|“||Oh yeah. The bloke what walked the plank. I was always the bloke what walked the plank wasn't I? I must have been in and out of that pond more times than a duck's head. I always wanted to be Bluebeard.||„|
|~ Roy Slater|
DCI Roy Slater is a recurring antagonist in the TV sitcom Only Fools and Horses. A childhood associate of Derek 'Del Boy' Trotter, Slatter only appeared in three episodes of the original series ("May the Force Be With You", "To Hull and Back" and "The Class of 62"), as well as two episodes from the prequel trilogy Rock & Chips. He is, however, considered one of a very few true villains in the show and was Del's archenemy.
He was portrayed by Jim Broadbent, who would go on to play another policeman Frank Butterman in Hot Fuzz.
Very little is known about Slater's childhood except the fact that he and Del were old school enemies. He used to play with Del and Trigger at a pond where he used to be "the bloke that walked the plank." and described himself as "being in and out of that pond more times than a duck's head" He always wanted to be Bluebeard which Del and the others only let him be at the time he had to walk the plank. He was one of Trigger's victim's who tried to pour itching powder on his belly button but Slater repaid Del's act of kindness by snitching to the headteacher that Del had been with his sister.
Rock & Chips
Set around February to November 1960, Slater was a Prefect at the Martin Luther King Comprehensive School. He was in the same class as Del and wanted to be a member of Del's gang, but since he was always trying to keep them out of trouble, this resulted in a strain on his friendship with them. Despite this, the other boys did invite Slater on the very first Jolly Boys' Outing in June, where Albie Littlewood and Jumbo Mills tricked him into taking drugs, lying that they were breath fresheners to attract girls. At a halfway house, Slater danced until he passed out from the effects of the drugs, and Del and the others left him behind, only picking him up on the way back.
Five Gold Rings
Slater showed up at the market to tell Del and friends that he had left school to become a police cadet. Slater arrested Del and Jumbo for selling illegal American records but was snubbed by Sgt. Foster, who just kept the records for himself and let Del and Jumbo off without a warning.
Between Rock & Chips and Only Fools and Horses
In the intervening years, Slater rose through the ranks of the police-force, eventually becoming a Detective Inspector. Slater exploited his position and its associated power to repeatedly get revenge on his old schoolmates, who he did not forgive for their mistreatment of him. He had them and several other people arrested on false charges repeatedly throughout his career. Private Hoskins later told Del Boy that the only people who hated Slater more than the criminals were the police themselves.
Slater was feared and hated by anyone and everyone, including his own father Harry who Slater arrested for having a faulty light on his bicycle (one he had ironically borrowed from Roy himself). Those he did not arrest were forced to become his informants, with Del revealing to Rodney that Slater didn't just have a few grasses, he had an entire lawn of them. These people were kept firmly under thumb with the knowledge that they would be killed if Slater revealed their connection to him. As such, anyone associated with Slater was very cautious and wary of him.
Although estranged from his family, Slater did marry the actor Rachel "Raquel" Turner, but they separated at some point in the 1980s because he didn't support her acting career. He would later divorce her at some point after Class of 62.
May the Force Be With You
In his first appearance, Slater is now a Detective Inspector for the Peckham police force. After Rodney bumps into him he quietly threatens him with arrest before proceeding to intimidate both Trigger and Boycie. Revealing that he is looking for a stolen microwave, he later tricks Rodney into taking him to meet Del Boy at his house claiming to be an old school friend. Upon discovering Slater in his house, Del is understandably horrified and when they are in private he angrily explains to Rodney that Slater is anything but an old mate.
Thanks in no small part to Grandad's obliviousness, Slater discovers the suspicious looking microwave at Del's house. He lets the group think they have gotten away with it but one the way out he puts the entire Trotter family under arrest. At the police station, Slater reveals that Boycie is selling pirate videotapes and before the interrogation, he and Del have a conversation about their childhood.
Whilst Slater is questioning Rodney and Grandad, his colleague PC Terrence Hoskins advises Del to just tell Slater the truth, as he has no scruples and will try anything to make Del give him the truth. Hoskins points out that the police actually hate Slater more than the criminals. Upon returning, Slater validates this as he promptly sends Hoskins away before informing Del that he knows about Rodney's drug conviction. This understandably makes Del nervous as Slater makes it very clear that unless Del complies, he will plant drugs on Rodney. This coupled with the results of the investigation would mean that Del and Rodney go to with prison for a very long time. Slater also hints that their vulnerable Grandad would be left alone on the estate with nobody to protect him (implying Slater would send thugs after him).
At this, Del summarises Slater's character in one of the show's legendary poignant moments:
"Now listen to me, Slater. I know a lot of coppers and they're all good blokes. I mean, I don't like 'em or nothing, but they play a fair game. And then there's you, you dirty, stinking..."
Slater warns Del to watch his tongue as he may have to add abusive and vituperative language to his ever-growing list of offences, which include receiving stolen goods and attempting to bribe a police officer. Before Slater can have a chance to type up the charges, Del stops him and agrees to make a deal. If Del is granted immunity from prosecution, and Rodney and Grandad are allowed to go free, he will agree to become of Slater's informants. Slater is pleased with this knowing that if Del ever stepped out of line, Slater will tell every one of Del's betrayal. Revelling in this knowledge Slater gets it organised straight away.
In the end, this is revealed to be a trick, however. Once the immunity is signed, and there is no chance of a conviction, Del smugly confesses to stealing the microwave. Slater can only gawk as a smirking Del shows his immunity from prosecution in triumph.
To Hull and Back
Slater returns as the main antagonist in the Christmas special To Hull and Back. His mother appeared in this episode as a friend of Uncle Albert and was seen talking to him about her son. She mentioned that her husband, Harry's, estrangement with their son had not improved.
Roy has subsequently become involved in a diamond smuggling operation based in Hull. Facing forced retirement, he spends the episode trying to hunt down the diamond smuggling activities (which Del and Rodney are involved in as they desperately need the money). After cornering Del at the market, he tells both him and Rodney that he knows that Boycie and Abdul are the money men but doesn't know who the courier is, which just so happens to be Del himself. Following the Trotters arriving back from Amsterdam with the diamonds, Slater and his men corner them, at a pub. Talking to them alone Slater offers to cut them loose and just take the diamonds for himself. However, Del realises there is something very fishy going on here since Slater knows too much about the diamonds and the people involved. He then deduces that it was him who organised the smuggling operation in the first place. Slater confirms this revealing he and Van Cleaf (the Dutchman who supplies the diamonds) are in a partnership, and through this method, they get paid at both ends with no risks.
Not able to do anything the men reluctantly give Slater the diamonds (though Del had in fact substituted two of them for the cat's eyes in his ring) and leaves. However, it is then revealed the police were fully aware of his illegal activities and now have him with evidence. Slater tries to bribe Hoskins into helping him get out of trouble, but when Hoskins reveals he is wearing a wire, Slater realises he is done for. In the end, both he and Van Clef are imprisoned.
The Class Of '62
In his final appearance, Slater, now out of prison and retired from the police force, appears to have taken the role of an undertaker and says the police force wouldn't let him back in. It is revealed that he was bullied whilst in prison and that his relationship with his family has not improved. Roy reveals that his father, Harry, died whilst Slater was still in custody.
Although Slater wanted to attend his funeral (just so that he could get out of prison for a short while and not out of genuine affection), his mother or the "the old cow" as Slater now describes her wrote to the prison Governor and instructed them, not to let Roy out.
Never the less, it appears at first that his time in prison may have done Roy some good, as he appears to be a completely different character following his release. He stages a class reunion with Del and his school pals to get with them and tries to build bridges between his former foes. However, in true Slater fashion, this is revealed to be a farce as he is now searching for Del's love interest Raquel Turner who was once married to him.
Upon his reunion with Raquel, Slater begins blackmailing and extorting Del, threatening to reveal that Raquel was once his wife which would ruin Del's reputation and leave him unable to trade, severely damaging the Trotters already scare finances. However, Del finds out his plans to get her to sign a prenuptial agreement, so he won't lose anything when he sells the diamonds he managed to hide away before his arrest and which the police know nothing about. Armed with this knowledge, Del and Rodney defeat Slater at his own game, by bluffing that they have copied the evidence and are more than willing to send this information to the police. Cornered, Slater tries to cut a deal but Del bluntly tells him he's not interested in a financial bribe.
Instead, he tells Slater to grant Raquel a divorce then demands that he leave Peckham forever and never return. He also tells Roy that if he dares breath a word about his and Raquel's marriage, they will spill all and Slater will be sent back to prison (once he's left Del explains to Rodney that there is no need for a deal, as once Raquel divorces Slater, they will still get half of the money he makes regardless).
Slater, of course, doesn't realise that he has been had. Utterly defeated Roy Slater gets up and leaves at Del and Rodney's prompting, never to be seen or heard from again.
- Slater is in many ways Del's opposite, whereas Del does break minor laws (such as dealing in dodgy or even stolen goods) he has a strict moral constitution, is a loveable rogue and never crosses any serious lines, Slater, on the other hand, is a high up police officer, however he is a corrupt and petty bully who abuses his power and uses it to intimidate others. Another difference is Del is a mostly larger than life character who acts silly and extravagant but is really a quick-witted, very cunning and highly caring man, while Slater is a cold, uncaring and arrogant man, who underneath it all isn't as smart as he thinks he is. Del is by and large loved by his family, whereas Slater is hated by his family, especially his father, as demonstrated by the fact while he was imprisoned his mother wrote to the Governor asking him not to let her son out for his father's funeral. As well as this Del is a highly popular man being friends with Trigger, Denzil, Boycie and Mike whereas Slater is a highly unpopular man who was bullied at school, disliked by his colleagues and even bullied at the prison by the wardens.