Derek Trotter, otherwise known as Del-boy is the principle character in the BBC television show, Only Fools and Horses. Played by David Jason he is the typical loveable, cockney rogue. He lives in Peckham with his brother, Rodney and his Granddad. Later, his uncle Albert replaced Granddad and Rodney moved out to be replaced by his “significant other” Raquel.
Born around 1940, life wasn’t easy for young Derek. His father left his mother before he can remember, possibly before he was born, and his mother died when he was sixteen, leaving him to look after his then two year old brother, Rodney and his elderly granddad. His mother, it seems, told him a lot as she lay on her deathbed, mostly about how to look after Rodney. Although he jokes about it, his mother’s death hurt Del deeply and he visits her grave regularly (once accidentally painting it Intercity Yellow.)
The fact that Derek’s father left him alone made him distrust that entire side of his family. He did, however, care for his brother (perhaps trusting him more because of suspicions about whether they share the same father), even sending him to school for long enough to get two GCEs which Del never had the chance to achieve. Derek really does look after Rodney, although they do occasionally fall out Derek is always looking out for him, sometimes working behind the scenes manipulating circumstances to make Rodney feel better.
At some point presumably in the late 1960s, Derek started the business known as Trotter’s Independent Traders (TIT). Although he never registered the company (“no income tax, no VAT”), it has survived, just, until the mid 1990s. He bought a yellow Robin Regal (not a Reliant as he, and everyone else believes) and adorned it with the words “Trotters Independent Traders, Paris, New York, Peckham.” He works by buying dodgy goods at knockdown prices, and selling them at markets for “absolute bargains,” he doesn’t do brilliantly out of it, and his taste for the finer things in life often leaves him short of cash, but this doesn’t hinder his mentality.
Perhaps Del himself describes his personality best.
"I've survived all my life with a smile and a prayer. I'm Del Boy ain't I. Good old Del Boy, he got more bounce than Zebedee. 'Ere pal what you drinkin'? Go on Darlin' you 'ave one for luck. That's me, that's Del Boy isn't it. Nothing ever upsets Del Boy. I've always played the tough guy. I didn't want to but I had to and I've played it for so long now that I don't know how to be anything else."
Although Del might seem like he takes nothing seriously he is in fact a very caring person, and in the early nineties met a woman named Raquel. Raquel was everything Derek had ever wanted in a woman, she was clever, opinionated but supporting, she also liked him and, after living with him for several weeks eventually decided to go out with him. Soon after that they got married and had a child, Damien. Damien is a child of the city, a Gangsta rapping annoying brat, who Del-boy loves to pieces, even if he and Raquel find him trying at times.
Derek has many contacts, but few close friends. Trigger is one, a slightly dim street sweeper who is loyal to a fault, even if he can’t remember Rodney isn’t called Dave. Boyce is a well-to-do car sales-man who likes to upstage Del whenever he can, however Del enjoys upstaging Boyce just as much, and can cheat at Poker with much more proficiency. Mickey Pierce is more of a friend of Rodney’s but he still occasionally hangs around with Del, trying to get tips for starting his own business. Finally there’s Denzil, a nice, if slightly dodgy bloke.
Originally Del lived in his flat with his Grandad, however, without much warning he died and Derek met his old uncle Albert at the old man’s funeral. Albert tagged along with Derek, telling him war stories, and eventually ended up living with him. Derek never endorsed this union, but felt it was his duty to provide a home for his ex-naval uncle.
Derek’s luck changed in 1996 with the discovery of an antique watch in his possession that he auctioned for 12.4 million pounds. He invested the money in a house, a car and several other expensive possessions, he also used it to fund Trotters Independent Traders. Unfortunately this proved to be his downfall, and in 2001 he lost all of his money when his shares plummeted. Derek initially tried to win his money back on “Goldrush” a show very similar to “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” only with a top prize of £100,000. He failed when the show mistook Rodney’s correct answer for the wrong one and dropped him down to £1. They did later phone him up to rectify this mistake, but, believing it to be Mickey Pierce taking the piss, told them to give all the money to charity. With that he decided to put Trotter’s Independent Traders back into business, with Rodney at its head with him as “chief adviser in charge of sales and purchasing.”
Over the years Derek has picked up a variety of French phrases that he uses at all the wrong times.
Overall life hasn’t been easy for Derek, but he takes it all in his stride and who knows, this time next year, he could be a millionaire.
”You plonker Rodney!”
“This time next year we’ll be millionaires.”