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Del Trotter
Only Fools and Horses
& Rock & Chips
Portrayed by David Jason
James Buckley
Duration 1981–2003, 2010
First appearance Big Brother
Last appearance Sleepless in Peckham
Created by John Sullivan
Profile
Occupation Market trader,
CEO of
Trotters Independent Traders

Derek Edward Trotter AKA STEEB (born 12 July 1945), more commonly known as "Del Boy", is the fictional lead character in the popular BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses. He was played by David Jason in the original series [1] and was portrayed as a teenager by James Buckley in the prequel Rock & Chips.[2]

Contents

Personality

Del is a lively character, most noted for his happy-go-lucky, confident persona. Whilst not always being successful, his general confidence and often forcefulness often convinces people to believe in him. Starting with the fifth series, he became a stereotypical yuppie of the late 1980s, pretending to be a lot more financially successful than he really is, which fit in well with him always trying to associate with the higher classes of society but clearly being rooted as working class.

Del also has a rather sensitive side to his personality, particularly for his family. He is not always so keen to express his love his family and loved ones, but in numerous episodes this side is bought out, such as in Diamonds Are for Heather, Strained Relations, Dates

Personal life

Family

His mother Joan died on 12 March 1964 — after an apparent long string of illnesses. Two months afterwards, his lazy father Reginald left, taking most of their money and even Del's birthday cake, left a teenage Derek as the sole breadwinner of the abandoned Trotter family. Del's grandfather was not up to taking the lead, his best efforts having failed, so Del was left to look after him and Rodney, his younger brother, who was born fifteen years after him in 1960.

Del lives with Rodney, his "significant other" Raquel and their son Damien at door 368 on the twelfth floor of the fictional Nelson Mandela House on the Dockside Estate, Peckham, London.

Relationship with other characters

He has had many girlfriends over the course of the series and his friends include Trigger, Denzil, Boycie, Marlene and Mike. His greatest enemy is DCI Roy Slater. Derek is optimistic but although not intellectual he is quick witted, and frequently gets Rodney into trouble. In "Wanted", when a mentally unstable woman accuses Rodney of attacking her, Del makes a joke of it and says that the police have named Rodney "The Peckham Pouncer". Del is afraid of doctors and dentists. His favourite song is "Old Shep", as heard in "Diamonds Are for Heather". He believes he is fluent in French when in fact is hopeless at it (he gets bonjour and au revoir mixed up). Del can't swim (he has a certificate, but it doesn't belong to him) as revealed in "Miami Twice", or fly a hang glider very well as seen in "Tea for Three". Despite being not very bright, Del Boy does have a heart of gold at times, such as when he tried to help Rodney get over his wife Cassandra's miscarriage, which resulted in the loss of their first attempt to have a baby. He never hesitates to remind people about how he practically brought Rodney up on his own after their mother died and father left, often using this fact against Rodney to gain the moral high ground whenever the two of them have an argument about anything.

Confusion over age

Del's year of birth is contradicted in several episodes. In "Sleepless in Peckham" (2003), Rodney shows Cassandra a photo of the 1960 Jolly Boys' Outing, and says Del was aged fifteen, making his date of birth around 1945 (although this is acting on information given to him by Sid who was only estimating Del's age). In "Go West Young Man" (series 1, 1981), Del claims to be thirty five, giving him a birth date of 1946. In "A Losing Streak" (series 2, 1982) and "Thicker than Water" (series 3, 1983), Del claims their father left in 1965 on his sixteenth birthday, making his birth date 1949, which would have made Del thirty two (and Rodney nineteen or twenty) around the time of series 1. In "Tea for Three" (series 5, 1986), Rodney tells Trigger's niece Lisa that Del's forty sixth birthday is coming up, making Del's year of birth 1940, however the context in which the scene was acted gave the impression Rodney was lying to give the impression Del was older than he actually was. The episode "The Class of '62" (series 7, 1991) sees Del and friends attending a class reunion, suggesting a birth year of 1946 or 1947. The prequel drama Rock & Chips set in 1960 shows Del at fifteen years of age, this is confirmed in the dialogue between the PE teacher and the boys. The teacher complains about the boys having to stay on another year due to a change in the law, this is in reference to the change in school leaving age of 1960 when it was raised to sixteen. This, however, is at odds with "Big Brother" (Series 1, 1981) in which Del states to Rodney that there is thirteen years age difference between the two. If this had been the case, then Del should have been 12/13 in "Rock & Chips", suggesting a birth year of 1947/1948, as opposed to fifteen. A further dispute is that Boycie (Terence Aubrey Boyce), Tigger (Colin Ball), Denzil Tulser and Roy Slater all the same age as Del at the time Rock & Chips was set, making their birth years 1945 instead of 1948. On several occasions Del refers to them as his old classmates at the old Dockside Secondary Modern when clearly he would have been 2/3 years above them in school [if he was born in 1945]; and Slater's mother even informs Uncle Albert in the episode "To Hull and Back" that Del and Roy sat next to each other in class.

Career

Del works as a market trader, running his own company — Trotters Independent Traders (T.I.T.) - either from out of a suitcase or out of the back of his bright yellow Reliant Regal. With a never-ending supply of get-rich-quick schemes and an inner belief in his ability to sell anything to anyone, Del embroils 'the firm' (as he calls the family business) in all sorts of improbable situations. It is this unwavering confidence that led to his oft-proclaimed but rarely realised ambition "This time next year, we'll be millionaires!" Del's business acumen is probably best described by Rodney in the episode "Mother Nature's Son". During a time when Del is feeling depressed about his financial situation, Rodney states that "The old Derek Trotter could smell a fiver in a force 9 gale. They used to say that if Del Boy fell into a Viper's Pit, he'd come up wearing snake skin shoes."

Although he maintains a tough exterior, family means a lot to Del. He still mourns the death of his mother and runs T.I.T.CO with his younger brother, Rodney. Del takes great pride in having raised Rodney after their mother's premature death and has never forgiven his father for running away when Rodney was just an infant. Despite their often minimal income, Del insists on caring for his elderly Grandad. When Grandad dies, his role in the family trio is taken up by his younger brother (and Del's godfather) Albert, who received the same level of respect (and light-hearted abuse).

References


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Etymology

Nickname of Derek Trotter, a character of this kind in the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses.

Noun

Singular
Del Boy

Plural
Del Boys

Del Boy (plural Del Boys)

  1. (British) a male confidence trickster.

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