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Freddie The Frog, Freddie Robdal.

Frederick "Freddie" Robdal was an unseen character in Only Fools And Horses, having died meany years before the series arc began but was a regular character in the 2010 OFAH prequel Rock And Chips. Freddie was first mentioned in The Frogs Legacy (25th December 1987) and Sleepless In Peckham (25th December 2003) before appearing in Rock And Chips. He was a gentleman thief and the biological father of Rodney Trotter.

Biography

Backstory

Frederick Robdal was born in 1919 in London. He was an only child but was close to his cousin Norman. Freddie's mother died in the Second World War and he had her buried in a church in Hampshire, where he had a holiday cottage. Freddie joined the Navy when young and was a frogman and deep sea diver. He earned the nickname Freddie The Frog due to his frogman days. Due to his occupation he spent much of his time in the London Docks where he met Albert Trotter, who was the relative of Reg Trotter, a future mate of Freddie's. Freddie became a career criminal after leaving the Navy, embarking on being a professional safe cracker and burglar. His best friend was Gerald "Jelly" Kelly.

In about 1949, Freddie was sent to prison for 10 years. He was paroled in February 1960.

1960-1963

In early 1960, Freddie Robdal became close to Joan Mavis Trotter, the wife of his friend Reg Trotter. Joan was having a hard time with Reg and sought comfort in Robdal despite his criminal profile. In February 1960, Freddie and Joan slept together when Reg was out. Freddie had sent Reg on a job in Kent and made sure the car broke down on the way so Reg would not come home that night. This would mean Freddie could have his jollies with Joan.

In June 1960, Joan found she was pregnant. Reg said it must have been when he came home one night after a football match and was drunk and him and Joan had sex. Joan was already pregnant at the time and Reg assumed he was the father. In July 1960, Freddie and the Trotters as well as Trigger, Denzel and Boycie went on a beano to Margate in Kent and posed for a photo.

When baby Rodney Trotter was born 4 months later in November 1960, Freddie knew Rodney could be his son. In 1961, Freddie found that Joan was being harrassed by her pervy boss Ernie Rayner. Freddie had Ernie's fingers broken.

In July 1963, Freddie planned a bank raid so organised a fake funeral in which to hide the proceeds. He used an alias "Alfred Broderick" which is an anagram of Frederick Robdal. He bought a casket off Mr Jahan, a local undertaker.

In August 1963, Freddie and his mates broke into the vaults of a bank in London City. The police were called and the rest of the gang got caught but Freddie and some gold bullion got away. He hid the gold at sea using the casket he bought off Mr Jahan but left the gold to Joan Trotter in his will. He did plan to retrieve it but got killed when he sat on a detonator while raiding a post office in Plumstead.

Albert Trotter knew this, as he knew Freddie. Joan Trotter knew it is highly likely Freddie was Rodney's father. She died in March 1964 after a long illness, but as Freddie had died the previous September, no one knew where the gold was. Reenie Turpin took photos of Joan and Freddie together out of the Trotters flat and burnt them as she knew that as Rodney got older, people would notice the "stimularities" in Del's words, between Freddie and Rodney, and that Rodney would find out he and Del are only half siblings. In 1966 Rodney was 6 and quite tall for his age and this was the first time that Del started to think that maybe they have different fathers. He never told Rodney his suspicions and Rodney himself was not to find out about Freddie for the next 20 years.

Freddie The Frog's Legacy (1963-2003)

In 1987, 24 years after Freddie died, Del got chatting with Reenie at her great niece Lisa's wedding. Lisa was the niece of Trigger. Reenie said that Freddie Robdal had left Joan some gold in his will if ever he died. Reenie whispered to Albert that Rodney and Freddie have facial similarities. Del and Rodney tried to find the lost gold and Del always wondered why Freddie would leave gold to him and Rodney's mum. Also Del says rumours were rife that Freddie was seeing a married woman on the same estate the Trotters lived on and had a son by that woman, who would be in his mid 20s by now. Rodney is even more worried when he overhears this, and that Freddie liked art which is what Rodney likes.

The Trotters searched high and low for the lost gold, such as trying local stone masons, church records, and they trawled every cemetery and churchyard in South London. They never found the lost gold until they found it was hidden at sea when the vicar said he knew Mr Robdal. Del and Rodney deduced that Albert would have known that Robdal was a deep sea diver and sailor, and if he had said so in the first place then it could have spared Del and Rodney looking through every churchyard and cemetery in South London. Del almost hit Albert with a spade but Rodney restrained him. As usual, a thick skinned Albert soon got over it. Rodney then asked Albert if he looks like Robdal. Albert dismissed that Rodney could be Freddie's son as rumours but Rodney says he always felt like a cuckoo.

Nothing more was said about Robdal for the next 16 years but Rodney still kept his suspicions. In 2003, he borrowed a photo from Sid of the first Jolly Boys Outing to Margate in 1960. Rodney wanted to enlarge the pic. When he got the enlargement, not penis lol, he saw a photo of Freddie Robdal in it. Until then Rodney was told of his physical similarities to Robdal but had never seen a pic of him. When he saw the pic, he said to his wife Cassandra Trotter that he looks just like Robdal, and they dont need DNA with this one. Rodney says he had suspected for years. Del also said that he suspected that him and Rodney may not share the same genetic father once Rodney reached early childhood as he was quite tall for his age. Del said that when his mum knew Freddie, that he just knew him as "Uncle Fred", and was unaware of his surname. (And 1987, when Del found out that his mum was bequeathed some gold in her will would be the time when Del knew this Uncle Fred was Freddie Robdal). Del said that one night Albert told him about Freddie Robdal and his mum. He also said how Reenie burned any photos of Joan with Freddie Robdal in it and left 2 close ups of Joan by herself for Rodney. At the time Del was unaware that Rodney had found out the truth about his real father.

After Rodney became a dad, he asked Del if he was like Freddie other than looks. Del played dumb but Rodney knew that Del knew something thanks to the photo Sid lent him. Rodney said "Freddie Robdal, my father". Del said that Freddie was a professional burglar, he was disloyal to his friends. He was also a cheat, home breaker, thief, liar and a conman so Rodney is nothing like him.

Observations

  • While his name was never mentioned, in Thicker Than Water (25th December 1983), Grandad Trotter said that when Joan fell pregnant with Rodney she was having many rows with her husband Reg and was seeing "new friends". The only name mentioned was a trumpet player. One of those new friends was Freddie Robdal, Rodney's real father. This ties in with Rock And Chips (24 January 2010) where Joan first met Freddie Robdal, a friend of Reg. In R&C Reg was told by Joan that she was pregnant again and he said it must have been the night when he came home drunk after celebrating his football team win and him and Joan got passionate, unaware she was already a few weeks pregnant by then.
  • Freddie Robdal was first mentioned in The Frogs Legacy (25th December 1987). He was said to be an old friend of Joan Trotter, at around the time she fell pregnant with Rodney, while she was married to Reg Trotter. Reenie Turpin whispered to Albert Trotter that there is a likeness between Rodney and Freddie Robdal.

Memorable info

Born: 1919

Full Name: Frederick Robdal

Parents: Mr Robdal and Mrs Robdal

Siblings: None

Children: Rodney Trotter (1960)

Grandchildren: Joan Trotter Jnr

First Cousins: Norman

Occupation: Sailor (1939-1945), Frogman (1939-1945), Professional Safecracker (1945-1963)

In The Frogs Legacy (25th December 1987), the vicar said that Freddie's parents were buried in the church which was in Hampshire. Freddie had a cottage down that way.

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