Only Fools and Horses’ Sue Holderness suffered near alligator attack

John Challis: Sue Holderness recalls last meeting with co-star

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Sue Holderness, 73, was reliving her experiences on set and detailed all in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk. The acting legend had been flown to the USA to film a Christmas Special titled Miami Twice back in 1991 – but an encounter with a not-so-friendly alligator left her reeling in terror.

She described it as the “craziest” episode she had ever filmed, revealing that the cast had been taken to Florida’s Everglades, renowned for its fierce alligator population.

“It was very exciting, considering there were alligators, but they got quite close to me once, which was frightening,” she shuddered.

The producers decided to incorporate one into their filming session, planting a bowl of food to incite it to “run towards Del and Rodney”.

However, the experience didn’t quite go to plan, and Sue admitted: “I was terrified.”

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When the alligator was let off its leash, it seemingly hadn’t been hungry enough to be distracted by the food, and instead of stopping by the bowl it simply kept walking.

Sue recalled she was alone in the forest, as Del and Rodney had gone on ahead, leaving her within two feet of a menacing looking alligator.

Fortunately, a crew member acted fast to avert the danger by “grabbing its jaws shut”.

Even worse, Sue admitted despite the potentially perilous lengths she went to in order to film, “at the time, [the episode] wasn’t well received”.

Fortunately, she says the tables have since turned and “now people think of it as one of the most loved episodes”.

Meanwhile, in spite of her terrifying alligator encounter, Sue has warm and fond memories of her time on Only Fools and Horses – even though that wasn’t the only difficult encounter she remembered.

“[In one episode], the BBC had to hire a boat and get an actor on the oil rig,” she recalled.

However, everyone suffered a bout of terrible seasickness, with co-star David Jason “looking green and feeling like death”.

Away from sitcoms and onto reality television, the veteran actress revealed she has been asked to take part in an ITV favourite.

Sue said producers of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! “enquire most years” about whether she’ll take part.

In spite of their interest, she’s adamant that “nothing could persuade” her to join the campmates, even though she is often glued to the screen from the comfort of her home.

“There isn’t enough money in the world to persuade me to do I’m A Celebrity,” she declared.

“The thought of those creepy crawlies! I’m a terrible wimp.”

She 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.”

Sue is set to play the role of a wicked stepmother in the panto performance of Cinderella over the festive period.

She has formed a rapport with the two “ugly sisters” in the show and has admitted of the trio: “We’re terribly nasty!”

Sue channels the wicked stepmother in Cinderella at the Beck Theatre in Hayes, from now until December 31, courtesy of Imagine Theatre.

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