First look at Only Fools And Horses The Musical cast ahead of stage comeback

Del Boy and Rodney have returned to a South London housing estate – as the new cast for the Only Fools And Horses’ musical pose in full costume together for the first time.

The stars of the new stage show will begin the new production at London’s Theatre Royal.

Haymarket on February 9, but took the characters back to their roots for this photoshoot.

Amongst the cast are Tom Bennett as the lovable rogue Del Boy Trotter, Ryan Hutton as his hapless brother Rodney and Paul Whitehouse as the charming Grandad.

The musical was the final project writer and show creator John Sullivan was working on before his untimely death in 2011.

First look at Only Fools And Horses The Musical cast ahead of stage comeback

The Only Fools and Horses Musical cast headed down to South London

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To fulfil his father’s last wishes and honour his legacy, his son Jim joined forces with the hugely talented writer and comedian Paul Whitehouse to write and create a brand-new, home-grown British musical spectacular.

Speaking today, Jim explained how the musical was first born.

He said: “My Dad had been considering adapting the series to a musical for many years but sadly never got to fully commit to it. When we began developing the idea back in 2015 the first thing I did was to search my Dad’s notes.

“I knew from talking with him that he wanted to base the story around the ‘Dates’ episode, in which Del and Raquel first met (his personal favourite), and I found snippets of ideas he’d written down and a two-page opening scene.

First look at Only Fools And Horses The Musical cast ahead of stage comeback

The idea was first developed back in 2015

"A few months later I was helping my Mum clear out the garage (at the family home in Surrey) when I came across an old cassette tape with the words ‘This Time Next Year’ written on it.

“We played the song and there was Chas and Dave (as Del and Rodney) belting out "We’re gonna be alright, the good times are on their way…". Mum recalled that Dad had gone to Chas’s studio back in the late 1990’s to work on a song idea and this was obviously the result.

“So we had the beginning of an opening scene and what I felt would make a great and uplifting final song. Our job then was to fill in the middle bit."

First look at Only Fools And Horses The Musical cast ahead of stage comeback

The cast posing on stage at Theatre Royal Haymarket

Speaking about the challenges of finishing his dad’s work, he said: “Writing the musical was a big challenge. The world of Only Fools is so rich with characters and history; it spanned over two decades and included births, deaths and marriages.

"We wanted to stay faithful to the original material as much as possible, but without simply regurgitating it. The characters, plots and themes were already there, so it was a case of reweaving them, and within a slightly different timeline, into our story.”

The original TV series ran over seven series, 64 episodes and 16 specials, starring David Jason as Del Boy, Nicholas Lyndhurst as Rodney, Lennard Pearce as Grandad and Buster Merryfield as Uncle Albert.

First look at Only Fools And Horses The Musical cast ahead of stage comeback

They cast actors who can make the roles their own

It became arguably the most cherished sitcom this country has ever produced.

On casting the show, Jim added: ""Nobody could ever replace the original cast (especially the original trio of Sir David Jason, Nicholas Lyndhurst and Lennard Pearce) and so we haven’t been searching for mere look-a-likes or impressionists.

"It was important to us that we cast actors who can embrace the roles, but also make them their own. And the cast that we’ve put together is fantastic and will do just that."

* Only Fools and Horses The Musical opens at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 9 February. For tickets: onlyfoolsmusical.com

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