ONLY Fools and Horses fans flocked to Basildon to get up close and personal with their favourite characters.

Sue Holderness and John Challis, best known for playing on screen couple Boycie and Marlene, hostedameet and greet weekend at the Eastgate Centre.

Fans queued for hours to pose for photos with the stars and snap up autographs and personalised messages.

Paul Allen brought along his iconic yellow three-wheel van, which was used by the Trotter brothers during filming, and a range of memorabilia was up for grabs.

There was also a chance to recreate the famous smashed chandelier scene.

Andrew and Vicky Osbourne, from Langdon Hills, who bare an uncanny resemblance to Boycie and Marlene, jumped at the chance to meet car salesman Boycie and glamorous wife Marlene.

Mr Osbourne, 60, said: “We used to work away in Serbia and Croatia a lot and I always used to get called Boycie.

“It’s amazing howpopular the show is all over the world.

“It’s the first time we’ve met them but we couldn’t miss it when we knew they were coming to Basildon, and they were both so lovely.”

Superfan Martin Connor, 29, from Stanford-le-Hope, owns every episode of Only Fools and Horses on DVD despite not being bornwhen the show first started in 1981.

He said: “I was so nervous I thought I was going to be sick, it’s not very often you get to meet your idols.”

Mrs Holderness, 65, was impressed with the turnout at the shopping centre.

She said: “We don’t do very many of these shows but when we do the thing which sticks with me is how many young people come along.

“People of all ages and backgrounds love Only Fools and Horses because it’s about families and real life and stories which everyone can relate to.

“It’s great to be a part of it still. It’s been very good to us as a job, and I just love Marlene.”

Mr Challis, 71, who has turned his acting talent to stage work, said: “It doesn’t matter howgood we do in anything else, we will always be remembered for Only Fools and Horses.

“When I first started doing the show I knew it was funny but I had no idea it was going to be such a hit.

“It just seemed so ‘London’ to me it didn’t occur to me how far it would reach, but I think everyone knows someone who reminds them of one of the characters.”