost gold, having inherited it from his mother on her death, who in turn, had had it bequeathed to her by Robdal in his will. Meanwhile Reenie whispers to Albert that there is a likeness between Rodney and Robdal, but Joan was never sure. Del says to Rodney they are millionaires and Rodney says they can take the magnet of the electricity meter now.
A few days later in the market, Del is selling his massagers and Albert has taken over as his apprentice and when he pretends to have a bad back and Del rubs it with the massagers Albert dances all over the place, and the punters are not fooled by the act. In a nearby street, Rodney sees Del and calls him names because Del never said to him that his new job was working for the local funeral directors as a chief mourner. While distracted Rodney causes a traffic jam when he goes down a one way street. Del quickly scarpers as does Boycie as he says he knows the man in the Cortina which has just broken down, he sold it to him last week.
That night in the flat, Rodney castigates Del for not telling him. Del says he is more into Freddie The Frog and the lost gold. Rodney dismisses it as a load of tosh but Del says Reenie was never a liar. Albert says that he vaguely knew Freddie Robdal during the war and says how Freddie died shortly after nicking the gold. Del mentions that he heard that Robdal had an affair with a married woman who lived on the estate and wonders why he left everything to Del and Rodney's mother. He also mentions a rumour that Robdal had an illegitimate child by that woman who would approximately be Rodney's age now. The throwaway remark begins to worry Rodney about the possibility that he may very well be that child, though Albert dismisses it as a rumour.
Even though Rodney is in a job he hates, through his job there Rodney finds out that Robdal purchased a coffin from Rodney's employers in July 1963. They had just started business then. Robdal had purchased the coffin for a "friend" named "Alfred Broderick". Rodney quickly deduces that "Alfred Broderick" is an anagram of "Frederick Robdal", implying that Broderick did not exist, and that Robdal had purchased the coffin to hide the gold in and had arranged a fake funeral for it to be buried. Albert thought Robdal had had a premonition but Rodney called Albert a berk. Mr Jahan then came into the pub. Del asks if Mr Jahan knows where the coffin is buried. Mr Jahan explains that they simply supplied the casket to him and he does not know where the coffin is buried. Robdal had come to collect it one night in a van, which Del thought was a takeaway. This means the gold could be buried anywhere. Rodney says that is the end of that, the gold has been missing for 24 years and the chances of finding it are remote.
Del still wants to find the gold and says Freddie would have buried it local, and that he will he will check any record office, stone masons, funeral directors in the area and for Albert to go round every cemetery in the area and look at every name on every headstone for an Alfred Broderick gravestone. Del is still adamant that he will find the gold. He has go go to Hampshire to pick up the money Reverend Sturrock owes him for the computer.
They go to Hampshire a day later and Del gets chatting to Reverend Sturrock who says the computer does not work and he has no need of it. Reverend Sturrock says how he wishes his parish had more people like Mr. Robdal, their mutual friend. Reverend Sturrock says he overheard Del and Reenie talk about Robdal at the wedding and how Robdal always used to call in to see him down this way as he had a holiday chalet by the coast in the village and his parents are buried in the churchyard. Del is onto a winner as he asks Reverend Sturrock about the coffin. Del learns that the same priest also buried "Mr. Broderick". He then finally learns of the gold's whereabouts.
Del goes to the van parked in the churchyard and sees Rodney and Albert and says he knows where the gold is buried. As Del rushes off with a shovel Rodney says they cannot dig up a grave in broad daylight, even though only gold is in it, if anyone saw them doing it they may not understand. Del points to where it is buried and points out at the sea. He says that Albert failed to mention the reason why Freddie got the nickname "The Frog" not because he liked French stuff but because he was a frogman and had met Albert when they were sailors. Freddie was also a deep sea diver. Del had just been told this off Reverend Sturrock. Del is angry as he said if Albert has told him Freddie was a diver and frogman, him and Rodney may have had a good idea where the gold is buried and saved them two weeks of trudging around every churchyard and cemetery and funeral directors in South London.
Consequently, Mr Robdal had buried the gold at sea to hide it from the authorities and intended to recover it at an opportune moment, but was killed before he could do so. While Del vows to find the gold, Rodney once again asks Albert about his resemblance to Robdal. Albert just dismisses it as rumours, but does acknowledge that he and Robdal do look a bit alike. Rodney says he always felt like a cuckoo to the family, an outsider. Rodney then surmises, "Freddie the Frog. Killed himself by sitting on someone else's detonator. What a plonker."
Albert goes to the van and Del and Rodney have a moment alone on the beach. Del says he will not let the gold rot away in "Davey Smith's locker" and this time next year, they will be millionaires.
- Derek "Del Boy" Trotter - David Jason
- Rodney Trotter - Nicholas Lyndhurst
- Albert Trotter - Buster Merryfield
- Mike Fisher - Kenneth MacDonald
- Trigger - Roger Lloyd Pack
- Boycie - John Challis
- Marlene - Sue Holderness
- Andy Williams - Mark Colleano
- Lisa - Gerry Cowper
- Reverend Ian Sturrock - Angus MacKay
- Reenie Turpin - Joan Sims
- Mr Jahan - Adam Hussein
- Man In Market - Duncan Faber
- Woman In Market - Angela Moran
Previous Episode A Royal FlushEdit
- This is the second occasion in Only Fools and Horses that the issue of whether or not Del and Rodney share the same father is raised, when Reenie mentions "the rumours" about Rodney's actual father to Albert. It had previously been brought up in "Thicker than Water" when their estranged father Reg tricked them into believing that Del was not his son - though this was later exposed as a result of trouble-making on his part. Although Albert assures Rodney that the suggestion that he was fathered by Freddie the Frog were just rumours, "Sleepless in Peckham" settles the issue that Freddie The Frog was Rodney's real father, and this is further confirmed in the prequel Rock & Chips, in which Freddie (played by Nicholas Lyndhurst (the adult Rodney)) has an affair with Joan and conceives Rodney. It was suggested in a BBC interview with writer John Sullivan that it was intended that the reappearance of Freddie would signal the end of Only Fools and Horses, but he decided against it and wrote Freddie into the show as already dead. "Sleepless in Peckham" would also establish that Del, as a teenager, only ever knew Freddie as "Uncle Fred", which explained why Del was unfamiliar with Freddie's real name until Albert drunkenly told him the truth about Freddie's past with the Trotters.
- The 25 computers that Del says he has had for a year and a half were first seen in "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?".
- Most of the outside filming took place in Ipswich on the junction of Rectory and Seymour Roads near Stoke Bridge.
- This special marked the end of an era for Only Fools and Horses, both in front of and behind the cameras. Ray Butt, who had been the show's producer since it started in 1981, decided to leave the BBC shortly after filming was complete. The day before he left, Butt told John Sullivan that he should seriously consider letting Only Fools and Horses end with "The Frog's Legacy"; Butt felt that the show had run its course, and pointed to the disastrous reception of the previous year's Christmas special, "A Royal Flush", as proof of his point. Sullivan gave thought to Butt's words, but after this special received a much more positive reception than the previous one had done, he decided to continue Only Fools and Horses. However, Sullivan shared Butt's concerns that the show's format was starting to become stale, and so starting with the next Christmas special, "Dates", and Series 6, Only Fools and Horses would maintain a balance between Del's get-rich-quick schemes and the personal lives of the Trotter Family, as well as introduce Raquel and Cassandra into the show.
- Freddie The Frog was said to have died in 1963, as he committed a robbery in August, and died when he sat on a detonator in September. Yet in "Sleepless in Peckham", Rodney tells Cassandra that Freddie died in 1964. Could be human error, and Rodney forgot what year Freddie died. Must happen a lot, where people give wrong dates to historical events. And we are talking the Trotter family, where Del thought Horatio Nelson lost The Armada.