A co-production with the BBC, Rock & Chips is a bitter-sweet comedy-drama telling the story of the Trotter family before we first met them in Only Fools and Horses. Beginning in 1960, Kellie Bright plays Joan Trotter – Peckham’s answer to Bridget Bardot. Stuck in a loveless marriage with work-shy Reg (Shaun Dingwall), Joan is holding down two part-time jobs in order to feed her family including her recently moved in father-in-law Ted (Phil Daniels).
Her only escape is the movies, working as an usherette at the Ritz cinema with her best friend, Reenie, where she loses herself in the glamour of the silver screen – and does her best to avoid her manager Mr Raynor’s (Robert Daws) very ‘hands on’ approach to uniform inspections. Before long she finds the excitement and passion she longs for when she meets and falls for ‘gentleman’ villain, Freddy ‘The Frog’ Robdal (Nicholas Lyndhurst), who is back in Peckham after a stay at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.
Meanwhile a teenage Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter (James Buckley) and his mates Boycie, Trigger, Denzil, Jumbo and Albie are stepping out onto the pathway of life: birds, dodgy deals and the dream of one day becoming millionaires!
When Peckham’s finest second-hand car trader, Boycie (John Challis) learns that the dreaded Driscoll Brothers (Roy Marsden and Chris Ryan) have ‘somehow’ got it into their heads that he grassed them up to the police, he has little choice but to go on the run. Fancying himself in the role of country squire, he drags long suffering wife, Marlene (Sue Holderness) and teenage son, Tyler (Jack Doolan), to the wilds of Shropshire and their new home, Winterdown Farm.
But any notion of their new life being all country fairs and fox hunts quickly evaporates when they realise that they have also taken on the local yokels that are the farm’s staff: Elgin “farm manager” Sparrowhawk (David Ross), unlucky-in-love herdsman Brian (Ivan Kaye), simple-minded crops man Jed (Peter Heppelthwaite) and housekeeper and village gossip, Mrs Cakeworthy (Ella Kenion). On top of this things get off to a less than perfect start with their new neighbour, patriotic Welshman, Llewellyn (Alan David.) Will Boycie ever fit in with the landed gentry? Will Marlene ever get used to the ‘unnaturally’ quiet country nights? Will the Driscoll brothers ever catch up with them? And will Mrs Cakeworthy ever actually do any housework?