"The Longest Night" was the 3rd episode of the 5th series of Only Fools And Horses, airing on the 14th September 1986 with a viewing figure of 16.7 million. The Trotters get into a bit of bother when they go for their weekly French stick, but one minute the gunman is The Shadow, a man of mystery, the next, we know his name, address and mums shoe size.
Derek "Del Boy" Trotter, Rodney Trotter and Albert Trotter are down the local supermarket buying the weekly shopping. As they are leaving, they are stopped outside the front entrance by Tom Clarke, the Top Buy Head Of Security. He asks if they can accompany him to the office. Del sees a 1000'000th customer sign on the window of the entrance doors, and that customer will win £1000. Del thinks they have won the prize and they go to the office.
At the office Tom speaks to Mr Peterson, the store manager to say he believes these 3 men have some stolen items in their possession. Del is horrified. They say they never got the bill and the reason they came quietly was because they thought they had won the prize. Del says he is leaving but Peterson says if he presses this button near his desk, security will be waiting by the entrance door. He then says they can discuss it like civilised gentlemen or he can call the police. Del tells Rodney and Albert to say nothing as it is up to the store manager to prove their guilt.
Meanwhile in the supermarket a young West Indian man is stealing things off the shelves. He is stopped at the entrance by Tom Clarke who escorts him to the office. He then pulls out a gun and tells them to open up the safe as it has £60'000 in it. Peterson says it is fitted with a time lock that came into action a few minutes ago and the safe will not open until 9am the following morning, 14 hours time. The gunman says they will have to wait. He also says his mum bought him his watch off the market recently. Del tells Rodney to keep schtum. The man says it is only 14 hours, it will soon go.
Several hours later, the Trotters have eaten a lot of their food and drank their Coca Cola. Rodney wants a cigarette. The gunman says they can have the lights on. Mr Clarke shuts the blinds then turns on the lights. The gunman says he is known to the police as The Shadow, he comes and goes, and no one knows. Del says it will take him 14 hours to come and go in here. Albert tries to fake a heart attack to distract the gunman so they can disarm him but Albert's fake heart attack is far from convincing. When he returns to his seat Rodney asks if he has any tobacco on him. Albert says no.
The following morning, Del, Rodney and Albert wake up to the sound of cars shutting their doors as the staff are arriving. The gunman is asleep and slouched over Peterson's desk. The gun is on the table next to a packet of cigarettes. Rodney tries to sneak up to the table, all the others think he is going to get the gun off the gunman. But he gets the cigarettes. Del shouts You Plonker. The gunman wakes up and demands the fags back. It is only 30 minutes to go until the time lock on the safe turns off and the safe can be opened by the normal key. He then recognises Del.
The gunman is revealed to be the son of Rosanna Gilbey, a West Indian woman who Del used to sell shoes to. The gunman says to Del if he remembers her little boy. Del says "not little Lennox". The gunman is Lennox Gilbey and knows Del. Lennox says he has been out of work since he left school and got desperate. Del suggests he gives up before its too late as if he gets the 60 grand from the safe he has to walk past all the cleaners, shelf stackers and porters and ask them to get a key to lock him out.
Lennox spills the beans that it was all a set up between himself, Peterson, and Mr Clarke. Lennox had arrived a few minutes late, otherwise he could have walked out with the money. Del says he wondered why Lennox knew how much money was in the safe and where it was. Turns out Peterson has a spendaholic wife, and the pension Clark will receive from his impending retirement is far too small to live on. In order to solve their respective problems, the three planned to break into the safe and share the money, but needed some independent witnesses, so they brought the Trotters into the office after falsely accusing them of shoplifting to provide them with an alibi.
Instead of going to the police, Del strikes a deal with them. Lennox is after a job and Del says they will hire Lennox as a security guard with a view to becoming head security officer when Mr. Clarke retires, and when the Trotters return to the supermarket later that day (as most of the food from their original trip has gone stale), the family will be named the supermarket's millionth customers and awarded the £1,000 prize. Mr. Peterson agrees with the proposal, and Del shakes hands with him to seal the deal. He then says "Bonjour hey".
- Derek "Del Boy" Trotter - David Jason
- Rodney Trotter - Nicholas Lyndhurst
- Albert Trotter - Buster Merryfield
- Lennox Gilbey - Vas Blackwood
- Tom Clarke - John Bardon
- Mr. Peterson - Max Harvey
- Checkout girl (Sheila) - Catherine Clarke
- Woman In Kiosk - Jeanne Mockford
Previous Episode The Miracle of PeckhamEdit
Next Episode Tea for ThreeEdit
- The idea for the script was based on a true story that John Sullivan had read about a small-time criminal who went into a supermarket and pulled off a scam with the security manager and the store manager.
- This episode is the third and final of only three episodes of Only Fools and Horses in which the interior of the Trotters' flat is not seen. The other two are "Cash and Curry" from Series 1, and "Who's a Pretty Boy?" from Series 3.