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Colin Ball, more commonly known as Trigger, is a fictional character in the popular BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses and its prequel Rock & Chips. He was played by Roger Lloyd-Pack in Only Fools and Horses and Lewis Osbourne in Rock & Chips.

A childhood friend of Del Boy, he is a roadsweeper and (occasionally) petty criminal known for his stupidity, in particular his belief that Rodney's name is Dave.

Characterisation

A regular at The Nag's Head, and an old friend of Del Boy, Trigger is a road sweeper, and also appears to dabble in trading and petty thefts. He once supplied Del with paint which Del proceeded to use to decorate his mother's grave. Only then did Trigger inform him that the paint was used on signs in railway tunnels and was, therefore, luminous. He also supplies a load of stolen cigarettes, and in the opening episode he announces to Del that "he popped round to his sisters to sort out an alibi for next Thursday." Trigger has appeared on Only Fools and Horses since the very first episode, "Big Brother", and carried on appearing in almost every episode and Christmas special until the final episode and 2003 Christmas special, "Sleepless in Peckham". He also appeared in the prequel series Rock & Chips.

In the pilot episode Rodney asked Del where Trigger got his nickname, thinking Trigger was an armed criminal (i.e. a trigger man). Del however replies that it's because "he looks like an horse", this being a reference to the famous screen horse, Trigger, of the 1950s and 1960s, as Del says to Trig later on "You know what happened to the real Trigger don't you? Roy Rogers had him stuffed!"

Trigger speaks in a fairly slow, monotone voice, but he is loyal, friendly and kind. However, Trigger's most noticeable trait is that he is stupid beyond belief, which is a source of much humour in the show, despite him remaining deadly serious in his delivery. For example, in one episode, Del had relationship problems with Raquel and a very bad tooth. Whilst talking about the problems with Raquel, Trigger confused the subjects, advising him to just "get shot of it," and proceeding to say, "I know what it's like, you give them pet names, I've done it, but take my advice, go to the dentist and have it taken out."

Even the simplest joke can go over Trigger's head and he often makes ridiculously stupid statements. Most noticeably of all, he insists on calling Rodney "Dave". This began in "Big Brother" when Del introduced Rodney to Trigger saying "Trig', have you met my brother?"; despite having never met Rodney before, Trigger mistakenly answers "Yeah, 'course, how ya going, Dave?" The name appears to have stuck with Trigger and much to Rodney's despair he appears now to have resigned to it, despite having attempted to get through to Trigger on several occasions that he is called Rodney and nobody else calls him Dave. On one particularly odd occasion, Trigger relays that if Raquel's unborn child (later Damien) is a girl Del and Raquel plan to name her Sigourney after Sigourney Weaver, but if it's a boy they're going to name him "Rodney, after Dave."

Trigger did not know his father and in all seriousness says "he died a couple of years before I was born" when Rodney asks of his whereabouts in the early episode, Ashes to Ashes. He was brought up by his grandparents, with his grandfather having also been a roadsweeper. Trigger is unsurprisingly not married, although he occasionally mentions past relationships during the series and is seen on a blind date with a woman in the 1988 Christmas special, Dates.

In the episode "Heroes and Villains", Trigger wins an award for owning the same broom for 20 years. He reveals that it has had 17 new heads and 14 new handles, but insists it is still the same broom. This has given rise to the expression "Trigger's broom" (more properly known as the Ship of Theseus paradox). For example : "Sugababes are the Trigger's broom of pop music", indicating that none of the original line-up remain in the group.

Appearances

Trigger first appeared on Only Fools and Horses in the first episode and appeared regularly throughout the entire show's run. He is an example of a breakout character in that he became popular with the show's audience, despite his status as a minor, supporting character.

Trigger appears as a teenager in the Only Fools and Horses prequel series, Rock & Chips, where he is portrayed as equally daft as in the main series. As shown in "Sleepless in Peckham", he accompanies Del, his gang, his family and Freddie the Frog on the first Jolly Boys' Outing in 1960. Trigger is a relatively minor character in the prequel series, giving a daft remark every now and again, but he receives a rather notable mention in "The Frog and the Pussycat" when Violet Trotter, Del's grandmother, mentions Grandad's affair with Trigger's grandmother, Alice Ball[5] (marking the first time in the history of the Only Fools and Horses franchise that Trigger's real name is mentioned). At one point in the pilot episode, Reg asks Del and Jumbo if Trigger is mentally OK, since he once spotted Trigger laughing at a television set which was turned off.

Trigger was scripted to appear in the 2014 Only Fools and Horses sketch for Sport Relief, but Lloyd-Pack died on 15 January 2014, from pancreatic cancer. The script was subsequently rewritten to omit his role, although it is mentioned in the sketch that Trigger cannot assist Del and Rodney with their latest business venture because he is working at the market. The sketch was dedicated to the memory of Lloyd-Pack and John Sullivan.