Follow Us on Twitter

Obituary: Roger Lloyd-Pack

Roger Lloyd-Pack

Obituary by Jack Foley

ROGER Lloyd-Pack has died at the age of 69, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

The British actor, known to millions as roadsweeper Trigger in the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses, passed away on Wednesday, January 15, 2014.

Although best known for his role of Trigger, Lloyd-Pack – the father of actress Emily Lloyd and son of Hammer horror actor Charles Lloyd-Pack – was a versatile character actor who was equally at home in comedy or drama.

In addition to Only Fools & Horses, he won fans as Owen Newitt in The Vicar of Dibley and will be known to millions of Harry Potter fans as Bartemius ‘Barty’ Crouch. More recently, he enjoyed a recurring role in The Borgias and – on stage – was a regular at Shakespeare’s Globe, appearing alongside Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry in its production of Richard III and Twelfth Night.

Born in Islington, north London in 1944, Lloyd-Pack was initially educated at home where his mother, in an effort to boost the family’s precarious finances, set up a kindergarten for local children.

He had one unhappy spell at another school before moving on to Bedales, a co-educational school in Hampshire, where he felt more relaxed and started to indulge his passion for the arts – the school had a small theatre that gave him the opportunity to develop his skills.

Once quoted as saying he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps because he found acting to be “magic”, he was also inspired by his drama teacher, Rachel Carey-Field, and has since admitted to paying more attention to acting than to his studies, although he did achieve three A-levels.

Instead of going to university, as his parents had hoped, he successfully auditioned for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and went on to make his stage debut in Northampton in a production of The Shoemaker’s Holiday by the Elizabethan playwright Thomas Dekker.

Thereafter, he made his screen debut in 1968 with a bit part in The Magus, a film based on the John Fowles novel, and continued to take small roles in a variety of films and TV shows, including The Avengers.

He had to wait for his big break until 1981, when he was cast as Colin “Trigger” Ball after being spotted by the show’s executive producer Ray Butt on the stage – ironically, he had been at the production to observe the actor Billy Murray as a potential Del Boy.

Trigger soon became a fan favourite and went from being a supporting character to appearing in every episode, frequently stealing some of the best lines and being known for calling Rodney “Dave”.

After Only Fools, he found yet more household popularity in another sit-com, The Vicar of Dibley, playing Owen Newitt, a farmer with a personal hygiene problem, who repeatedly flirted unsuccessfully with Dawn French’s vicar.

And he stepped up his work-rate during that period, too, with numerous appearances on TV and film, including the role of John Lumic in the 2006 Doctor Who stories Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel, and as Barty Crouch Snr, head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, in 2005’s Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire.

He also continued his passion for theatre, appearing in everything from comedies to the work of Harold Pinter.

In 2011, he appeared as Inspector Mendel in the film version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and a year later returned to the stage as the Duke of Buckingham in a production of Richard III at the Globe Theatre.

Away from acting, he was an avid Spurs fan and a one-time Labour supporter (until falling out with the party in 2013).

His personal life also saw him marry Sheila Ball in 1968 and they shared a daughter, the actress Emily Lloyd, but the relationship ended after just four years.

He later lived with the poet and dramatist Jehane Markham for 25 years before marrying her in 2000. They have three sons.

Among the early tributes paid, John Challis, who appeared as Boycie in Only Fools & Horses, said the news was “very sad and very distressing”, adding that Lloyd-Pack was “irreplaceable”.

While James Corden called him an “incredible actor and person”.

His death has also been marked by CND, which posted a picture of the actor campaigning against Trident.