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Joan Trotter Sr.

Joan Trotter Sr.
Joan in the Nag's Head.jpg
Portrayer Kellie Bright (2010-2011)
First seen "Rock & Chips"
Last seen "The Frog and the Pussycat"
Duration 2010-2011
Profile
Date of birth 10 July, 1925
(died 12 March, 1964)
Occupation Ice cream girl at the Ritz Cinema
Part time filing clerk at the town hall
Family Reg (husband)
Freddie Robdal (lover - deceased)
Ted (father-in-law - deceased)
Violet (mother-in-law - deceased)
Derek (son)
Rodney (son)
Albert (uncle-in-law - deceased)
Ada (aunt-in-law - deceased)
George (uncle-in-law)
Jack (uncle-in-law)
Rose (sister)
Raquel Turner (future daughter-in-law, fiancée of Derek)
Cassandra (daughter-in-law, wife of Rodney)
Damien (grandson)
Joan Trotter Jr. (granddaughter)

Joan Mavis "Joanie" Trotter Sr. is the mother of Del Boy and Rodney, appearing regularly by name in the popular BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses, though she remained unseen until the 2010 prequel Rock & Chips as the main character.

Profile

Only Fools and Horses

Joan was never seen in Only Fools and Horses, having died of an unspecified illness in 1964, some 17 years before the first episode "Big Brother". She was nonetheless an important figure in the family, particularly to Del, who was devoted to her memory. He would often regale Rodney with (likely embellished) accounts of her, with stories beginning "Mum said to me on her deathbed...", usually in an attempt to emotionally blackmail Rodney into doing some onerous job. He would also attribute any good fortune the Trotters had to her influence.

Joan's headstone, a large fibreglass monument, was seen in the episodes "The Yellow Peril", "As One Door Closes" and "Sleepless in Peckham". She ostensibly appeared at a seance conducted by Elsie Partridge and urged Del to visit a doctor about his stomach pains, although it was subsequently revealed that this was a ruse arranged by Elsie and Uncle Albert, as Del would only ever listen to Joan.[1] Her voice was heard in flashback in the final scene of "Time On Our Hands" as Del quietly reminisced in their now-empty flat in Nelson Mandela House.

However, it is apparent that Del has an idealised recollection of Joan, and it is heavily implied that she had a string of affairs with other men. Boycie remembered her "standing in the corner of a pub with two geezers".[2] This was finally confirmed in "Sleepless in Peckham", when it emerged that Rodney's biological father was one Freddie Robdal, with whom Joan had been having an affair.

Backstory (1925-1959)

Joan Mavis Hollins was born in Clapham, London in 10 July 1925. Her parents were Derek Hollins

Joan Trotter in the 1930s.jpg
and Mavis Hollins. She was given Mavis as a middle name after her mother's first name. Joan was an only child. Joan moved to Peckham, London, SE15. Joan met local scoundrel Reg Trotter in 1944 and she fell pregnant soon after. In 12 July 1945, she gave birth to a son Derek Edward Trotter and married Reg in 1947.

In 1960, Joan Trotter had been married to Reg for 13 years and was going through a tough time. Joan was friends with Reenie Turpin, whoShe worked with as a ice cream maid at the Ritz Cinema and often got pervy looks from Ernie Rayner, her boss. He later promoted her.

Rock & Chips 1st Ep Ending.jpg
Joan holding her newborn son Rodney
In March 1960, she met Freddie "The Frog" Robdal in The Nag's Head, a friend of Reg's. Freddie was a gentleman safecracker and a frogman. Joan had a one night stand with Freddie when Reg was on a job in Kent. Joan found she was pregnant and on the 2nd November 1960, she gave birth to a son Rodney Trotter at their new flat in Sir Walter Raleigh House, Nyrere Estate. Freddie wondered if he was the father.

Joan had been fired from the Ritz Cinema following her pregnancy, but is now applying to get it back, and she has hired Grandad's wife, Violet, to babysit Rodney while she and Del are out, much to Grandad's chagrin. Joan, however, still misses her old lover, Freddie "The Frog" Robdal, the local gentleman thief and Rodney's real father, unknown to Reg and the rest of the family.

Some time after, Freddie finds Joan in a coffee shop and offers her financial help but she declines, afraid of what Reg will do if he finds out about their affair, and asks Freddie to stay away from her. One night, after Joan dyes her hair brown to resemble Elizabeth Taylor, Reg tells Joan of a job he was offered by a certain contact who was looking for a charlady for thirty pounds a week. The contact happens to be Freddie, who did this as a way of getting closer to Joan. During an argument the next day, Joan accuses Freddie of playing the same mind games as Reg, hurting Freddie greatly, and he goes on to point out the major differences between himself and Reg, including his feelings for Joan. As Freddie prepares to head out, Joan runs up and kisses him, and they resume their affair.

Following this, Joan is given a lift by Freddie; who teaches her a dirty phrase in french, which fascinates her greatly as she tries to perfect it, causing Del to overhear her. To cover it up she says it means something else, i,pressing and inspiring Del to pick up the French lingo.

At the flat, with Del, Reg, and Grandad out at the New Year's party, Freddie pays Joan a visit and sees his son for the first time, holding baby Rodney in his arms.

Joan Trotter (TF&TP).jpg
July 1961, life is still more or less the same for the Trotter family; Joan works for Freddie Robdal as his "charlady", although they really use their time together for sexual pleasure. Freddie, for his part, keeps his own eyes on the Trotter family, going as far as to assault Joan's lecherous employer, Mr. Raynor, by breaking his fingers and threatening him into silence after learning of his perverted behaviour towards her through gossip in The Nag's Head.

Around the same time that Del crosses paths with an old flame of his named Barbara Bird, Freddie gives Joan a ring as a gift, which she notices is from Margate. She asks Freddie if he stole this ring from the jewellery store in Margate while on the 1960 Jolly Boys' Outing with Del, but he denies it.

Some time following this, Joan pawned the ring in order to buy Del a lambretta, which causes DI Thomas to play his trump card against Freddie as he he has acquired the ring, leading to Freddie subsequently taking the full blame and is imprisoned on an alternate charge for a few months while Kelly goes free. He does this in order to pretect Joan & Del.

Joan, under the name "Reenie Turpin" visits Freddie in prison. Freddie claims that once he is released, he wants to move to his country house near Bournemouth and start a new life, and implores Joan to run away with Rodney to live with him. Joan accepts, but tells Freddie seven months later on February 1962 that she will only leave with him once she is certain of Del's financial security, even though Freddie, knowing of Del's life as a market trader, believes Del is old and smart enough to look after himself. During the conversation, Joan mentions that she briefly began working as a charlady for an art dealer, Roland Pernell, for seven pounds a week, although Pernell callously deducted three pounds from her salary for "tax reasons". This, as well as the mention of Pernell's name, pique Freddie's interest.

To get Del set up financially, Joan pushes his relationship with Barbara, who comes from a rich family called the Birds. Del takes Barbara out to dinner, where he gets engaged with her. Barbara's parents, Bernard and Beryl, take a liking to Del and invite his family over for an engagement party, during which Reg gets drunk and makes a fool of himself. Unfortunately, whilst alone in the kitchen, Beryl makes a sexual pass at a surprised Del and is seen by the rest of the family. Beryl confesses that she never had the happy privileged life Barbara had, and became so jealous, especially with her disturbed childhood and unhappy marriage to Bernard, that she began secretly dressing in Barbara's clothes and listening to her music while alone. Despite Joan's efforts to patch things up, the engagement is off, and Joan ultimately decides to remain in Peckham for Del's sake. Meanwhile, Freddie and Jelly rob Pernell's art gallery together: many years back, Pernell cheated Freddie out of some money and went into hiding. Once Freddie went to jail, Pernell re-emerged, opened a new art gallery, and cheated Joan out of almost half of her wages. By robbing Pernell, Freddie will make him a target for the Inland Revenue for tax fraud. Following this, Freddie vows to go straight, unaware of Del's failed relationship.

While Del and his friends share a smoke outside, Joan reads Rodney a bedtime story and laments how both her and Del's happy futures were ruined. The door slams and Reg comes inside, surprisingly calm and expressing relief that Del's relationship with Barbara is over, having been disturbed by Beryl's actions. Reg goes to bed, leaving Joan to sit with Rodney and wait for Freddie to call (unaware that he himself is waiting for Joan to call him).

After Rock & Chips

In June 1962, Joan forced Del to go back to school after his engagement to Barbara Bird ended in disaster. When Del got eight A's (which all stood for "Absent") due to skipping his O-level school exams to flog Tom Jones LP's at the market, Joan was not very happy. Then, Reg called Del a disappointment, and Del beat Reg senseless in front of Joan, Grandad, Violet, and baby Rodney. Joan and Rodney were both crying, while Grandad tried to stop the fight, but Del wouldn't stop, because he was rightfully giving Reg what he deserved for every single one of Joan's tears and every black eye she'd try to hide behind her sunglasses. Reg was sent to hospital for a few days, while Del just vanished. A few days later, Joan got a telephone call from Del, who was in Brighton to clear his head, but eventually returned home to apologise to both his parents for his actions. But at the same time, Joan felt comfortable that Reg would never hit her, Del, or Rodney ever again.

In August 1963, Freddie and a gang stole some gold from the vaults of a bank in the city. Freddie got away but the others got caught. Freddie then hid the gold away. He then left it to Joan in his will. He then died in an accident one month later before he could retrieve the gold. Upon hearing of Freddie's death, Joan started drinking heavily, staying out late, and having more fights with Reg. Joan would do what she wanted, and nobody was going to stop her. After sobering up, Joan became sick soon after and needed nursing, her illness was probably alcohol related. She looked worn out, like the life had been sucked out of her.

Death in 1964

One morning in January 1964, due to all the drinking taking its toll on her, Joan did not get out of bed. Reg ran off, Grandad took Rodney over to Violet, and Del called Dr. Becker, who came over, took a look at Joan, and called for an ambulance. Joan would go to the hospital, with Del following and spending the night in reception. The next morning, Grandad and Rodney would both show up at the hospital to go with Del to visit Joan, but Reg didn't turn up, probably out gallivanting.

Even though Joan recovered that time, the rest of the Trotter Family knew that she didn't have that long to live. As a result, Del vowed never to leave Joan's side, even when she went into St Mary's Hospice. Every visit, Del and Joan would talk about everything, and Del would buy his mother presents and surround her bed with daffodils, anything to see that smile from Joan one last time.

While on her deathbed, Joan told her friend Reenie that she had been left some gold by Freddie, but no-one knew where he hid it as he had died recently, or her boys would be set for life.

Joan also told Del to look after Rodney and gave him a lot of advice, something Rodney would later describe as "nothing but rabbiting" on her death bed. Joan died on the 12th March 1964 at St Mary's Hospice after a long illness. She was 38 years old. Del Boy was 18 and Rodney was just 3.

Joan was buried in [Cemetery|Peckham Cemetery] and a few months after her death, Del ordered a huge fibreglass monument. Four months later, Reg walked out on the family one day when Del was at work.

Unlike Del and Granddad, due to her death while he was at such a young age Rodney grew up with very few memories of his mother.

Joan's legacy

Joan was never seen in Only Fools and Horses, having died of an alcohol related illness in 1964, some 17 years before the first episode "Big Brother". She was nonetheless an important figure in the family, particularly to Del, who was devoted to her memory. He would often regale Rodney with (likely embellished) accounts of her, with stories beginning "Mum said to me on her deathbed...", usually in an attempt to emotionally blackmail Rodney into doing some onerous job. He would also attribute any good fortune the Trotters had to her influence.

Joan's headstone, a large fibreglass monument, was seen in the episodes "The Yellow Peril", "As One Door Closes" and "Sleepless in Peckham". She ostensibly appeared at a seance conducted by Elsie Partridge and urged Del to visit a doctor about his stomach pains, although it was subsequently revealed that this was a ruse arranged by Elsie and Uncle Albert, as Del would only ever listen to Joan. Her voice was heard in flashback in the final scene of "Time On Our Hands" as Del quietly reminisced in their now-empty flat in Nelson Mandela House.

However, it is apparent that Del has an idealised recollection of Joan, and it is heavily implied that she had a string of affairs with other men. Boycie remembered her "standing in the corner of a pub with two geezers". This was finally confirmed in "Sleepless in Peckham", when it emerged that Rodney's biological father was one Freddie Robdal, with whom Joan had been having an affair.

In 1965, Reenie Turpin moved from London to Portsmouth. Joan's aunt Rose moved to Clacton, Essex but then moved on after that.

Del bought Rodney up after Joan died and Reg absconded. Their grandfather was too useless to help out. As Rodney got older, Del wondered if he and Rodney may only be half-brothers due to Rodney being tall for his age. Del wondered if they had different fathers, as Del knew Joan was going through a hard time when she fell pregnant with Rodney, and was friendly with other men.

When Rodney was an adult, Del was always pointing out to Rodney about how much he did for him. Also Del would use the passive aggressive line of "Mum said to me on her deathbed" whenever Del tried to have power over his brother.

Rodney and Cassandra would name their daughter "Joan" in honour of her.

Memorable info

  • Born: 10th July 1925
  • Died: 12th March 1964
  • Full Name: Joan Mavis Trotter (Nee Hollins)
  • Occupation: Theatre assistant (1960), Registry Office cleaner (1963), Housewife (1945-1964)

Trivia

Personality

Joan is a markedly idealistic character, who invests her time reading trashy romance novels and watching Hollywood movies in the rundown Ritz cinema, seemingly to escape the reality of her loveless marriage to Reg Trotter and precarious financial situation. Implied to have had a string of extra-marital affairs, she seems to be constantly searching for something more, changing her hairstyle rapidly to match that of big-screen starlets as if it were that easy to simply step out of her own shoes and into theirs. As stated by Irene "Reenie" Turpin: "You read too many rubbishy books, watch too many of these soppy films and believe them."

Despite this, Joan is hard-working, holding down several jobs at once in order to keep her family afloat even while she dreams of escape. For a long time she was the sole earner of the Trotter household, employed as a part-time manager of the Ritz cinema and as a filing clerk at the Peckham council building. As far as her son, husband, and in-laws were aware, she also worked as Freddie Robdal's charlady three days a week; however, this was merely an excuse for the two, involved in a passionate affair, to meet without suspicion.

She seems to have had an extremely close relationship with her son, Derek Trotter, who years later still mourns her death and spends each anniversary by her graveside. For Joan's part, she refused to break away from Peckham with her lover Freddie until she could be certain that the unreliable Del would be well-looked after - ultimately, after a disaster with Del Boy's fiancee, this would mean she'd never left Peckham at all. Ironically, Del would later prove himself to be well capable of looking after himself following Reg's desertation. Her other son, Rodney, also seems to think fondly of her, although due to her premature death he has few memories of his own; most information gleaned about his mother is filtered down through the rose-tinted spectacles of Del Boy.

Notes

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