Grandad (Only Fools and Horses)

Edward "Grandad" Trotter

Grandad (Pictured left)
Only Fools and Horses character
Portrayed by Lennard Pearce (1981–1984)
Phil Daniels (2010–2011)
Duration 1981–1984 (OFAH)
2010–2011 (Rock & Chips)
First appearance "Big Brother"
Last appearance "Thicker than Water"
Created by John Sullivan
Rock & Chips (2010–2011)
Classification Former; regular
Occupation Retired

Edward Kitchener "Ted" Trotter, better known simply as Grandad, was a character in the popular BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses from 1981 to 1984. He was played by Lennard Pearce in the original series, and was portrayed by Phil Daniels in the prequel, Rock & Chips.[1]

The character was grandfather to Derek, the step grandfather of Rodney Trotter, and older brother to Uncle Albert (Buster Merryfield). Lennard Pearce's sudden death in December 1984 was written into the series with the death of the character.


Born in Peckham Rye, London in 1906, Grandad 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 with his description of the wartime government policy ("They promised us homes fit for heroes, we got heroes fit for homes!")

In 1924 after leaving school, Grandad got a job as a decorator working for the Council, but was sacked after two days for wallpapering over a serving hatch. He then began working as a lamplighter for the London Gas Light and Coke Company, and trained as a chef at the Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital, but by the 1930s, he was unemployed and living with his parents and his brothers, George, Albert, and Jack, in Peabody Buildings, Peckham Rye. In 1936, he and his friend Nobby Clarke ran away to Tangier to join the French Foreign Legion, they were however unsuccessful and ended up working becoming gun runners during the Spanish Civil War. They were caught by the authorities. Nobby was tortured but Grandad chose to confess everything under interrogation. Both were deported from Spain and all her territories and dominions. He returned to Peckham and joined the dole queues, marrying his wife Violet sometime before the war, and fathering a son, Reg.

During World War II Grandad evidently served some time in the army as he told Del was given a double-headed coin by a fellow soldier and his son Reg checked his blood group on his old army records, however he must have been demobbed before the end of war as he temporarily separated from his wife and had an affair with Trigger's grandmother Alice, while her husband Arthur was still fighting. During the episode "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Uncle", Uncle Albert (Buster Merryfield) shows Del a photograph of Grandad during the war. When Del asks why Grandad is wearing a vest and plimsolls, Albert answers 'Well, he'd just deserted.'

After the war, Grandad had various short-term jobs before he retired, including working as a security officer at a warehouse in Chingford which he was sacked from after a janitor stole over three hundred briefcases from under his nose. His wife, who apparently worked as a char-lady in these later years died when Rodney was still young.

It is revealed in "Tea For Three", by Grandad's younger brother Uncle Albert (played by Buster Merryfield), that he and Albert fell out over Albert's later wife, Ada. Albert tells Rodney that while walking home from a nightclub together, they both had a fight, and never spoke to each other again after that.

In the programme

The character of Grandad was written out of the original show following the death of the actor Lennard Pearce but is featured heavily as a main character (called frequently by his real name "Ted") in the 2010-2011 prequel series Rock & Chips. Set in 1960, we see Grandad recently separated from his wife Vi, unemployed and subsequently homeless, after she finds out about his affair with Alice. Grandad then moves in with his son Reg. 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. 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 (which was then known as the "Sir Walter Raleigh House").

Grandad is seen in the first series of Only Fools and Horses. Grandad is by this point aged in his mid seventies, largely infirm and useless and still living at Nelson Mandela House with his grandsons. He is often seen watching two television sets at once, one black and white TV and one colour TV. In the Second Time Around it is revealed that he would normally watch three sets but one was being mended. Because of their sense of family loyalty, the Trotters ensure that he will always have a home, with Del dismissing his fiancée Pauline's suggestion of putting Grandad into a residential home because "he's family".[2] 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; his miserably uttered final line in the series is "Del Boy, I've burnt yer pizza!" and in the first Christmas special even left the giblets in their plastic wrapping inside the turkey, not knowing what it meant by 'ready cleaned'. Del also played an April Fools 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", and the former episode reveals that he also enjoys listening to The Archers on the radio. In "Yesterday Never Comes", Del suggests that he watches The Chinese Detective in his bedroom in order to remove him from the sitting room. Rather eccentrically, Grandad always watched two television sets at the same time. It was revealed that at one time he actually watched three television sets at a time before one broke down and was sent to be mended. He also owns an allotment, as mentioned in "The Russians Are Coming", as well as seen in "Mother Nature's Son". None of the main characters address Grandad by his name. Trigger addresses him as 'Mr Trotter' in Ashes to Ashes, and in "Who's a Pretty Boy?", even pet shop owner Louis greets him as 'Grandad'. His name is not revealed until Rock & Chips.

However, 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 Delboy 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?", to which Grandad innocently replies, "What did I say?") And in "A Slow Bus To Chingford" he 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 discovers the discarded leaflets in the dust-chute at Nelson Mandela House). "It wasn't me, Del Boy," Grandad wails on being discovered on this occasion; "It was me brain!"

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.[3] 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 trademark hat, takes it to the grave and he and Rodney lovingly drop the hat in. It is later revealed (to the audience) that the hat actually belonged to the Vicar. As Del and Rodney walk away from the grave, the gravediggers begin to fill in the grave; Del turns to them and menacingly says "Oi! Gently." This episode also introduced Grandad's younger brother Uncle 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 improbable for Stan to be George's son).


  2. The Second Time Around
  3. Clark, Steve (August 2011). Only Fools and Horses: The Official Inside Story. Splendid Books Limited. ISBN 0-9558916-9-8.
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