The Most Memorable Ladder Scenes from Classic TV Comedies

The Most Memorable Ladder Scenes from Classic TV Comedies

20th February 2020

Some of our favourite television shows have used ladders to add some drama and fun to their episodes. The following are some unforgettable moments where the characters get into problems while using a ladder.

Only Fools and Horses – A Crashing Chandelier

The Trotter family moved into the chandelier-cleaning business in A Touch of Glass, the final episode of season 2. By this point, it was a much-loved series and 10 million viewers tuned in to see this classic episode in December 1982. Overall, it is the most watched British TV series of all time.

After careful preparation, Rodney and Del climb ladders at either side of the chandelier, holding out a sheet to catch the valuable heirloom. Meanwhile, Grandad unscrews the chandelier from the floor above. What could possibly go wrong?

The problem was that they put their ladders next to the wrong Louis XIV chandelier. Grandad sends the other one crashing to the floor while the hapless brothers can only look on helplessly.

Fawlty Towers – Basil Takes a Fall

The second episode of the second series was called "The Psychiatrist". In it, Basil is determined to find out whether a young male guest has sneaked a woman into his room. 

Things start to go wrong when he climbs up a ladder to take a sneaky look inside the man’s room. He chooses the wrong window and ends up staring at a couple in their room. He starts tapping the window to try and explain his presence, before falling backwards to the ground.

To make things worse, Manuel’s mangled English makes Basil’s wife, Sybil, think that he was climbing the ladder to spy on an attractive Australian guest. It was aired in February 1979 and remains one of the best-remembered episodes of the comedy.

Moonlighting – Maddie Gets Stuck on a Ladder

This detective show is perhaps best remembered now for launching Bruce Willis’ career. However, the mixture of sharp dialogue and its balance between comedy and drama made it hugely popular at the time.

The pilot shows Maddie climbing a clock and getting stuck there as the hands move around. David rescues her by raising a ladder. Unfortunately it isn’t a fixed access ladder and things go wrong when it topples over and leaves her dangling.

The incredible popularity of Moonlighting led to 60 million viewers watching the second to last episode of the third season. It was also nominated by the Directors Guild of America for both the Best Drama and Best Comedy categories.

Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em – Frank Gets Stranded Up a Tree

Luckless Frank Spencer gets up to some crazy stunts in this show, with Michael Crawford famously carrying out the dangerous stunts himself. Up to 25 million viewers would tune in each week to see what mishaps he would get involved in.

One of the best episodes was called Love Thy Neighbour. Shown in March 1973 as part of the first series, it showed Frank making his neighbour’s life a misery. At the end, he locks himself out of his own house and needs to borrow his neighbour’s ladder. 

As expected, it ends badly as Frank loses his balance and ends up stuck in a tree. This comes in behind only the classic roller-skating scene among the show’s iconic moments.