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Actor Roger Lloyd-Pack dies aged 69

Roger Lloyd-Pack has died at the age of 69. Picture: AFP

Roger Lloyd-Pack has died at the age of 69. Picture: AFP

  • by CRAIG BROWN
 

Fellow actors from the television sit-com Only Fools And Horses led tributes to Roger Lloyd-Pack, known to millions for his role as the amiable Trigger, who has died at the age of 69.

Sir David Jason said he was not only a very fine actor but “a pleasure to work with”, while Nicholas Lyndhurst said he was loved by millions, adding: “I will miss him greatly.”

Lloyd-Pack, whose other memorable portrayals included another slow-witted role as farmer Owen Newitt in The Vicar Of Dibley, died in London on Wednesday.

His agent, Maureen Vincent, said he had pancreatic cancer and “died at home surrounded by his family”.

John Challis, best known as Boycie in Only Fools, said: “I spoke to Roger two days ago. Roger said it was a bit awkward to talk at that particular moment. It is very sad and very distressing.

“My thoughts are with his family. He was a remarkable man and he’ll be missed. Roger is irreplaceable. It’s a very sorry day.”

Father Ted creator Graham Linehan was among those paying tribute online.

He said: “Very sad news about Roger Lloyd Pack. Trigger was an ancestor to Father Dougal and I’m glad I once had a chance to tell him so.”

Lloyd-Pack’s lugubrious delivery and rubbery face made him an ideal fit for television comedy roles. But he also played an incredible variety of roles during a television, film and stage career which began in the 1960s.

Lloyd-Pack was regarded by colleagues as a gifted professional in productions as varied as pantomimes, police drama The Bill, and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, as well as appearing in box office hits such as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy.

However, it was his portrayal of the dim-witted road-sweeper Trigger that made him a household name.

But the actor once expressed frustration with the public’s embracing of his comedy persona. In a 2012 interview, he said: “People will never stop shouting ‘Trigger!’ at me in the street. The other day I jumped some lights on my bike because someone was hollering at me. A police van pulled me over, and when I stopped they also shouted, ‘Trigger!’. It can be very annoying.”

The actor attributed Only Fools And Horses’ abiding popularity to the skills of its writer, John Sullivan.

“It was a wonderful series to be part of and it’s astonishing the way it’s continued to live on – more than 30 years after we first started recording it,” he said.

His success as a comedy actor was at odds with Lloyd-Pack’s early ambitions. He recalled: “I started off my trade with the Royal Shakespeare Company in my early days and I always thought when I went to drama school I would be a Shakespearian actor. That’s what I had in mind.

“But you don’t have much control over your career as an actor, very few actors do and I went down the comedy route.”

Outside of acting, he was politically active and a prominent campaigner for left-wing causes in London. Lloyd-Pack’s daughter Emily shot to fame in the 1987 film Wish You Were Here before stepping back from the limelight after struggling with health issues.

Here are some of Trigger’s best moments:

When Del Boy bursts into the toilet of the Nag’s Head in some distress after discovering he may be a father. Trigger, who is in the toilets at the time, mistakes the reason for Del’s anxiety.

Trigger: Alright, Del Boy?

Del: No, I am not alright, Trig. I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I just don’t know what I’m gonna do.

Trigger: Hang on Del, leave it to me.

Trigger begins banging on a closed toilet door

Trigger: Come on, hurry up! We’ve got an emergency out here!

• During a conversation down the pub with Rodney, or as Trigger would say, Dave, they get on to naming celebrities whose fame has proved short-lived as - Trig attempts to add Gandhi’s name to the list...

Rodney: People become famous for a little while then they disappear. Like Renee and Renato...Simon Dee...

Trigger:...Or Gandhi.

Rodney: Yeah, yeah exactly. See, so maybe this time, it’s our...Gandhi?!

Trigger: Yeah. I mean, he made one great film and then you never saw him again.

• Under the experienced stewardship of wannabe lothario Del Boy, Trigger finds himself in a bar attempting to “play it cool” to impress the ladies. Unfortunately Trigger’s wingman suffers a fall, leaving the hapless road sweeper seemingly abandoned.

Del Boy spies two women looking at him from across the room

Del: I think we’re on a winner here, Trig.

A waiter lifts the bar flap where Del is standing.

Del: Play it nice and cool, son. Nice and cool, you know what I mean.

Del goes to lean on the bar, falls flat on his back, leaving a confused Trigger wondering where he went.

• As Mike, the landlord of the Nag’s Head, calls a toast to Cassandra and Rodney on the news of her pregnancy, Trigger’s voice stands alone...

Mike: Ladies and Gentleman, will you please raise your glasses to our future mum and dad, Cassandra and Rodney!

All: Cassandra and Rodney

Trigger, with a slight delay: Cassandra and Dave...

• During a conversation about their schooldays, the boys probe Trigger about his time at school when he banged his head on a sign which read Mind Your Head. When asked if he saw the sign prior to banging his head, Trig answers with all the eloquence and rationality the viewers came to expect from him.

Uncle Albert: How did you walk into a mind your head sign? Didn’t you see it?

Trigger: Of course I saw it. But in those days, I couldn’t read.

• In Trigger’s first scene in the classic sitcom, the reason behind his poor luck in business is soon identified by a shrewd Del Boy as negotiations take place over the sale of briefcases.

Trigger: Alright then, 14.

Del: 14? Leave it out. 5.

Trigger: 12.

Del: 6

Trigger: 10

Del: 9

Trigger: 8

Del: Done.

• A rare moment alone together allows Rodney to raise the question of exactly why Trigger has always called him Dave. Shocked at the news that Rodney is not in fact called Dave, Trigger says he will remember for the future. But how long will his memory last?

Rodney: Why do you call me Dave, Trig? My name’s not Dave, it’s Rodney.

Trigger: Are you sure?

Rodney: Yes, I’ve checked it on my birth certificate and everything, its definitely Rodney.

Trigger: So what’s Dave, a nickname like?

Rodney: No, you’re the only person who calls me Dave, everybody else calls me Rodney - and the reason they call me Rodney is because Rodney is my name.

Trigger: Well, I shall have to get used to calling you Rodney from now on.

Rodney: Thank you.

Trigger: How long are you going to be, Baz? Me and Dave haven’t got all day.

Rodney: Rodney!

Trigger: Yeah, yeah.

• When Trigger volunteers to help Del Boy dispose of some hazardous substances, a late-night trip to the rubbish tip does not go quite as planned.

Del: You said this place was open 24 hours a day!

Trigger: Yeah, but not at night.

• As Del Boy recalls tales of his youth as a budding footballer, Trigger gives the conversation a Mediterranean twist...

Del: We had Denzil in goal, we had Monkey Harris at right-back, we had...we had camaraderie.

Trigger: Was that the Italian boy?

• Having received a medal from the council, Rodney and Del quiz Trigger in Sid’s cafe about why exactly he has been given the award in the first place.

Rodney: So what exactly was the award for?

Trigger: For saving the council money. I happened to mention to her one day that I’ve had the same broom for the last 20 years. She was very impressed and said ‘have a medal’. Twenty years. It’s a long time, Dave.

Rodney: Yeah. Well it’s two decades, isn’t it.

Trigger: Well I wouldn’t go that far but it’s a long time.

Del Boy: Trig, just a second. If you’ve had that broom for 20 years, have you actually swept any roads with it?

Trigger: Of course. But I look after it well. We have an old saying that’s been handed down by generations of road sweepers: ‘Look after your broom’.

Rodney: And your broom will look after you...?

Trigger: No, Dave. It’s just ‘look after your broom’.

Rodney: Ah, that old saying.

Trigger: Yeah, and that’s what I’ve done. I’ve maintained it for 20 years. This old broom has had 17 new heads and 14 new handles in its time.

Sid: How the hell can it be the same bloody broom then?

Trigger: Well here’s a picture of it, what more proof do you need?

• When discussing baby names for the impending birth of Rodney and Cassandra’s child, Trigger fails to spot his own mistake.

Trigger: If it’s a girl they’re gonna name it Sigourney, after the actress. And if it’s a boy they’re gonna name him Rodney, after Dave.

• Trigger’s distinct lack of understanding of classical music comes to the fore in an exchange with the two Peckham brothers.

Trigger: What you up to Dave?

Rodney: I’m listening to Mozart’s Concerto No.5 in D-Minor.

Trigger: No words to this song Dave?

Rodney: No Trigger, it’s an instrumental.

Del Boy: Alright Trigger? What you doing?

Trigger: I’m listening to Mozart’s Concerto No.5 in D-Minor.

Del Boy: Okay.

Trigger: It’s the karaoke version.

• After Rodney and Del Boy burst into the middle of a wake yelling, spraying silly string everywhere, dressed as Batman and Robin and singing the theme tune, they quickly learn that the fancy dress party has been cancelled. A conversation with Trigger shortly after reveals they weren’t the only one unaware of the cancellation...

Rodney: We didn’t know the fancy dress had been cancelled.

Trigger: Me neither.

Rodney: You mean, that’s your costume?

Trigger: Yeah. I came as a chauffeur. I feel a bit stupid now.

Rodney: Yeah, you do stand out.

• When a wary Rodney first meets Trigger, he thinks his nickname may come from something sinister.

Rodney: Oi, Del, why’d they call him Trigger? Does he carry a gun or something?

Del Boy: No, it’s ‘cos he looks like a horse.

 
 
 

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