ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES: A tribute to Trigger

with Sunny Atwal (idea contributor)

Today the Half-Eaten Mind has penned a special tribute to the actor who played one of the stalwart characters of the hit Eighties comedy Only Fools and Horses, which has gained a cult following among fans and which is still held up as a memorable example of British comedy.

On Thursday 16th January Roger Lloyd Pack, who played the slow-witted roadsweeper Trigger in Only Fools, passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was aged 69. He was born in north London in 1944. His father, Charles Lloyd Pack was also an actor, and likewise his daughter, Emily Lloyd followed both her father and grandfather into the profession. Co-star David Jason who played the lovable and roguish oddjob trader Del Boy, paid his own tribute to Lloyd Pack, in an interview with BBC News. Jason described his friend and fellow actor as “a very quiet, kind and unassuming actor who was a pleasure to work with“.

Although he played the simple soul of Trigger in Only Fools and Horses, he was a very intelligent man and a very fine actor capable of many roles,” 

I shall remember him with fondness and for all the good times we had together.

Only Fools and Horses
Only Fools and Horses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nicholas Lyndhurst, who played Del Boy’s younger brother Rodney, said he was “so saddened to hear about Roger”.

He was the most accomplished actor and loved by millions. I will miss him greatly.

In addition to appearing in Only Fools and Horses, Lloyd Pack also made appearances in the role of Owen Newitt in the more recent BBC  comedy series The Vicar of Dibley, about the adventures of a female village vicar. He started his acting training at the renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) before making his stage début in the small English town of Northampton. From the stage he moved onto the silver screen, appearing in the crime drama The Avengers during the Sixties. His first significant full TV début came in 1968, when he played a small part in The Magus.

In 1981, Lloyd Pack joined the Only Fools team as the character Colin ‘Trigger’ Ball. Playing the role of a simple-minded but affable street sweeper, Trigger was notorious for continuously calling Rodney by the name ‘Dave’. “If it’s a girl they’re calling her Sigourney after an actress,” he said of Del Boy’s child-to-be. “And if it’s a boy they’re naming him Rodney, after Dave.” Other than Del Boy and Rodney, Trigger was the only character to appear in both the first and last episodes of the comedy series. Though he enjoyed the role and popularity of Trigger, Lloyd Pack found it difficult at times to cope with the fame. In one archived interview, he expressed bemusement about his popularity with audiences particularly with his face being so recognisable in public. People often came up to him in the street and spoke to him slowly, having confused him with Trigger. Lloyd Pack found that an annoying irritation, but he played the role with a heartfelt and sympathetic realism – and many feel he had made it a natural fit.

Lloyd Pack’s last appearance as Trigger was in 2003, when he reprised the role in a one-off Only Fools Christmas special. After the glory days of filming the hit show, which was set in the south London district of Peckham, he went on to star in a theatre rendition of the English playwright William Shakespeare’s plays Richard III and Twelfth Night at the Globe in London.

Trigger was a regular at the Nag’s Head pub in Peckham, along with old mate Del Boy and his long-suffering younger brother Rodney. Though a roadsweeper by trade legally, Trigger also liked to dabble in the illicit side of things, namely petty thefts and handling stolen goods, as well as informal trading over the pub table with a couple of lagers. Very slow-witted but well-meaning, Trigger was notorious for arriving late to jokes told by his mates. Rodney once thought that Trigger got his nickname due to being a hardened criminal in the past, but it later transpired that he got his his nickname from a legendary 1960’s racehorse who was stuffed for display after his demise.

Trigger speaks in a fairly slow, monotone voice, but he is loyal, friendly and kind. However, Trigger’s most noticeable trait is that he is stupid beyond belief, which is a source of much humour in the show, despite his remaining deadly serious in his delivery. Del has often commented on Trigger’s painfully low intelligence; “You could tell the state our school was in; Trigger was head boy.” Another example is in one episode, Del had relationship problems with Raquel and a very bad tooth. Whilst talking about the problems with Raquel, Trigger confused the subjects, advising him to just “get shot of it,” and proceeding to say, “I know what it’s like, you give ’em pet names, I’ve done it, but take my advice, go to the dentist and have it taken out.”

Trigger did not know his father and in all seriousness says “he died a couple of years before I was born” when Rodney asks of his whereabouts in the episode “Ashes to Ashes”. He was brought up by his grandparents, with his grandfather having also been a roadsweeper. When Trigger is pushed by Boycie to say who his mother had written down on the birth cerificate as Trigger’s father Trigger says, reluctantly, “Some soldiers”. Trigger is unsurprisingly not married, although he occasionally mentions past relationships during the series and is seen on a blind date with a woman in the 1988 Christmas special, Dates.

In the episode Heroes and Villains, Trigger wins an award for owning the same broom for 20 years. He reveals that it has had 17 new heads and 14 new handles, but insists it is still the same broom. This has given rise to the expression “Trigger’s broom” (the Ship of Theseus paradox).

On several occasions, however, despite his general stupidity, Trigger has displayed some moments of cleverness, given his smart remarks and rather intelligent way of explaining the situation of his pregnant niece in the episode The Frog’s Legacy.” (from Wikipedia)

In honour of both the actor and the character he became renowned for, the Half-Eaten Mind presents a video gallery of Trigger’s best moments. This is a celebration of Lloyd Pack’s acting prowess and his immense success in not only bringing Trigger to life but the fact that he developed a simple, slightly dubious character from the shadier side of town into a persona who became loved by millions.

While attending a tenants association meeting, Rodney tries to explain to Trigger that his name just is not Dave. Rodney then suddenly finds himself elected vice-chairman.

Del Boy and Trigger at the local pub, talking about ‘charming birds’. Rather than being a hit with the ladies however, Del Boy ends up hitting the bar floor.

Trigger attempts to flog some dodgy suitcase made from “olde English vinyl” to Del Boy over a pub table. Rodney isn’t having it. Also we find out the origins of Trigger’s nickname.

Rodney introduces Trigger to the finer kind of music.

Mike enlists Trigger to discover the name of Del’s baby. Classic comedy starring the late Roger Lloyd-Pack. 
Best known as the lovable Trigger in Only Fools and Horses, Roger Lloyd-Pack, has died aged 69. 

Trigger gets an Indian independence leader confused with an actor who plays him. Trigger at his ‘dopiest’ best.

“Roger Lloyd Pack, star of Only Fools and Horses, dies aged 69” – BBC News Entertainment and Arts, BBC (16 January 2014) LINK
“Trigger (Only Fools and Horses)” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. LINK
“My Name is Rodney! – Only Fools and Horses – BBC” – BBC Comedy Greats, YouTube GB (29 October 2009) LINK
“Del Boy Falls Through the Bar – Only Fools and Horses – BBC” – BBC Comedy Greats, YouTube GB (25 September 2009) LINK
“Trigger’s Dodgy Briefcases – Only Fools and Horses – BBC” – BBC Worldwide, YouTube GB (7 July 2010) LINK
“Only fools and horses – Mozart” – robthegob1, YouTube GB (21 February 2007) LINK
“If it’s a boy they’re naming him Rodney… – Only Fools and Horses – Series 7 – BBC Comedy Greats” – – BBC Comedy Greats, YouTube GB (17 January 2014) LINK
“Only Fools And Horses – Trigger and Gandhi” – SuperMWake2, YouTube GB (25 September 2011) LINK
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10 thoughts on “ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES: A tribute to Trigger

  1. EDITOR’S NOTE: The actor behind Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses, David Jason, was wrongly referred to as ‘David Frost’. The name has been corrected. Many thanks to S. Atwal for the correction (Amended 20/01/2014 – VS)


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