11 November 2015

Only Fools And Horses... ONLY Half-Brothers?

The Peckham Trotters in the 1980s. They bickered and fell out, they loved and supported each other - and Grandad watched two tellies at the same time. Just like any other family. Apart from that last bit.
I've had an interesting e-mail from Starvo. Here's an extract:

I know Only Fools... is one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, and that it began in the 1980's which you write about on here, but don't you think the revelation that Del and Rodney Trotter were only half-brothers spoiled it a bit? The writer had spent a lot of time building up a believable sibling relationship between the two lead characters, only to make a mockery of it with that. And it meant Rodney wasn't really related to Grandad at all. I felt let down.

Why did you, Starvo? I know a couple of "siblings" today who are "only" half-siblings, but they think the world of each other and have a better relationship than many full-siblings I know. Similarly, I know a "brother" and "sister" who are really only halves, but are unaware of the fact because according to their birth certificates they have the same father. And there are half-siblings in my family, too.

I think the "only" you use to describe the half-sibling bond between Del and Rodney is in a way quite sensible, after all they share half the same origins, not full, but in other ways it's quite odd because it implies that the relationship is less important than full-siblings. I don't believe that is often the case. When I wrote my Only Fools And Horses article on here, I didn't use "only" to describe the tie because Del and Rodney, I simply stated that they were actually half-brothers.

As for Grandad not being a blood relation of Rodney's, I suppose he wasn't. But he was still Rodney's grandad in every other way that mattered.

I think that was one of the greatest things about OFAH. The unity and love of the Trotter family, despite the fact that things were not quite as they might seem, and the situation not being as "respectable" as our squeaky clean 21st Century pundits might like it. Sometimes I think the attitudes of this century are far more old fashioned than the last.

Just a thought to leave you on: step-siblings and adopted siblings have no shared blood at all. Does that make the strong and very real sibling bonds that often exist between them any less real or important than blood-related full siblings? And if not, why did the revelation in OFAH that Del and Rodney were half-brothers make you think that it made a "mockery" of the close sibling relationship between the two?

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