Grandad was easily one of the best characters on Only Fools and Horses. The elderly relative of Rodney and Del Boy Trotter was a firm fixture of the BBC sitcom until actor Lennard Pearce’s tragic death from a heart attack in 1984.
He became “like family” to co-stars Nicholas Lyndhurst and David Jason, and a favourite of Only Fools and Horses fans. Grandad became known for his famous war stories, always identifiable by his catchphrase, “during the war,” as well as his terrible cooking, and knack for ruining simple dishes – like when he cooked a Christmas turkey with the plastic bag full of giblets still inside it.
But Del Boy once once explained to Rodney, he always let Grandad do the cooking to let him feel he still has a purpose in life, despite the food being terrible. In an episode after Grandad’s death, Del cooks for himself but declares he can’t eat it “because it’s nothing like Grandad’s… it tastes nice.”
Although Del compared Grandad to “an out of work lamp-lighter waiting for gas to make a comeback” who was as useful as “a pair of sunglasses on a bloke with one ear,” it was said with love – and the boys were devastated both in real life and in the show when they lost their co-star.
Old fans of the series who have watched every single episode will most likely know that Grandad’s real name is Ted, short for Edward, Trotter. But what you might not have realised is his first name was never used or even mentioned in the entire original series, according to IMDb.
It was only when the show’s prequel series, Rock and Chips, aired in 2010 that Grandad’s first name was finally revealed. The later show focused on the early years of the Trotter family, in which actor Phil Daniels took up the mantle of Grandad, playing a younger Edward Trotter during Del Boy’s youth in Peckham in the 60s.
Lennard Pearce died suddenly from a heart attack aged 69 in December 1984 during the fourth Only Fools and Horses series. His death left his co-stars shocked and distraught, and threw production into disarray with many of the pre-recorded scenes featuring grandad being reshot with Buster Merryfield’s Uncle Albert.