Only Fools and Horses "Hole in One" (lost Lennard Pearce version of British sitcom episode; 1984)
Only Fools and Horses original cast; from left to right: Rodney Trotter (Nicholas Lyndhurst), Del Boy (David Jason) and Grandad (Lennard Pearce).
Only Fools and Horses is a British sitcom created and written by John Sullivan, featuring David Jason as Derek "Del Boy" Trotter, Nicholas Lyndhurst as his younger brother Rodney and Lennard Pearce as their Grandad. Pearce died in 1984, and his character was replaced by Uncle Albert, played by Buster Merryfield. It was voted Britain's Best Sitcom in a 2004 BBC poll.
Pearce was 66 when he started acting on Only Fools and Horses and was diagnosed with critical hypertension. He played Grandad from the first series to the third. Production for the fourth series started in 1984. The first episode to be shot was called "Hole in One". Pearce had already shot some of the scenes when, on December 12th, he suffered a heart attack. He was hospitalized and recovered a little; during this time, he was visited by director John Sullivan, which assured him that he would reprise his role as Grandad once he got out. Unfortunately, three days later, December 15th, 1984, he suffered a second heart attack and passed away. Sullivan, Jason, and Lyndhurst were, reportedly, devastated by the news.
Sullivan wrote two new episodes, "Happy Returns" and "Strained Relations", in which Grandad passed away and his character was replaced by Uncle Albert. "Hole in One" was eventually recycled as the third episode of the series and as such aired-on March 7th, 1985. All the scenes shot by Pearce were re-shot with Merryfield's character instead. The original footage has never been transmitted and is not commercially available. Curiously, the character replacement created some plot holes which are not adequately explained in the episode.