Trigger from Only Fools and Horses, actor Roger Lloyd-Pack dies at 69

Roger Lloyd Pack at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield, in 2005
Roger Lloyd Pack at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield, in 2005
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Only Fools and Horses star Roger Lloyd-Pack has died aged 69.

His co-star in the BBC1 sitcom, Sir David Jason, was among those who paid tribute, saying he was not only a fine actor but “a pleasure to work with”.

Lloyd-Pack, whose other memorable portrayals included his regular role as farmer Owen Newitt in The Vicar Of Dibley, died at his home in London.

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

Lloyd-Pack clocked up appearances in dozens of TV shows such as The Borgias and had a recurring role in BBC series 2Point4 Children as well as many films including a recent appearance in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, in addition to being a respected Shakespearean actor.

But he will be best known as dopey road-sweeper Trigger in Only Fools, a show which continued to hold a fascination with viewers long after it ended.

Co-star Sir David - who led the cast as Del Boy Trotter in the comedy - said: “I was very saddened to hear of Roger’s passing. He was 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.”

Father Ted creator Graham Linehan paid tribute by explaining how Trigger had been an inspiration for one of his own characters.

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 was born into an acting family in north London and his father, Charles, was a regular in Hammer horror films.

The lofty actor - who appeared regularly at Shakespeare’s Globe in central London - acknowledged that the association with Trigger could be frustrating.

In a 2012 interview with the Guardian, 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.”

He was also politically active and a prominent campaigner for left-wing causes in the capital.

Lloyd-Pack’s daughter Emily shot to fame in the 1987 film Wish You Were Here before stepping back from the celebrity limelight after struggling with health issues.

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.”

Shane Allen, the BBC’s controller of comedy commissioning, said: “The nation bids a fond and sad farewell to one of the most popular television sitcom actors of his generation.

“Roger Lloyd-Pack enjoyed a long and successful career which spanned everything from the hugely iconic Trigger to roles in Shakespeare at The Globe.

“He will be greatly missed and his work will live on for many years to come. Our thoughts are with his loved ones.”

Best known for his deadpan delivery and demeanour in Only Fools And Horses and The Vicar Of Dibley, Roger Lloyd-Pack played an incredible variety of roles during a TV, film and stage career which began in the 1960s.

Born in Islington in 1944 and educated at Bedales boarding school in Hampshire, 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.

Speaking to the BBC in June 2012 as he was rehearsing for a part in a production of Richard III at London’s Globe Theatre, Lloyd-Pack attributed Only Fools And Horses’ continuing 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.

Asked about his acting background, Lloyd-Pack recalled: “I started off my trade with the RSC 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.

“I learnt Shakespeare - as a kid I loved working with the verse and the metre ... there is something about the rhythm that I’ve always loved for some reason.

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

“I have been in two very successful sitcoms and if you are in a successful sitcom that tends to be how you are remembered - because a good sitcom gets into the DNA of our culture in a way that other things don’t.”