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Only Fools & Horses and Legend of King Arthur

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I’ve always liked Only Fools & Horses; some of the situations Del Boy and Rodney would get themselves into would have me in stitches. My favourite scene is the one in the pub, where Del Boy falls through the bar trying to look cool in front of the ladies. Such a classic!

Legend of King Arthur is a stamp only issue – I’ve always found the story to be a very interesting one.

We have a second retail booklet for the Queen issue that was released last year, coming out on 29th March, and two ‘stamp only’ issues – Classic Science Fiction (15th April) and War of the Roses (4th May). These will all be coming out together in May as they are small. Please get in touch with the office if you think you may want any extras!

I feel like we’ve actually had a bit of winter, what with the weather being cold and fresh (and dry for a short while!). We’ve even had snow and frost, which is what Winter is about! We’ve had some glorious mornings for invigorating walks too, but I do love curling up by the fire and watching a good film when that wind picks up and the rain keeps falling.

The days are getting longer as well; Spring definitely feels on it’s way and what with the vaccine roll-out being such a success, I do feel a lift in the mood; the future is certainly looking a bit more positive, which is what we really need to focus on at the moment!

In the meantime, keep collecting!

John Sullivan

Only Fools & Horses was always going to be a convincing comedy as creator, John Sullivan, was the real working-class deal. Sullivan was born in a tough part of Balham, South London, the son of a plumber and a charlady, in a little terraced house with an outdoor toilet at the tin bath hanging up in the backyard. Young John at first showed little interest in school, though he made good use of the imagination that would help him paint TV shows like Citizen Smith, Just Good Friends and Dear John. In return for cash, he concocted excuses for fellow pupils to tell teachers. But when a young Geordie English literature teacher called Jim Trowers arrived at John’s secondary school, his life was transformed.

Unconventional Trowers (he wore an eyepatch and would pretend to take his eyeball out and clean it) read literature to his pupils out loud, doing all the characters in different voices, mesmerising John and instilling in him a love of Dickens. The colourful personalities of David Copperfield for example, would inspire Sullivan to create smartly crafted characters and lively scripts where he began writing for the BBC in the 1970s.

Origins of the Legend

The claim that the legendary Arthur is based on an actual person is supported by the fact that ‘Arthur’ is a Welsh name derived from the Roman family name Artorius. The figure of Ambrosius Aurelianus, it is argued, could have had given name Artorius. Roman names had become common in Britain since the conquest under Claudius in 43 CE. According to the historians Gildas (c. 500-570 CE), Bede (672-735 CE) and Nennius (9th century CE) – as well as many others – the Saxon immigration was an invasion (a claim disputed by modern scholars) in which Britain was sacked and looted continually. At this time a great British leader appeared, rallied the people around him, and defeated the Saxons at the Battle of Badon Hill. This hero was called Ambrosius Aurelianus, by Gildas and Bede, and Arthur by Nennius, who was the first historian to mention his name. Arthur already seems to have been well known before Nennius’ work.

The Welsh poem Y Goddodin, an elegy for the warriors who fell at the Battle of Catraeth in 600 CE, refers to him by name as a great hero. Although extant manuscripts date only from the 13th century CE, the work is thought to have been composed shortly after the battle. It is clear from the preface to History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1100 – c. 1155 CE) that Arthur was regarded as a great king by his time; but Geoffrey’s work would elevate him to mythical status.

Did you know….?

  • Sullivan, like Del Boy, had worked in the markets, and was influenced by the characters he grew up around. He based Del on a cockney called Chicky Stocker, who sported plenty of rings on his fingers and always had a roll of readies to peel off in the pub and buy a round, just as in the show’s, The Nag’s Head.
  • The title, Only Fools and Horses, short for ‘only fools and horses work’, nodded to the dodgy geezers Sullivan had witnessed selling hooky gear – they’d rather make a mint as traders than
    sweat in a factory or office.
  • Sullivan got the idea of ‘lovely jubbly’ from ‘lubbly Jubbly’, an add slogan for the orange ‘frozen drink’ called Jubbly.
  • In the late 12th century, French author, Chrétien de Troyes, introduced the popular motif of courtly love between a married woman, Arthur’s wife Guinevere, and Lancelot, the king’s best
    knight.
  • 11th-century author, Geoffrey of Monmouth, wrote The History of the Kings of Britain, where Monmouth describes Arthur’s life from his birth up to his death.
  • King Arthur supposedly killed Mordred, his son. Mordred fatally wounded Arthur in the same fight.
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