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A Losing Streak

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Episode no.  Series 2 Episode 3
Written by  John Sullivan
Directed by  Ray Butt
Produced by  Ray Butt
A Losing Streak
Original air date  4 November 1982 (7.5 million viewers)
Running time  30:32 (DVD) / 30:31 (iTunes)

"A Losing Streak" is the third episode of series 2 of the BBC sitcom, Only Fools and Horses. It was first broadcast on 4 November 1982. The episode title was a pun on the term "winning streak". In the episode, Del Boy plays a high-stakes game of poker with Boycie. Also, this is the only episode in the series in which Boycie serves as an antagonist.



Del Boy, Rodney, and Grandad are making cheap perfume just to earn money after Del has been losing most of his in a series of poker games with Boycie, which Del attributes to a "losing streak". Grandad shows Del a double-headed coin that he got off a Scottish man during the war, and advises Del to use it against Boycie. Grandad clearly remembers the story behind the coin as if it were only yesterday. According to him, the man said: "I want you to have something to remember me by, Trotter. Take me lucky coin." Then, he went (as in the Scottish man deserted, not died as Del thought).

Later, at The Nag's Head, the Trotter Brothers and Trigger talk about Del's bad luck until Boycie walks in. Del challenges him to a winner-takes-all poker game at 8:30pm at Nelson Mandela House, much to Rodney's chagrin. But first, Del and Boycie have a bet on the next customer who walks in ordering a pint or not. A large Irishman enters and orders a dry Martini and a slim line tonic, thus costing Del another £20. Del tries to get his money back by flipping the double-headed coin for it, but Boycie calls heads.

Del explains to Rodney the reason why he has to play the poker game tonight: Rodney does not remember the day their father Reg left home after their mother Joan died, because he was only a small infant at the time. Del came home that evening and found that Reg had packed his bags and gone for good. He left them with nothing, and even opened Rodney's piggy bank. The only thing that Reg did not get was the money Joan had left her sons, because Del hid it too well. And it was Del's birthday; Reg even took his cake. From that day forward, Del swore that he would never run away from anything in his life, and that is why he has to play the poker game with Boycie later tonight. Rodney understands it all eventually and goes off to get more stake money for his older brother by returning empty bottles to the shop.

At 8:30pm in Nelson Mandela House, Del has everything set up for the poker game. Grandad reluctantly lends Del some money to put up during the game. Rodney tells his family that Boycie and Trigger have arrived. Del and Boycie flip a coin to decide whose pack of cards they will use. Del flips the double-headed coin and Boycie calls heads again. So they use Boycie's cards. Throughout the evening, Boycie easily overcomes both Del and Trigger with his marked cards.

As Trigger pulls out, Del and Boycie agree to a no-limits game, and Boycie seemingly trumps Del with a bet of £1000. Del wagers all his jewellery, Trigger's car (which Boycie had sold to him), the stereo, the TVs, and everything in the flat just to see Boycie's cards. Boycie reveals that he has four Kings, while Del has only got two pairs. As Boycie prepares to leave, Del reminds him that according to the rules, all cards must be shown before the winnings are collected. Boycie agrees, and Del shows everyone else that he has in fact got two pairs of Aces, giving him a winning hand. The dialogue between Del and Boycie then runs thus:

Boycie: (Through gritted teeth) "Well done, Del. Nicely played. Where did you get those bloody Aces from?"

Del: "Same place you got them Kings. I knew you was cheating, Boycie."

Boycie: "Oh yeah? How?"

Del: "'Cos that wasn't the hand that I dealt you."

With that said, Del and Rodney begin collecting up the money. As Boycie prepares to leave defeated, Rodney convinces Del that he is now on a winning streak, so Del decides to flip a coin with Boycie for £200, but with Rodney calling for him. Rodney, forgetting about the double-headed coin, calls tails, leaving Boycie with the last laugh.

Episode concept

The idea for the script was based on John Sullivan's father's gambling sessions.


A Losing Streak Wikipedia

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