Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Mothership Obituary: Roger Lloyd-Pack

By Mickie Newton

Roger was born on February 8th 1944 in Islington, England to actor Charles Lloyd-Pack, well known for his roles in the famous Hammer House of Horror films and Ulrike Elizabeth Pulay.

Given some of his best known roles it would be easy to think that Roger was not a brilliant man. But he was fluent in German, Italian and French as well as being able to play the piano, and they were just some of his talents.

Roger has had many excellent roles over his long career, but his best known  will always be that of Del Boy's inept friend, Trigger in 'Only Fool's and Horses' (1981-2003). If Trigger was sharing the same screen space as Del, it was guaranteed he would steal Del's thunder and limelight. But I suspect the equally brilliant Sir David Jason would not complain.

Of course for me, as a Vicar of Dibley (1994-2013) fan his role as Owen Newitt is the most memorable. As himself, Roger was well dressed and very intelligent,  whereas Owen Newitt – not so much. He never came across as the brightest light on the Christmas tree, nor, it seems, had he heard of soap, shall we say you'd be reluctant to touch him with a ten foot barge pole, and industrial thickness rubber gloves. And that wasn't so much down to costume or make-up, but Roger's incredible acting ability that made you believe that Newitt lacked hygiene skills.  He also had some of the most brilliant lines and he delivered them equally brilliantly. We, as a family, would wait with baited breath for the next brilliant quip to leave his mouth.

He wasn't just an accomplished television and film actor, but also a highly respected stage actor and in 1984 he was awarded the London Critics Circle Theatre Award (Drama Theatre Award) for Best Supporting Actor for his performances in One for the Road and Wild Honey. He also made regular appearances at the Shakespeare's Globe in central London. His theatre career went as far back as 1969 when he appeared in 'Hamlet' at the Round House Theatre in London. Here he shared the stage with other greats such as Gordon Jackson, Anthony Hopkins, Marianne Faithful and Michael Elphick. One of his most recent stage roles was in 2007 as Ash in 'Dealers Choice' which played at the Menier Chocolate Factory, London. He appeared alongside Malcolm Sinclair and Samuel Barnett and was directed by Samuel West.

But why is there an obituary for this great man here on Project: Torchwood? Simply this, 2006 was the year Roger left his mark on Doctor Who in the role of the insane John Lumic, in two episodes 'The Age of Steel' and 'The Rise of The Cybermen.'  Lumic, who was the owner of Cybus Industries, created the Cybermen in an alternate universe, we know as 'Pete's World.' He was suffering a terminal degenerative illness and created what he believed was the ultimate upgrade process where human brains are transplanted into cybernetic bodies resulting in what we know as the Cybermen. Ultimately his own brain was transplanted and he became the Cyber Controller. For those who knew Roger best for his comic roles this was quite a leap as Lumic was anything but sweet or inept. But he was most definitely foolish. When he shared the screen with the 10th Doctor it wasn't his first time sharing the screen with David Tennant.

In 2005 Roger played Bartemius 'Barty' Crouch snr, the father of the foul and evil Barty Crouch, [an unrecognisable David Tennant] in 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'. So once again proving the world of Who is very small; especially as they were not the only actors to appear in the Potter films who  either had or would appear in Doctor Who or Torchwood or just had a connection via family members. But I am starting to digress; into what may be a future project.

But of course those who have followed Roger over the years will know that these few roles I have mentioned are not his only excellent screen appearances. He also appeared in; 'Agatha Christie: Poirot' in 2005 as inspector Caux, as Tom in 'The Old Guys' (2009-2010), 'The Survivors' in 2010 as Billy Stringer, 'New Tricks' in 2008 as Danny Jones and closer to the start of his career, 'Hamlet' in 1965 as Reynaldo and in 'Fiddler on the Roof' in 1971 as Sexton.

So what more can I say about Roger Lloyd-Pack other that he will be really missed by his many fans. He was married to Jehane Markham and they had 3 children. Roger's daughter from his first marriage, Emily Lloyd-Pack, was also an actress until she gave it up due to poor health and was best known for her role as the young Cynthia Payne in the 1987 film 'Wish You Were Here.'

Roger passed away at his home, from Pancreatic Cancer, in London, peacfully, with his family at his side.

Here are just a few of the many tributes left by both friends and collegues.
Sir David Jason: "I was very saddened to hear of Roger's passing. He was a very quiet, kind and unassuming actor who was a pleasure to work with. Although he played the simple soul of Trigger in Only Fools And Horses, he was a very intelligent man and a very fine actor capable of many roles. I shall remember him with fondness and for all the good times we had together."

John Challis, best known as Boycie in Only Fools: "I spoke to Roger two days ago. Roger said it was a bit awkward to talk at that particular moment. It is very sad and very distressing. My thoughts are with his family. He was a remarkable man and he'll be missed. Roger is irreplaceable. It's a very sorry day."
Actor James Corden said on Twitter: "So sad to hear about the passing on Roger Lloyd Pack. What an incredible actor and person. May he rest in peace."
So what are your memories of the excellent Roger Lloyd-Pack? Your thoughts of his role as Lumic in Doctor Who and other roles Roger has played. We look forward to reading your thoughts.

Photo and Research Source:

Roger's IMDB Page:

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