- "Your dad always said that one day Del Boy would reach the top. Then again he he used to say that one day Millwall would win the cup."
- ―Grandad Trotter
Edward Kitchener Trotter, more commonly known as "Ted" (in his younger years) or "Grandad" (in his later years), was the third main character introduced in the popular BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses, and a main character in the prequel series Rock & Chips.
Grandad was the grandfather of Del Boy and Rodney Trotter. Del described Grandad as "an out of work lamp-lighter waiting for gas to make a comeback" that was about as useful as "a pair of sunglasses on a bloke with one ear."
Grandad's poor cooking was a running joke throughout his time on the show. He had a particular knack for ruining even the most simple of dishes, despite being taught to cook at one of Britain's biggest establishments, according to Del. His most famous accidents include repeated burning of food, and cooking a Christmas Turkey with the plastic bag full of Giblets still inside it. Del explains to Rodney that whilst Grandad's cooking is dreadful, he continues to let grandad be the main cook of the household in order to let grandad feel that he still has a purpose in life and is still needed. After Grandad passes away, Del attempts to cook for himself and Rodney, but the latter says he can't eat it "because it's nothing like Grandad's.....it tastes nice."
Edward "Ted" Trotter was born in Tobacco Road, Bermondsey, London on the 9th July 1905, the second eldest of three children to Jack Trotter Snr and Victoria Trotter. He had and older brother George Trotter and two younger brothers Jack Trotter and Albert Trotter born c1915. Edward stated that his earliest memories were of watching the soldiers marching off to World War I and witnessing their return after the armistice in 1918. He later spoke of the horror of these experiences in "The Russians Are Coming" with his now famous quote describing the wartime government policy: "They promised us homes fit for heroes, we got heroes fit for homes!".
In 1922 after leaving school, Grandad got a job as a decorator working for the Council, but was fired a few days later after he wallpapered over a serving hatch. He then began working as a lamp-lighter for the London Gas Light & Coke Company. Edward marred at a young age in 1923 to Violet Trotter and they had one son Reg Trotter in 1924. He later got a job as a security guard at a factory.
By the 1930's, Grandad was unemployed and living with his parents and three brothers, George, Jack, and Albert, in Peabody Buildings, Peckham Rye. In 1936, Grandad and his friend Nobby Clarke ran away to Tangiers to join the French Foreign Legion. They were, however, unsuccessful and ended up working for an Arabic weapons smuggler, gun-running into Spain during the Spanish Civil War. When questioned on this matter by Del, Grandad initially claimed he and Nobby had not done it purely for financial gain, but had also "felt a deep commitment to a political cause", but later admitted that they actually sold the guns to both sides, selling to the side that offered the highest price at the time. The two were caught by the authorities and following interrogation were deported from Spain and all her territories and dominions. Grandad returned to Peckham and joined the dole queues, returning to his wife and son sometime before the war.
During World War II he was too old for military service, so he was conscripted into the home guards instead. This was considered too close to the front lines however and after a fortnight he deserted. When he was caught, he was pleaded not guilty on the grounds of temporary insanity and they let him off.
Grandad evidently served some time in the army as he told Del he was given a double-headed coin by a Scottish soldier, and his son Reg checked his blood group on his old army records, however Grandad was demobbed before the end of the war as he temporarily separated from Violet and had an affair with Trigger's grandmother, Alice, while her husband, Arthur, was still fighting.
After the war, Grandad had various short-term jobs before he retired, including working as a security officer at a warehouse in Chingford which Grandad was sacked from after a janitor stole over three hundred briefcases from under his nose. Violet, who apparently worked as a char-lady in these later years died when Rodney was still young.
Rock & Chips
In January 1960, Grandad was thrown out of his flat in Deptford by his wife Violet after she found out about his affair with Alice Ball during the war. Unemployed and subsequently homeless, Ted would move in with his son Reg, daughter-in-law Joan, and grandson Del in Orchard Street that same month, The Trotters are at that time squeezed into a two-up two-down terraced house and Grandad is forced to share a bedroom with his grandson Del. Grandad would stay there until they moved into Sir Walter Raleigh Tower (later called Nelson Mandela House) in September that same year.
Grandad was present for the first Jolly Boys Outing in July 1960, along with his Son Reg, Grandson Del, Frederick Robdal and Sid Patterson.
In early January 1964, when Joan's declining health prevented her from getting out of bed, Reg ran off, but Grandad stayed behind to help Del out with Rodney before taking him over to Violet's house, while Del called Dr. Becker, who examined Joan before calling for an ambulance. The next day, Grandad and Rodney would meet up with Del at the hospital to see Joan.
After Joan died on 12th March 1964 due to an alcohol-related illness, Grandad would look after Rodney, while Del and Reg ignored each other. When Reg walked out on his family on Del's 19th birthday that same year, Grandad refused to believe that his own son was spineless. For the rest of 1964, after Joan died and Reg ran away, Grandad would take turns with Violet and Reenie Turpin in babysitting Rodney while Del was conducting business at the market. Del was the only breadwinner is the house, and had to work to bring in money. In 1970, Grandad turned 65 so got his pension.
Only Fools & Horses (1981-1985)
Series 1 (1981)
Grandad appears in the very first Only Fools and Horses episode "Big Brother". Set in 1981,Grandad by this point was about 75-76 and still living at Nelson Mandela House with his grandchildren and was the elderly chief tenant of the flat as Del and Rodney gave him the housekeeping money. In the episode he is watching Sidney Potter on the telly and is impressed by him as an actor, whilst Rodney Trotter is keeping accounts for Trotters Independent Traders. Rodney believes his name is Poitier and argues that this is his surname, and Grandad argues that it's Potter. Rodney's older brother suddenly Derek "Del Boy" Trotter enters the room and settles it as Harry Belafonte.
Grandad is horrified when Del reconnects with former fiancee Pauline Harris (Pauline Baker), who makes life miserable for everyone in the flat, including Del eventually. Grandad and the bothers run away to the home of the brother's Auntie, Rosa, only to find that she doesn't live there anymore.
Grandad was asked by Del to distribute 1000 leaflets for his "Trotter's Ethnic Tours" venture, but instead decided to throw them down the rubbish chute, believing it to be the stupidest idea he'd ever heard of. Craftily, Grandad was able to con Del out of £50 by betting that this latest scheme would fail. Del had admitted defeat due to no one turning up but then went to throw a sign saying "Trotters Ethnic Tours Departure Point" in the dust chute and saw the 1000 leaflets.
Grandad would accompany Del and Rodney for their "dummy run" in a Nuclear fall-out Shelter that Del purchased from a demolition site. Grandad would recall his stories of watching the soldiers marching off to World War One, delivering his now famous quote describing the wartime government policy: "They promised us homes fit for heroes, they gave us heroes fit for homes!".
Series 2 (1982)
Grandad continues to be involved in Del Boy's capers, when he accompanies them to a mansion to assist with the cleaning and repair of two extremely valuable Louis 14th French-Chrystal chandeliers. Grandad unknowingly unbolts the wrong one, causing it to fall the the ground and smash into hundreds of pieces.
Grandad would also assist with the painting of a Chinese takeaway, as well as accompany Del and Rodney on their holiday in Benidorm. During this holiday, Grandad is arrested for a minor traffic offence, after him walking accross the road caused a car to crash. Whilst in custody, Grandad recounts his story of his time in Spain in 1936, when he was gun-running with his friend Nobby Clarke during the Spanish Civil War, thinking that this is the reason behind his arrest, which later turns out not to be true. Grandad was released without charge, as the authorities considered such a charge to be "bad for Anglo-Spanish relations".
Series 3 (1983)
Grandad and Del team up to try and con the Council into moving them out of Nelson Mandela House and into a nice Bungalow by having Grandad pretend to have severe pain in his legs, as a result of having climb 12 floors of stairs on a daily basis (due to the constant constant of the lifts). The pair successfully fool Rodney and Doctor Becker, and almost pull off the stunt, but the plan fails when the council representative, Miss McKenzie catches Grandad walking normally.
Grandad is arrested once again, this time along with his two grandsons, for the theft of a microwave oven, when Detective and former classmate of Del, Roy Slater, is brought to the flat by an unsuspecting Rodney, who had not met Slater previously. Grand also accompanies the two brothers on their fishing trip to Boycie's cottage in Cornwall, where Del plans to catch Salmon to sell to a fish restaurant back in Peckham. The trip goes awry when they arrive during a thunderstorm, which has caused a blackout, allowing a crazed axe murderer (who 10 years ago on that very night had killed a party of weekend fishermen) to escape from the nearby psychiatric hospital.
Grandad accompanies Del and Rodney to Denzil's flat, where they are tasked with redecorating the living room. After an accident in the kitchen, Grandad is sent out by Del to buy a new Canary bird for £50, thinking that they had killed Denzil's wife Corrine's pet. In reality it had actually died during the previous night, before they arrived. Grandad buys the Canary for £45, intending to keep the last £5 for himself. It is later revealed that the replacement bird he bought had fleas.
In December 1983, Grandad was pleased to see the return of his son Reg to the fold after 18 years. Del was angry as Reg had left him, Rodney and Grandad when Del an Rodney's mum died. Grandad insists that Del allows Reg to stay, as Grandad is unable to see his son as a bad person. Reg fabricated events in order to pretend that Del was not his son so that he could reclaim his position as head of the family. This was done by doctoring a blood test when he told Del and Rodney they may have a hereditary blood disorder, adding a "B" to Del's blood group, changing it from "A" to "AB". Del and Rodney were both given the all clear. The truth is outed when Del checked with Dr Becker and finds out that the B was added by Reg. Del sends Reg packing and Grandad finally realizes and accepts the truth that his son is a nasty, conniving individual.
Licensed to Drill (1984)
This is an educational film that was only shown in schools and never broadcast on Television. It is also the last appearance of Lennard Peace in the role, as he died not long afterwards.
In early to mid 1984, Grandad and Rodney mocked Del Boy jokingly about his latest scheme, when he wanted to be an oil tycoon by buying a oil rig for £400 off a Scotsman. Rodney said oil rigs cost millions upon millions of pounds and they weigh 100,000 tonnes and are about 40 to 50 miles offshore.
Series 4 (1985)
In early January 1985, just after New Year's, Grandad slipped over in the doorway of his bedroom and was taken into hospital. He suffered a stoke and as his health worsened. These events all take place off-screen, as actor Lennard Pearce had already died. He passed away in 1985, aged 79. He was buried in Peckham Cemetery. His younger brother Albert then came to live with Del and Rodney.
Time On Our Hands (1996)
When reminiscing on memories of his family members whilst standing in the empty flat, after becoming a millionaire, Del remembers Grandad's voice saying to Rodney "Your Dad always said that one day Del Boy would reach the top. Then again he used to say that one day Millwall would win the cup."
Grandad's first chronological appearance was in the first episode of the prequel series Rock & Chips. Set in 1960, we see he appears to enjoy a close relationship with his family and remains with them when they move to their new council flat in Nelson Mandela House, even after the death of his daughter-in-law Joan.
Chronologically we next see Grandad in the very first Only Fools and Horses episode "Big Brother". Set in the early 1980's, Grandad is by this point, aged in his seventies, and still living at Nelson Mandela House with his grandchildren. Despite the fact that Grandad is largely infirm and useless, the Trotters' sense of family loyalty means that he would never be left without a home. He is, however, often treated with a level of light-hearted abuse by Del and Rodney when his docile nature becomes an inconvenience causing desperation. For example, in "The Yellow Peril", Grandad takes a phone call for Del; Del informs him to tell whoever is on the other end that he has gone out. Grandad informs the caller of this, but then looks rather confused; he mutters "I'm not sure" before shouting "Where've you gone to, Del?" Grandad is a terrible cook, but is allowed to do so to give him purpose in the flat. Examples of his terrible cooking includes leaving the giblets in the Christmas turkey while undercooking it, incinerating the Christmas pudding and regularly burning the most straightforward meals. As mentioned in "Wanted", Del Boy also played an April Fool's joke on Grandad, telling him that the pools had called to say that he'd won half a million pounds. Grandad went to Soho and celebrated, then realised that he didn't do the pools. Grandad's favourite television shows are Crossroads and The Dukes of Hazzard, as revealed in "Homesick" and "May The Force Be With You". He also owns an allotment, as mentioned in "The Russians Are Coming", as well as seen in "Mother Nature's Son".
Despite his senility and simplicity, Grandad was more crafty than he let on - wangling himself a bungalow by feigning illness being one of his many talents as seen in "Homesick". Similarly, in "Who's a Pretty Boy?", he conned Del Boy out of £5, informing him the canary he purchased from the pet shop cost him £50, when in reality cost him £45 (Del Boy finds out at the end of the episode, and replied "£45 Pounds?", to which Grandad innocently replies, "What did I say?") And in "A Slow Bus To Chingford", Grandad almost succeeds in conning Del out of £50 by betting him that no-one will turn up for the Trotters' proposed "ethnic bus tours of old London" - and then failing to deliver the tour's publicity leaflets (a ploy only foiled when Del Boy discovers the discarded leaflets in the dust-chute at Nelson Mandela House). "It wasn't me, Del Boy," Grandad whines on being discovered on this occasion; "It was me brain!"
Given the task of minding the Trotter flat from the comfort of his much loved armchair, Grandad had an easy life. Grandad was also responsible for the spectacular (and noisy) failure of Del's chandelier cleaning business in "A Touch of Glass".
When Lennard Pearce died in 1984, writer John Sullivan chose not to replace him but to write the character's death into the series. A funeral was held for Grandad in "Strained Relations", which saw the Trotter brothers trying to come to terms with the loss of a man who had been such an integral part of their lives. However, such was the nature of the show that amongst the sadness were moments of brilliant comedy. At the funeral, Del sees what he thinks is Grandad's favourite hat, takes it back to the grave and throws it in. However, the audience later discover that the hat belonged to the priest. As Del and Rodney walk away from the grave, the workers begin to fill in the grave; Del turns to them and menacingly says "Oi! Gently." This episode also introduced Grandad's younger brother Albert. It is also known that apart from Albert, Grandad had two more brothers: George, whom he mentioned in the episode "The Russians Are Coming"; and Jack, who was mentioned by Albert in "A Royal Flush", presumably the father of Del and Rodney's cousin Stan, who is seen at the funeral with his wife (Stan refers to George by his first name, making it impossible for Stan to be George's son).