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Sue Holderness, best known for her iconic role as Marlene in Only Fools and Horses, has opened up on her biggest tribulations behind the scenes of the show. The 73-year-old still has vivid memories of filming one episode, which left her co-star David Jason”feeling like death”.
Way back in 1985, a Christmas special, To Hull and Back, was broadcast – and she recalls it proved to be a very costly episode – both financially and physically.
Talking of how it took its toll on the cast, she recalled: “The BBC had to hire a boat and get an actor on the oil rig.
“Everyone felt sick and David was green and feeling like death!” she chortled while recalling the cast and crew’s intense seasickness.
“The director was nearly having a heart attack and the makeup artists were laughing their heads off!”
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She added that although special makeup effects had been used to turn David’s face green, these were barely necessary due to how acutely seasick he felt in real life.
“He looked terribly ill. The director was [encouraging him, saying] ‘Come on darling!’ and this went on for about ten minutes,” she recalled.
She was able to see the funny side of her experience, however, admitting that shooting her most famous scenes were often “very amusing”.
“David Jason is a good prankster – he was always up for a laugh!” she recalled fondly.
Another exhilarating experience for Sue involved a trip to Florida’s Everglades – but things went horribly wrong when she was almost attacked.
The producers had decided to incorporate an alligator into their filming session, planting a bowl of food to incite it to “run towards Del and Rodney”.
However, instead of stopping to eat the food, it ran past the bowl and towards Sue, leaving her “terrified” – and a quick thinking member of the production team had to clamp its jaws shut before it became tempted to snack on a human.
She now recalls it as the “craziest” episode she has ever filmed in her entire career in television, adding: “I was terrified!”
Even worse, Sue admitted that despite the potentially perilous lengths she went to behind the scenes, “at the time, [the episode] wasn’t well received”.
Near-death experiences with alligators are about as up close and personal as she is willing to get to wildlife and creepy-crawlies, however.
Sue revealed she has received numerous requests to appear on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! over the years – but has always declined.
“There isn’t enough money in the world to persuade me to do [that show],” she shuddered.
“The thought of those creepy crawlies! I’m a terrible wimp.”
The Madame Blanc Mysteries actress added: “It makes me queasy just thinking about it. I’ve always said I won’t do reality shows.
“I don’t think I’m really a reality show girl – I’d rather do acting.”
However, she admits she is a keen viewer of the ITV show, and is regularly glued to all the action from the Australian jungle each time that the season comes around.
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