Sunday, 2 February 2014

Britain said "Happy Birthday" to David 'Del Boy' Jason, remembers Roger 'Trigger' Lloyd-Pack and needs another 69,000 signatures on Maggie Watts petition for research into the cancer which killed him

David, tv actor of many incarnations has enjoyed his 74th birthday. In, perhaps his most famous role, as south London wide boy, Derek Trotter he played with Roger as Colin Ball, the slow-witted road sweeper and fellow patron of the Nags Head Pub in the comedy series, 'Only Fools and Horses',

What you possibly didn't know about David and Roger, before their paths crossed, that  they :

* were born, David White in Edmonton, North London in 1940 at the time of the German bombing blitz of London during the Second World War, along with a twin brother who died in childbirth and Roger, in Islington, North London four years later in 1944.

* David grew up in a working-class family with his father a porter in Billingsgate Fish Market and Roger was the son of an actor, proud of his East London working-class origins in East London, who added 'Lloyd' to his name in the 1930s and worked as a regular in 'Hammer' horror films.

* David at school developed a defence against bullies by making them laugh, took on the lead role in a school play as a 'stand in' and joined the local Amateur Dramatic Society. while Roger at the  independent coeducational boarding school, Bedales, also began acting and then, after leaving, decided to follow his father into acting, thinking that it was "magic and what I want to do".

* David left school wanting to follow in his older brother Arthur's footsteps as an actor, but deferred to his father's wishes to first 'get a trade' and worked for six years as an electrician, before becoming a jobbing actor and later claimed to have changed his name to 'Jason' as a homage to his childhood fictional hero from 'Jason and the Argonauts', while Roger left to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

* David started his tv career in 1964, at the age of 24, playing Bert Bradshaw in the series 'Crossroads' and in 1967 played a spoof  super-hero, 'Captain Fantastic' in the children's tv comedy series, 'Do Not Adjust Your Set' while Roger made his stage debut in 'The Shoemaker's Holiday' by Thomas Dekker at the Theatre Royal, Northampton, before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company, but found jobs hard to come by, which, in part, he put this down to his looks saying : “It took a while for all my features to fall into place".

* David, in 1969, was recruited to appear in 'Hark at Barker' as Dithers, the hundred-year old gardener.and 4 years later junior employee Granville in 'Open All Hours' starring Ronnie Barker as the miserly proprietor of a corner shop and featured in Ronnie's prison based comedy, 'Porridge', as the old man Blanco while Roger made his tv debut in 'The Avengers' at the age of 20 in 1965, followed by appearances in the 1970s series,'Jason King', 'Crown Court' and 'Softly Softly: Taskforce'.

* both were united on tv as Del Boy and Trigger in 1981 in the John Sullivan comedy, 'Only Fools and Horses' and have become immortalised in that bar scene and remembered for
for the brief cases :

* worked together in seven series until 1991 and in Christmas specials, with an audience of 24 million in 1996, until the last show in 2003 and may have reunited in the sketch to be shown later this year for Sport Relief, had not Roger been too ill to take part.

* David went on to play, from 1991-93, 'Pop' Larkin in the rural idyll, 'The Darling Buds of May', based on the H.E.Bates novel, which also featured the then unknown Catherine Zeta Jones as his daughter Mariette. while in 1994 Roger started and continued to play for the next 13 years, Owen Newitt,, the local farmer in the tv comedy series, 'The Vicar of Dibley', written by Richard Curtis and starring Dawn French as the ecclesiastical new broom, Geraldine, in a sleepy Oxfordshire parish.

* in 1992, David signed a golden-handcuffs deal at ITV to star as Detective Inspector Jack Frost  in the long-running series 'A Touch of Frost' which he finished with a two-part finale at the age of 70 in 2010. while on stage, Roger appeared alongside Nigel Havers and Barry Foster in Yasmina Reza's, 'Art' in the West End in 2001 and in film in 2005, joined forces with his friend and neighbour, the director, Mike Newell, in 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' playing Barty Crouch.

*  in 2006, at the age of 61, Roger had fun as John Lumic (left) in the reappearance of 'Doctor Who' on tv, playing opposite David Tennant and in 2009-10 and in 'The Old Guys', with Clive Swift, played an ageing has-been, focusing his attention on  Asher, his disobliging neighbour and returned to the stage in a revival of Patrick Marber's gambling classic, 'Dealer's Choice' at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2007 and earned praise as a growly old 'Davies' in Pinter's 'The Caretaker' at the Nuffield, Southampton and a fierce 'Prospero' in 'The Tempest' at the Edinburgh Festival.

Roger died from pancreatic cancer on the 15th January with David paying this tribute :
"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."

The cancer which killed Roger remains the cinderella of cancers in comparison with bowel, breast and prostate. Only more funding and public awareness will lead to earlier detection and, ultimately, better survival rates. It is often called the 'silent killer' since many of its symptoms mirror other less critical illnesses and doctors may not recognise these early enough, resulting in lost time before diagnosis and a terminal outcome. It kills 7,900, mostly old men and women in Britain each year with 75% of cases in those aged 65 years and over.

Last year, Maggie Watts, who lost her husband to pancreatic cancer at the age of just 48 in 2009, launched a UK Government E-petition to push it further up the political agenda.
The petition is a call to :
'Provide more funding and awareness for pancreatic cancer to aid long overdue progress in earlier detection and, ultimately, improved survival rates'

Maggie speaking to ITN :

So, in memory of Trigger, please sign Maggie's petition and spread it to family, friends and colleagues though facebook, twitter and other social media to help her get her 100,000 signatures :

Trigger :
"I don't know what you're worried about (BSE). I've been eating British beef all my life."
"No, I told them (a dating agency) I was bus conductor. To add a bit of glamour"
"That's what I've done. Maintained it (his roadsweeper's broom) for 20 years. This old brooms had 17 new heads and 14 new handles in its time."



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