Only Fools And Horses

Thicker Than Water

INT. THE TROTTERS' LOUNGE. NIGHT. Rodney and Grandad are in the armchairs watching TV. Grandad I remember this film when it first came out. It was in the middle of the war. I remember half-way through it there was an air raid and we all had to run for the shelter. Rodney I bet you all hated the Kaiser that night eh? Grandad What's the matter with you you moaning little git?? Rodney What's the matter with me?? Grandad, it is Christmas night and I am stuck in with... Rodney is about to say 'you' but stops. Rodney (cont'd) I am stuck in - here, watching a film that the Germans tried to bomb! Grandad I know what you mean Rodney, I feel exactly the same. Rodney I thought you liked this film. Grandad I do! It's just that it's Christmas night and I'm stuck in with you! Rodney Thank you very much. Grandad Well stop yer whining then! I don't know why you didn't go out with Del. Rodney He's seeing Lassie again ain't he? Grandad You don't wanna let Del hear you refer to her as a dog! Rodney Well he must know! When she come back from Tenerife it took him two weeks to get her out of quarantine! There is a ring at the front door bell. Rodney and Grandad refuse to budge. Grandad Was that the bell Rodney? Rodney It sounded very much like it Grandfather! The bell rings again. Rodney There it goes again! Whatever could it mean? Grandad It means there's someone at the door you lazy little toe- rag! Go on Rodney, it might be Del popped back for some- thing. HALL. Rodney exits from the lounge shouting to the front door. Rodney I suppose you've run out of Bob Martins again! He opens the door to Reg Trotter, Del and Rodney's father, Grandad's son. Reg is fifty-six-ish, and wears a stained and disheveled suit, he has a two-day growth of beard and carries a small and battered case. He has a pathetic air about him. At first he appears meek and helpless. Rodney, who hasn't seen his father since he was five, doesn't recognise him. Rodney Yeah? Reg Oh, good evening sir. Rodney looks over his shoulder not realising Reg is referring to him. Rodney Oh, what d'you want? Reg I'm sorry to bother you but I wonder if you could help me? Rodney Yeah, hang on. Rodney reaches into his pocket. Reg No, I don't mean like that! I'm looking for a family called the Trotters. Rodney The Trotters?? What makes you think the Trotters live here? Reg It's written on your bell. Grandad enters the hall. Grandad Who is it? Ro...Reggie?? Reg Hello old 'un, how you diddl- ing? Grandad It's really you! Reg It's me alright! Long time, eh? Grandad Too long Reg, too long! (Embracing Reg) Oh it's good to see you, it really is! Rodney You two have met before have you? Grandad I'm sorry, let me introduce you. Reg, this is Rodney. Rodney, I'd like you to meet your Dad. Rodney Pleased to meet you! INT. THE TROTTERS' HALL. NIGHT. The front door opens and Rodney enters, followed by an irate Del. Del Right - where is he? Rodney (Stopping Del) Will you just calm down a bit! Before you go in there shouting and bawling, just you remember, he's still our father! Del Well you and me could be spending the night in the orphanage by the time I've finished! Rodney Del, he's not the man you remember. I mean, you've told me how he used to be a right Jack the lad, all flashy shirts and gold cuff-links, a bit like...a bit like some of the blokes down the pub! But he's old now Del. He's disheveled and pathetic, he seems kind of, frightened! Just bear it in mind will you, please! Del Alright, Rodney, alright. LOUNGE. When Rodney and Del enter there has been a transformation. Reg has showered and shaved, he wears fresh trousers, one of Del's killer-diller shirts and also one of his medallions. He has a large scotch in one hand and one of Del's cigars in the other. He is now full of confidence and once again the master of the house. Reg Del Boy! Good to see you son. Pour yourself a drink. Del looks at Rodney who just shrugs. Del I had a shirt like that once! Grandad Yer Dad had a bath and a shave Del, then he found he was low on clothes! Del He'll be low on teeth before he's much older! Del takes the cigar and drink from Reg's hands. Del (cont'd) Get yer things together and sling yer hook! Reg Alright, if you wanna talk it over I'm listening! Grandad He only wants to stay for one night Del! Del When he closed that front door in 1965 he closed it for good! Rodney Have I got any say in this? Reg Let's hear what Rodney's got to say. Del What's to be said Rodders? You know what he's like! Rodney No I don't! Del Of course you do, I've told you often enough! Rodney Yeah and that's all I know! I wouldn't mind the opportunity of judging him for myself. Reg (To Rodney) I never raised a hand to your Mother Rodney except in self- defense! Del What do you mean 'judging him'? He deserted you when you was five years old! And not just you. He walked out on his own Father! In all that time he didn't even know if Grandad was dead or alive! Rodney Well we're never that sure! Alright so he left, but he's back now! Del After eighteen years! I mean what happened, did his watch stop? Stone me Rodders, we see Hayley's Comet more often than him! (To Reg) Just go will yer? Grandad Look, whatever you think of him Del, he's still my son. All he wants is a bed for the night! Del I don't believe you two! Can't you see what he's doing? He's playing on your sympathy and yer family loyalty! He is evil! That is the devil standing there! Grandad Don't be so bloody stupid Del! That's your own Father! Del Yeah, but he sold his soul for an ounce of Old Holborn years ago! (To Reg) Give me one good reason, just one, why I shouldn't chuck you out by the scruff of the neck? Reg I can't think of one Del. I'm not proud of what I did Del. I'm ashamed - ashamed and sorry! Just recently I've been laying in that hospital bed, night after night, re-living the moment I walked out of here! It hurts Del Boy, it hurts! Grandad (Rises) Hospital bed? What's wrong with you Reggie? Del Something serious I hope! Rodney Can't you wrap up for five minutes! Del Don't be fooled by him Rodney. He's had everything from Galloping Lurgy to Saturday Night Fever! I was doing some homework once and I asked him what a cubic foot was. He didn't know but he tried to have a week off work with it! Grandad What's wrong with you Reggie? Come on son, you and tell me and Rodney. Reg Well, a few months back they took me into hospital, just for a few routine checks. Del Jackanory Jackanory. Reg I'm telling you the truth this time Del, look! Reg produces a medical card headed: 'Newcastle Infirmary.' Del Newcastle Infirmary? Reg I've been living up there for the last year or so. The medical card convinces Del that the story is true. Del (More concerned) So, what's wrong with you? Reg is struggling for the right lies. Reg Er, well they discovered I had this em, hereditary blood disorder! It's called...well it's a medical word! Grandad A long one Reggie? Reg Ooh yeah Dad! Rodney Can they cure it? Reg They're not sure! I just live in hope. Hope's about the only thing I've got! Rodney Oh come on... Dad! These doctors can perform miracles nowadays. Try'n be brave eh? Come on, be bra...Hereditary?? Reg Eh? Rodney You said it's hereditary! That means I could have it as well! Del starts laughing at Rodney, the laugh quickly dies. Del And me!! Reg (Grasping the opportunity) Yes. Well this is half the reason I dashed down here! The doctor said I had to warn my children immediately! Grandad What have they got to do? Go for blood tests? Reg As soon as possible! I've done me best by you this time ain't I Del Boy? Del (Still stunned) Yeah. Thanks! Reg I'm feeling a bit weak. I think I'll climb in. 'Night boys. Rodney and Del 'Night! Reg And Merry Christmas. Reg exits. Grandad D'you think I'll have to have a blood test as well? Rodney No, it's hereditary, it means it's passed on not back! Del (Rises) You're most probably the carrier! What a right blinding Christmas this has turned out to be! Some people get wise men bearing gifts - we get a wally with a disease! Grandad You two had better get straight down that hospital after the holidays. Rodney Yeah, but with these National Health cuts we could wait for ever! Del No we won't. I'll phone Dr Becker first thing in the morning. Rodney He's not gonna see us on Boxing Day! Del Oh yes he will! He owes me a favour. See, his ten-year-old son thinks the bike that Santa brought him came off the back of a sleigh. Me and the doctor know better! Hang on, where's Dad sleeping? Rodney I offered him my bed. Del Tch, you're a great big softy ain't yer! Rodney Well, he's not very well and all. You'd have done exactly the same thing wouldn't you? Del Yeah, of course I would! Rodney Good, 'cos he turned my bed down and chose yours! Nite! Rodney exits. Grandad is fearing that his bed may be in danger. Grandad See you in the morning Del! Grandad exits. TROTTERS' LOUNGE. STUDIO. EVENING. Grandad is watching the TVs. Rodney is on the sofa. Del enters from the bedroom. Del Where's the ghost of Christmas past then? Grandad He ain't here Del. Del You mean he's gone? Grandad Only down the pub for the New Year's Eve do. Del Oh, I thought it was too good to be true. Grandad You talk about your own father as if he were an alien. You seem to think of him as ET. Del No I don't Grandad, ET went home! Grandad A couple of letters arrived for you two this morning. I think it's the results of your tests! We see the two brown envelopes. Del (To Grandad) Oi, these have been opened! Grandad Well that must have bin yer Dad. Del Well the saucy... Grandad You can't blame him Del! I suppose he was too worried to wait for you! Del Yeah, well alright then! Well go on then Rodders, what's yours say? Rodney slowly lifts the results card from the envelope. Rodney (Great relief) All clear! All clear! I got an all clear my son! Well don't look so cheerful about it Del! Del I ain't had a look at mine yet have I? Rodney Oh no, sorry! Del lifts his results card from the envelope. He studies it. And then with a horrified expression looks to Rodney and Grandad. Grandad What - what's it say Del? Del can barely raise his voice above a whisper as he replies. Del It says - it says, result of test...negative! Rodney and Grandad are left stunned by this news. Rodney now reacts. Rodney Negative? Del Yeah! Rodney Well that means all clear you plonker! Del Does it?? Thank Gawd for that! I thought it was a medical term for curtains! Why don't they bloody well put all clear then? Rodney Oh who cares? Listen, we gonna have a drink to celebrate? Del Yeah I need something Rodders! Rodney Right, I'll go'n get changed. Rodney exits. Grandad sits at the table. Del exits into the hall. Grandad That's funny! Del re-enters the room. Grandad (cont'd) Your blood group's AB - Rodney's is A. Del It can't be can it! He'd have the same blood group as me! Grandad (With growing suspicion) That's what I thought! Del Giss 'em here! (Checks reports) Look, my blood group is AB... and Rodney's blood group is A! A! - Well, how's that wally managed to get himself a different blood group? Grandad gives him one of those 'I'm saying nothing' looks. Del Look, we're brothers right? So we should have the same blood! I mean we had the same mother, we had the same!! (A thought, then) Are you suggesting Rodney's got a different dad? Grandad I'm saying nothing! But I always remember Maisie Turner! Del Maisie Turner! Who the hell's Maisie Turner? Grandad She married Bernie. Remember Bernie? Used to pull the stall out down the market. Del Yes yes! What about 'em? Grandad Well she had two sons. One by Bernie, the second by some bloke she met on a charabanc trip to the lights! Bernie found out and divorced her. Del How did he find out? Blood tests? Grandad No, the youngest boy was half- caste! Now I ain't saying anything against yer Mum, Gawd rest her soul. But if you put two and two together... Del You come up with Rodney! Grandad You remember just before your Mum announced Rodney was on his way, her and yer Dad were having lots of rows. She started going out friends. Del You mean that trumpet player from the Locarno? Grandad I thought he played the saxo- phone! Del No that was the other one! Yes, yes it's all beginning to make sense now! Remember when Rodney joined the Boys' Brigade? He was a natural with that bugle weren't he? Grandad And look at him Del. He's sort of... Grandad raises his hands to indicate height and shape. Grandad (cont'd) ...different! Del (Rises) Oh my Gawd! Why did this have to happen eh? I mean this of all things! Rodney, now wearing a suit, enters. Rodney Alright? Del and Grandad put on big false smiles. Del Yes, wonderful Rodney! Grandad Couldn't be better Rodney! Rodney What's wrong? Del Nothing, honest! Everything's brill! Rodney Good! I wonder where Dad is? Del That's exactly what me and Grandad were wondering...I mean there's no telling which pub he'll be in! Del looks Rodney up and down. Rodney checks his flies. Rodney What? Del Just admiring the suit Rodney. New is it? Rodney No, I bought it five years ago, it weren't new then! Look, something's wrong, now is anyone gonna tell me?? Del Oh I suppose you've got a right to know Rodney! Although I want you to understand that it doesn't make a blind bit of difference! Everything will still be the same! Rodders, that man you call Dad - ain't! Rodney Ain't what? Del He ain't yer Dad! Rodney What is it, a joke? Del No, I wish it was Rodney! Rodney I don't get you. Of course he's my Dad! Del shakes his head 'no'. Rodney (cont') But he must be, Grandad intro- duced us! Del Just take my word on it Rodney, let's leave it at that! Rodney (Standing up) No I will not leave it at that! You are trying to tell me that that man is not our father? Del No he just isn't yours! You've got a different blood group Rodney, look! Rodney (Reading the reports) So I've got a different blood group, what does that prove? Del It proves you're a whodunnit Rodney! There's more to it than just that. You see, just before Mum fell for you, she'd met a new 'friend'! This trumpet player from the Locarno! Grandad And a saxophone player! Del Yes, thank you very much Grand- father! Rodney What are you trying to tell me. My Dad was a band? Del No Rodney, no! Just the brass section! Rodney No I don't believe it! I mean the way you've always described Mum she'd never do anything like that! Del Well normally she wouldn't! It must have bin a sort of one off! Rodney Great! I can't wait to fill in my next passport application form. Mother's name: Joan Mavis Trotter. Father's name: Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass! Reg enters from the hall. He is in an angry mood and, as we shall discover, knows the truth. Grandad Been for a drink Reggie? Reg Yeah I've bin for a drink Dad. I've got bloody good reason to ain I? Del What are you moaning about now? Reg I can read Del Boy! Earlier this morning I happen to notice them medical reports! I thought that's funny, differ- ent blood groups! So just to be on the safe side I checked my group with me donor's card, then I checked yer Grandad's group with his old arm records. And what do I discover? We've got a Lone Ranger in the family! Del and Rodney look at each other. Reg (cont'd) I'd just like to know ho the hell Tonto was! If your Mother was alive now I'd kill her! Del You what??... Del tries to get at him but is obstructed by the table and chairs. Reg backs away from him. Reg Try'n see it from my point of view Del! How would you like to have a son who you love and care for, who you fetch up as yer own, only to find years later that he's a mystery? Del Love and cared for him? You walked out and left Rodney when he was five years old! You didn't care if he had shoes on his feet or grub in his belly! Reg What do you keep bringing Rodney into this for? You're the mystery! THE NAG'S HEAD. DAY. Del is seated alone at the bar. He is reading the News of the World, unable to concentrate. he folds the paper up and places it on the bar. He reaches into his inside pocket and produces the now very crumpled medical report card. He studies it for the thousandth time and shakes a frustrated head as he still cannot find an answer. Del (Mumbling to himself) AB. Why? Karen You alright Del? Del Eh? Yeah, I'm alright darling. Karen I thought you'd have been in last night or the New Year's Eve do! The rest of the family was here. Del Were they? No, I er, I got a bit involved elsewhere. Karen Your Dad's a giggle ain't he? Del Yes Karen, that man is one long grin! Karen He got up on the stage and sang a couple of Adam Faith songs. Del You're kidding? What after all these years he's still doing the Adam Faith impression? Karen He was good! He sang 'What do you want if you don't want money?' and, what was the other one? Oh yeah, 'Someone Else's Baby'. Del Someone Else's Baby? Karen Do you want another one? Del Yeah, Grand Marnier and grape- fruit. The main doors open and Reg, Rodney and Grandad enter. Rodney is wearing 'the suit', Grandad is in his funeral gear and Reg is wearing Del's sheepskin. They are all laughing at some outrageously story that Reg is telling. Rodney Oh leave off Dad! Reg It's true I'm telling you! Grandad What, he still didn't know it was you? Reg He didn't have a clue. I saw him years later and he still had the scar! They now reach the bar and react as they see Del on the opposite side. Rodney Alright Del? Del Yeah triffic Rodders. Grandad Why didn't you turn up last night for the New Year's Eve party? Del I, I had a bit of business to attend to... (To Reg) Can I get you a drink? Reg That's nice of you, but I'm with my family. Del (Through clenched teeth) Well I'll get yer family a drink as well! Karen, give them people over there a large brandy each. Reg Cheers. Reginald is toasting his drink to Rodney and Grandad whilst gesturing them towards a table. Reg (cont'd) Anyway let me finish the story. Rodney Well I'm gonna have a chat with Del. Reg Oh! Alright Rodney - don't be long, eh! Reg and Grandad move to the table. Rodney moves around the bar and joins Del. Rodney You didn't come home last night? Del No, er, I stayed round at Trigger's place. I'm fed up with kipping on that settee. Rodney Is that the only reason? Del Yeah - yeah that's the only reason! (Reg laughs) You and the old man are seeing a lot of each other, ain't yer? Rodney Yeah. I think he's trying to make up for all the lost years. Del Oh yeah! (Referring to the suit) You bin out this morning? Rodney Yeah. He took me to the zoo. Del Oh yeah...alright was it? Rodney Yeah, you know, animals and... things! Del Good! Listen, I don't want to spoil the surprise, but I saw him up Selfridges on Friday checking out the Action Men! Rodney has to grin at this picture. Rodney Hey Del, why don't you just come back home, eh? Del How can I Rodney, with him there? He'll never let me forget that I'm a - a Lone Ranger! Rodney Del he hasn't mentioned it, honest! Del Maybe not to you, but every time he passed me on the landing he kept shouting hi ho silver! Rodney Look, I'm sure I can remember that during a biology lesson at school, the subject of kinetics came up, and the teacher said that the children of the same parents can have different blood groups! Del Thanks Rodders - you're trying to cheer me up. You're a diamond Rodney! Rodney No, I mean it, Del. Why don't you get some advice on the subject. Go and see Dr Becker. Del I couldn't Rodney! Rodney Why not? Del Because then he'd know!! He's been the family doctor for years. He treated Mum when she was ill. I don't want him thinking 'that' of her! No, it's all clear cut, Rodney, it's oeuf sur le plat as the French say! The rest of the family are A, but I'm AB! Rodney So what does it matter eh? You're just one letter out. That's nothing is it? The only difference between us is a B. Del And you know what B stands for? Reg (Calls) Rodney! You gonna play cards with us? Rodney Yeah, in a minute! You wanna game? Del No not me Rodney. He's bound to find something to wind me up! Rodney No he won't Del! Look, if you just sit over here on your own he'll think he's beaten you! C'mon. He who dares wins! Del (Rises) Alright then! Del and Rodney move across to the table where Reg and Grandad are sitting. Reg is shuffling a pack of cards. Reg Take a seat Rodney...oh, does your friend want to play as well? Grandad Now just lay off him will you Reg! Del Don't say anything to annoy me! Reg Oh as if I would! He's touchy ain't he? Don't know who he gets it from. Right, what shall we play? Rodney Before you say it, no, we don't wanna play Happy Families! Reg Alright. We'll play Pontoon... (Dealing one card to each player) One for me, Dad, Rodney, Kimasabi. THE TROTTERS' LOUNGE. NIGHT. A disgruntled Rodney is watching the TVs. Grandad is clearing the table. Reg is looking for a cigar u/s of TV. Reg You got any money Rodney? Rodney I gave you my last fiver this morning. Reg Dad? Grandad You know I'm skint! Reg Well why didn't you nip Del for a few quid? Grandad I can't ask Del Boy for money after what's happened! Reg No I don't suppose you can! Rodney could! Del enters from the hall. This is the old Del, rubbing his hands together and full of the old bounce. Del Alright Grandad, Rodders. Evening Reginald! Stick a pizza under the grill Grandad. Grandad You in for the night Del? Del Yes I'm in for the night! Grandad exits to the kitchen. Reg Good! (To Rodney) We can all have a family sing- song this evening. (To Del) You can join in if you like! Del allows the jibe to wash over him and simply smiles through it.. Reg exits into the kitchen. Del (To Rodney) What's up with you? Rodney Well, earlier on I showed him my GCE certificates. He said he was proud of me! Then he went and wrote a bet on the back of one of 'em! Del He wrote a be...! He's the devil Rodney! Rodney I'm beginning to think you're right! Del I tell you one thing, you were right! Rodney Was I? Del Oh yes. I took your advice Rodney! Rodney Good! What advice was that Del? Del (Winks to Rodney) I'll tell you in a minute! Reg exits from the kitchen. Reg (Shouting back at Grandad) Well there were four in there earlier! Grandad follows Reg in. Grandad Yeah, and you drunk 'em all! Reg is angry and frustrated at not having a drink. He now puts on a sweet smile for Del's sake. Reg You don't fancy popping down the off-licence and get a few drinks in do you Del? Del No! Reg Oh! Del No I'm off the drink for the moment. I went and saw Dr Becker this evening. Reg is slightly alarmed at the news. Reg Yeah? Why what's wrong with you Del? Del (Aimed at Reg) Well, for the last week or so I've been suffering from this pain in the arse! So while I was there I asked the doctor to give me a second blood test, just to double-check things. But he told me there was no need because, as you so rightly said Rodders, a person's blood group doesn't mean a thing! A mother and father could have three children, and them kids could all have different blood groups! Reg That's rubbish! I mean what does he know anyway? Del Oh he knows a lot! Like he knows that my blood group is A! Grandad Well why's he written AB on the results? Del He didn't! Someone else added the B! Rodney Now I wonder who could have done that?? Reg Well it must have been someone at the clinic having a joke! I mean the letters arrived by post. The envelopes were sealed! Grandad Until you opened 'em! Reg I was only trying to make sure that my two boys didn't have the same... (Becoming weaker) ...illness as me! Del Oh yeah, Dr Becker was very interested in your 'blood disorder'. So he phoned the Newcastle Infirmary just to find out what exactly was wrong with you. And what do you reckon? Rodney They'd never heard of him! Del Now how'd you know that Rodney? Rodney I'm clairvoyant! Del Well they ran his name through their computer but they didn't have a patient called Trotter. But, they had a porter called Trotter! But he left two weeks ago with 57 blankets, 133 pair of rubber gloves and the chief gynaecologist's Lambretta! Reg I don't feel all that well! Del I mentioned that and Dr Becker recommended lots of fresh air, new surroundings and plenty of exercise - like a long...brisk ...walk! Reg Did he? Yeah maybe he's right. (Checks watch) Is that the time? I really must be on my way! Del So soon? Reg Don't wanna outstay me welcome Del! I'll...I'll get my things together. Reg starts to exit to the bedroom area. Grandad The crafty, conniving little...! Del Alright! Hey Grandad, I hid a bottle of scotch under the sink. Grandad Good boy Del. Grandad exits to kitchen. Rodney I'm glad he's going! He's made this a right miserable Christmas for us all. Del All over now Rodders. Before you know it we'll be back to just how we used to be. Grandad enters from the kitchen. Grandad Del Boy, I've burnt yer pizza! Del See what I mean!

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