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Almost eaten in Miami by an alligator, while me and that dipstick Rodders were shouting at a Bee Gee?

september 24  2017

Only on Fools And Horses! DAVID JASON on his pride at the comedy's family appeal

The Christmas special is a simple way to measure the growing success of Only Fools And Horses: in 1982, during the second series, we were obliged to pretend that the Dorset coast was Malaga in order to save money. In 1991, by contrast, we were off to Miami to film in and around the Everglades.

I can safely say without fear of contradiction that this was the first time I had ever acted alongside an alligator. They say you should never work with children or animals, and they may be right. But you should certainly never work with animals that have sharp teeth and snapping jaws.
The creature chosen for the part went by the unimaginative stage name of Al the Gator. Al was roughly the length of Ipswich and — in common with many of his kind — had a demeanour that said: ‘Don’t mess with me.’
His ROLE was to take a run at Nicholas Lyndhurst, as Rodney, and me, perched on a log, ready to sprint off in terror. No tricks, mirrors, screens or smoke were used: when you see Nick and me on our log, with Al just behind us, looking mean, moody and unmessable with, that’s how it was.
What you don’t see is the ranger with a loaded rifle standing by — a sight which was faintly reassuring, although you had to hope, in the absence of any concrete proof, that he was a good shot. You also don’t see the bucket of alligator-friendly titbits intended to get Al moving in the right direction.


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