Frederick "Freddie The Frog" 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 Frog's Legacy and he was mentioned again in Sleepless in Peckham before appearing in Rock And Chips. He was a gentleman thief, and a mate of Reg Trotter, and the biological father of Rodney Trotter, as he was very close to Joan Mavis Trotter when Rodney was conceived, however Reg never knew the truth. Freddie was also a disloyal person who was quite ruthless. Freddie was played by Nicholas Lyndhurst.
Frederick Robdal was born in 1919 in London. He was an only child, born to Mr Robdal and Mrs Robdal but Freddie was close to his cousin Norman. Freddie joined the Navy in 1936 aged 17. 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.
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 ran out of petrol on the way so Reg would not come home that night. This would mean Freddie could have his jollies with Joan. He slept 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 June 1960, Freddie and the Trotters as well as Trigger, Denzil and Boycie went on a beano to Margate in Kent and posed for a photo.
When baby Rodney Trotter was born four months later in November 1960, Freddie knew Rodney could be his son, as he had asked Joan to nod her head to him when he asked if the baby was him, and at the time she did not answer him. Joan Trotter knew Freddie was Rodney's father, and that she had tricked Reg into thinking he drunkenly had sex with his wife one night so as to hide her infidelity. One night Joan took Rodney on the balcony of her new 12th floor flat, and saw Freddie on the balcony of a flat in a nearby tower block. She nodded to him that he was Rodney's father. He was delighted. Albert Trotter knew the truth, as he knew Freddie.
In July 1961, Freddie found that Joan was being harrassed by her perverted boss Ernie Rayner. Freddie had all of Rayner's fingers broken. Freddie was then arrested by DI Thomas and underwent a short prison sentence that would end in February 1962. Freddie told a visiting Joan that once he'd served his sentence, Freddie would move to his country home in Bournemouth and start his new life, and even implored Joan to run away with Rodney to live with him.
In February 1962, Freddie's prison sentence ended, and once he heard Joan was working for Roland Purnell, Freddie and Jelly robbed Purnell's art gallery. Freddie still vowed to go straight, unaware that Del's engagement to Barbara Bird had ended in disaster. Freddie received a letter from Joan that she and Rodney can't run away with him to Bournemouth, because Joan still needed to stay in Peckham to look after Del and Reg. At the same time, Joan still longed to be with Freddie, and hoped that Reg would die from a horrible, painful disease, so Joan and Freddie can be together.
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, so that no one knew with was Freddie organising the fake funeral. He bought a casket off Mr. Jahan, a local undertaker, who only supplied the casket. Freddie collected the casket one night, and claimed to be a friend of the deceased "Alfred Broderick". Mr Jahan did not arrange the funeral so would not know where the casket would be buried. Reverend Ian Sturrock was also involved.
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. Freddie did plan to retrieve it, but got killed in September when he sat on a detonator while he and Jelly Kelly were raiding a post office in Plumstead. Freddie's body was found on the roof of the Bradford & Bingley across the street. Jelly was holding the nitro glycerine when Freddie sat down so would be no good in a Mexican wave if he had survived. Freddie died not revealing where the gold was buried, as he had planned to retrieve it but was unexpectedly killed.
After word on Freddie's death spread, Joan was devastated, and she began drinking very heavily, but did sober up in October. But, it seems she developed an alcohol-related illness as she quickly became ill and needed nursing, and knew her illness was terminal, it was liver damage due to alcohol. On her deathbed she gave Del words of wisdom and told her friend Reenie Turpin that Freddie was Rodney's biological father, and that if she knew where Freddie had hidden the gold, her 2 boys would be set for life.
She died in March 1964, but as Freddie had died the previous September, no-one knew where the gold was. Reenie left 2 close up photos of Joan for Rodney but took all the 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. Reenie whispered to Albert that Rodney and Freddie have facial similarities, and that Joan had met Freddie in about 1959, and she was friendly with Freddie around the time Rodney was conceived. Del and Rodney tried to find the lost gold and Del always wondered why Freddie would leave gold to him and Rodney's mum. Rodney started to have his own suspicions that he may be Freddie's son as Freddie befriended Joan Trotter, and Rodney has suspected for a while that him and Del may not have the same father, especially as this was hinted at in late 1983.
Also Del says that rumours were rife that Freddie was seeing a married woman on the same estate the Trotters lived on and that Freddie had a son by that woman, who would be in his mid 20's by now, the same age as Rodney. Rodney is even more worried when he overhears this, and that Freddie liked art which is what Rodney likes. Albert said it was just a rumour, but secretly knew that Rodney was Freddie's son.
Del and Rodney found that Freddie used an alias, called "Alfred Broderick", and that in July 1963, Freddie had arranged a fake funeral to hide the proceeds of the stolen gold. Del was eager to get his hands on the gold. The Trotter family quizzed Mr. Jahan, hoping he knew where the gold was, as his family supplied the casket, however that is all they did. Mr Jahan said that Freddie collected it one night, and he had no idea where Freddie took the casket. Del was disappointed but Del then wanted Albert to visit all the churches and cemeteries in the Peckham area, and look at every headstone on every grave for an Alfred Broderick grave. The Trotters searched high and low for the lost gold, such as trying local stone masons and church records on top of already trawling through every cemetery and church in South London. Albert never told them that Freddie was a frogman and a deep sea diver, meaning that Del and Rodney could have put 2 and 2 together, and assume Freddie had the gold buried at sea, thus saving them the wild goose chase.
Due to Albert withholding info about Freddie's occupation, Del and Rodney never found the lost gold until they found it was hidden at sea when Reverend Ian Sturrock 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. Yet again, 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 Freddie for the next 16 years but Rodney still kept his suspicions as he knew Joan and Reg had a sham marriage and she was seeing Robdal around the time Rodney was conceived.
In 2003, Rodders borrowed a photo from Sid of the first Jolly Boys Outing to Margate in 1960. Rodney wanted to enlarge the pic to embarrass Del to see how silly he and his mates looked aged 15. When Rodney got the enlargement, not penis lol, he saw a photo of Freddie in it and he knew the shocking truth. Until then, Rodney was told of his physical similarities to Freddie 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 Freddie, and they don't need DNA with this one.
Rodney says he had suspected for years due to rumours that he and Freddie had facial similarities and were the same height. Rodney knew Freddie was a friend of him and Del's mum Joan. Rodney must have guessed that where there is smoke, there is fire. Del also said to Raquel 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 while his mum knew Freddie, he just knew him as "Uncle Fred", and was unaware of his surname. (And in 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 at a wet corset contest, a drunk Albert told him about Freddie and Joan. He also said how Reenie burned any photos of Joan with Freddie in it and left two 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, but soon kept it a secret from Rodney after finding out from Albert, who had died 2 years before Rodney found out the truth.
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 Freddie.
- While his name was never mentioned in this episode, in the 1983 Christmas episode, Thicker than Water, 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 by name in The Frog's Legacy. 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.
Full Name: Frederick Robdal
Children: Rodney Trotter (1960)
Grandchildren: Joan Trotter Jnr
First Cousins: Norman
Occupation: Sailor (1939-1945), Frogman (1939-1945), Professional Safe cracker (1945-1963)
In "The Frog's Legacy", Reverend Ian Sturrock said that Freddie's parents were buried in the church which was in Hampshire. Freddie had a cottage down that way, as well as another in Bournemouth.