Only Fools And Horses ‘met Hitler before World War Two’

A star of Only Fools and Horses met Adolf Hitler before the Second World War but missed out on the chance to shoot him down.

It sounds like the far-fetched war-time yarn of lovable seadog Uncle Albert, but in fact this tale belongs to the actor famous for playing his brother.

Lennard Pearce, who starred as Granddad for 23 episodes of Only Fools, met Hitler during the late 1930s, while touringGermany as a young actor.

Lennard Pearce (right), who starred as Granddad for 23 episodes of Only Fools and Horses, met Hitler during the late 1930s, while touring Germany as a young actor

Pearce’s career saw him enjoy roles on-stage and the small screen, but for viewers across the country he will always be known as the elderly, chandelier-smashing member of the Trotter clan.

However, before he took his place on Delboy’s battered sofas in Nelson Mandela House, he trod the boards in theatres across Britain and Europe.

It was on such a tour that he experienced his brush with Hitler.

He later relayed the incredible chance meeting to Only Fools co-star, Nicholas Lyndhurst, who famously played his on-screen grandson, Rodney Trotter.

Lyndhurst said: ‘He was a young actor touring Europe and they were playing some German city and the Nazis walked in.

‘The top honchos of the Nazi party had seen the play and came to congratulate them ­afterwards. Lennard shook hands with Adolf Hitler.

Nicholas Lyndhurst, David Jason and Lennard Pearce as Rodney, Del and Granddad Trotter in Only Fools and Horses

Adolf Hitler

Left, Pearce with Nicholas Lyndhurst and David Jason in Only Fools, years after he met Adolf Hitler while touring Germany

‘He only ever told me once, but he said, ‘Had I known then what I know now, I would have drawn the pistol from one of the bodyguards and I’d have done my best to kill him.’

Steve Clark, author of Only Fools and Horses – The Official Inside Story, added: ‘We’re used to hearing Uncle Albert’s stories about his rather dubious wartime service in the navy, but it’s incredible that Lennard Pearce actually met Hitler during his rise to power and could have put a stop to him before he was able to do so much evil.’

Pearce died from heart-attack in between filming of the fourth season of the nation’s favourite sitcom, aged 69, in December 1984.

His passing was one of five deaths on the show, others included creator John Sullivan, Roger Lloyd Pack, who played Trigger, Buster ­Merryfield, who replaced Pearce as Uncle Albert, and Mike the landlord star Kenneth MacDonald. 

Lyndhurst reveals Pearce’s brush with Hitler, on Tuesday in The Story of Only Fools and Horses, on Gold.