There are lots of lovely stories from behind the scenes of Only Fools And Horses in David Jason’s latest memoir, Only Fools And Stories. And one of them concerns the genesis of one of the show’s longest running gags: where Roger Lloyd Pack’s Trigger kept called Nicholas Lyndhurst’s Rodney by the name of Dave.
It’s a joke that appears in the very first episode of the show, Big Brother, arguably having its best pay off a decade later in the episode Three Men, A Woman And A Baby. That, you might recall, is when Trigger is taking bets on the name of Del’s baby. “If it’s a girl they’re going to name it Sigourney, after an actress. And if it’s a boy, they’re going to name him Rodney. After Dave”. Roger Lloyd Pack’s pitch perfect delivery makes that scene every time.
The suggestion for Trigger’s continual name confusion, as it runs out, came from David Jason himself. He suggested the idea in passing to the show’s creator and writer, the late John Sullivan, and as Jason noted, “John ran with it utterly brilliantly”. Sullivan wrote it in the first episode, and kept gradually building the gag up, until it became one of the favourite running jokes in the show. David Jason was bang on the money when he praised the way Sullivan took one suggestion and turned it into something so wonderful.
There are lots of anecdotes of similar ilk in the book, and it’s available now in hardback and ebook from Century.