Roger Lloyd Pack, star of Only Fools and Horses, dies aged 69

image captionRoger Lloyd-Pack as Trigger in a 1990 episode of Only Fools and Horses

Roger Lloyd Pack, the British actor known to millions as slow-witted roadsweeper Trigger in BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses, has died aged 69.

Well-known for his rubbery face and lugubrious delivery, he also appeared as Owen Newitt in The Vicar of Dibley.

Born in north London in 1944, he was the son of actor Charles Lloyd Pack and the father of actress Emily Lloyd.

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

Sir David Jason spoke of his sadness at the news, calling his co-star "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," continued the actor, who played Derek 'Del Boy' Trotter in the show.

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

image captionLloyd Pack considered his Only Fools role "both a blessing and a curse"

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."

A versatile character actor who was at home with both comedy and drama, Lloyd Pack studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) before making his stage debut in Northampton.

After appearances in The Avengers and other TV shows, his screen debut came in 1968 when he played a small part in The Magus.

His breakthrough came in 1981 when he was cast as Colin 'Trigger' Ball, the dim but amiable roadsweeper who always called Lyndhurst's character "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."

Lloyd Pack was the only actor, apart from Lyndhurst and Jason, to appear in both the first and last episode of the much-loved sitcom.

Its success would lead the actor to call his role "both a blessing and a curse" and express bemusement about his popularity with audiences.

image captionThe actor starred as farmer and council-member Owen Newitt in Vicar of Dibley, which ran for almost as many years as Only Fools and Horses

'It's extraordinary to me as an actor to find oneself in a sitcom that's been successful and goes on being successful," he said. "I can't go anywhere without anyone going on about it."

His last appearance as Trigger came in the show's 2003 Christmas special. The BBC had hoped he would make an appearance in the sketch show later this year for Sport Relief, but he was too unwell.

In recent years he was seen at the Shakespeare's Globe, appearing alongside Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry in its production of Richard III and Twelfth Night.

A committed socialist, he campaigned for nuclear disarmament and was a supporter of Left Unity, a recently formed "radical political party of the left".

John Challis, who appeared as Boycie in Only Fools, said the news was "very sad and very distressing" and that Lloyd Pack was "irreplaceable".

"My thoughts are with his family," said the actor. "He was a remarkable man and he'll be missed."

Father Ted creator Graham Linehan was among others to pay tribute, saying it was "very sad news".

"Trigger was an ancestor to Father Dougal and I'm glad I once had a chance to tell him so," he said on Twitter.

James Corden called him an "incredible actor and person", while Lord Sugar tweeted that Trigger had been "one of my favourite characters".

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."

His death was also marked by CND, who marked his death by posting a picture of the actor campaigning against Trident, and by Tottenham Hotspur, the London football club he supported.

"We're saddened to learn of the death of Spurs fan Roger Lloyd Pack," it said in a tweet. "The Club extends our condolences to his friends and family."

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