Trigger (Only Fools and Horses)

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Trigger (Colin Ball)
Only Fools and Horses
Rock & Chips
Portrayed by Roger Lloyd-Pack (1981–2003)
Lewis Osbourne (2010-2011)
Duration 1981–2003:
Only Fools and Horses
Rock & Chips
First appearance Big Brother
Last appearance Sleepless in Peckham
Created by John Sullivan
Rock & Chips (2010)
Classification Former; regular
Occupation Road sweeper

Colin Ball, much better known as Trigger, is a fictional character in the popular BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses and its prequel Rock & Chips. He was played by Roger Lloyd-Pack in Only Fools and Horses and Lewis Osbourne in Rock & Chips.


How you going, Dave?

— Trigger's usual greeting to Rodney

A regular at the Nag's Head pub, and old friend of Del Boy, Trigger is a road sweeper, and also appears to dabble in trading and petty thefts (though this status as a small-time thief is soon phased out of the character's development). He once supplied Del with paint which Del proceeded to use to decorate his mother's grave. Only then did Trigger inform him that the paint was used on signs in railway tunnels and therefore, luminous. He also supplies a load of stolen cigarettes, and in the opening episode he announces to Del that "he popped round to his sisters to sort out an alibi for next Thursday."[1]

The BBC website reveals his name to be Colin Ball - but this is never mentioned in any episode.[2]

Trigger is possibly most famous because he calls Rodney Trotter "Dave", even though his name is Rodney. Rodney discusses this with Trigger in "Homesick", and he agrees to stop, but a few seconds later he calls him "Dave" again.[3] When Cassandra Trotter, Rodney's wife, announced she was pregnant in "Modern Men", everybody raised a toast and said "To Cassandra and Rodney", but Trigger can be heard saying "Dave" after everyone else has spoken. At another point, while discussing Del and Raquel's son, Trigger claims that they may name the baby "Rodney, after Dave".[4]

He reveals he always greets women with 'hello darling, where have you been all my life?', but has no idea why as "it's never worked".

He can miss the point of the silliest joke, such as in "Fatal Extraction", when Del jokes with Boycie, Mike, Denzil and Trigger, saying that women ask men something then correct them, and everyone says "Why ask" together, and Trigger waits until they're finished and says "Why ask?" very stupidly.

In the pilot episode Rodney asked Del where Trigger got his nickname, thinking Trigger was an armed criminal (i.e. a trigger man). Del however replies that it's because 'he looks like an 'orse',[1] this is a reference to the famous screen horse, Trigger, of the 1950s and 1960s, as Del says to Trig later on "You know what happened to the real Trigger don't you? Roy Rogers had 'im stuffed!".

It was revealed in Class of '62, that Trigger used to have a crush on Julie Christie, albeit getting her name muddled with the famous early 1900s crime writer Agatha Christie, after he tells Boycie, Del, Rodney and Denzil that he loved her in the film Dr. Zhivago.

Trigger speaks in a fairly slow, monotone voice, but he is loyal, friendly and kind, and the regular characters are all fond of him. 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." Del also mentions that Trigger once banged into a "Mind your head" sign at school (Trigger mentioned that he couldn't read at the time) and jokingly claims that Trigger's parents sued the school for brain damage and the judge awarded them £7.50. In "Fatal Extraction", 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's low intelligence is also shown in "If They Could See Us Now", when he turns up at the Trotter's flat because Del has offered him a lift to the Nag's Head, despite Trigger living closer to the Nag's Head than the Trotters and even having to walk past the pub to reach the flat.

With further analysis put on the episode "If They Could See Us Now", in the court waiting room scene with Denzil, Boycie, and Sid, Trigger is heard saying to Denzil in a serious tone that he hears voices, this strongly implies that he may suffer from a form of the mental disorder called Schizophrenia. This would also explain a lot of the other behaviour that he shows in other episodes. He is often found to experience mental confusion when conversing about straight forward subjects and portrays the loss of connection to reality. On a few occasions he is found to be inexpressive in the social situations where other characters are experiencing strong emotion, he also most of the time only talks when invited into conversation. He shows very little life ambition and appears to have minimal drive in most areas of life. His slow speech could also be a symptom of having the mental disorder.

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 having owned 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 is an example of the Ship of Theseus paradox. This has given rise to the expression "Trigger's broom".

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.

In 2010, Lloyd-Pack stated that Trigger, while not intelligent, believed that he had an insight into life. Lloyd-Pack suggested that Trigger felt excluded as a child and found his status by saying things that made people laugh.[5]


Trigger appeared on Only Fools and Horses since the very first episode and carried on appearing in almost every episode until the final episode, Sleepless in Peckham.

Trigger is an example of a breakout character in that he quickly attained a high level of popularity with the show's audience, despite his status as a minor, supporting character.

Trigger appears as a teenager in the Only Fools and Horses prequel series, Rock & Chips, where he is portrayed as equally daft as in the main series. As shown in "Sleepless in Peckham", he accompanies Del, his gang, his family and Freddie the Frog on the first Jolly Boys' Outing in 1960. Trigger is a relatively minor character in the prequel series, giving a daft remark every now and again, but he receives a rather notable mention in "The Frog and the Pussycat" when Violet Trotter, Del's grandmother, mentions Grandad's affair with Trigger's grandmother, Alice Ball[6] (marking the first time in the history of the Only Fools and Horses franchise that Trigger's real name is mentioned). At one point in the pilot episode, Reg asks Del and Jumbo if Trigger is mentally OK, since he once spotted Trigger laughing at a television set which was turned off.

Trigger's original actor Roger Lloyd-Pack died on 15 January 2014, from pancreatic cancer.