Died: 7 April 1997
Played by: Peter Baldwin
Appeared: 7 June 1976 - 7 April 1997
A wonderful image was painted of Derek by his mother: When he was younger he had the whole of the local tennis club at his feet - but only the females, she was quick to add! However, all of them melted away into marriage until he didn't even have a partner for the mixed foursome! On her first meeting with Mavis Riley in 1976, Derek's future wife (though it would take them around 20 years to finally tie the knot !), Mrs Wilton described her as a "walking ice-cream sundae".
After an abortive house purchase, Derek left the scene and only re-appeared in April 1989, working for Sandicrofts, who produced seasonal novelties for retailers. He persuaded Mavis (who was temporarily working in the Corner Shop) to buy a gross (that's 144 !) of chocolate Easter Bunnies for Easter. With the Corner Shop and The Kabin completely overstocked, Derek won a canteen of cutlery in a sales competition. With Derek's typical insensitivity he told Mavis he was giving this to his mother. Later Rita Fairclough pricked his conscience and he gave it to Mavis - who cooked him a meal in gratitude, and somehow managed to find herself loosing the cutlery back to Derek's mother.
The Wiltons have become the harbingers of middle-class taste
on the street. They have their nice little garden (with gnomes),
and now a conservatory.
Derek has an obsessive personality and easily gets hooked on different things, just as quickly leaving them again when he discovers how much work and effort is involved. Running machine, giant vegetables, jogging, pyramid selling are just a few examples.
He has no sense of humour and so is easily wound up and made to look foolish without him being aware of it. Des Barnes is the Wiltons neighbour, and is always ready to make a joke at their expense, theyre too easy to resist. This has led to a number of incidents where Derek is convinced that Des is playing a trick on them, when the event was real, eg when they wanted to get an allotment. Des said that he knew someone on the council who could help, and he did. But when Derek met the man and he turned out to be called Hedges, he thought that he was in league with Des and having him on. Derek's attempts at playful banter became very insulting to the real council man. However, he didn't hold it against them and they got their allotment.
Norris played a prank on Derek by stealing his male gnome (they were called Arthur and Guineviere!) and sending postcards to Derek from around the world, signed by Arthur. Derek was also sent ransom notes, and one night went to the Red Rec to keep an assignation with the kidnapper. At this point there was a flasher round the street and Derek was arrested under suspicion. However, his alibi was so weird the police had to believe it.
The kidnappers identity was only discovered when Derek was staying with Norris on the night before his wedding, and found Arthur in the wardrobe. He'd thought it was Des again.
Once they had the allotment, Derek chatted to Billy Williams who has the neighbouring plot and grows giant vegetables for competition. Derek thought this was a great idea and decided to go in for turnips, leading to all sorts of jokes. His prize specimen was cut in half when the Mallets were digging the foundations for the conservatory.
Derek had some problems getting a job, and took to pyramid selling of environmental gadgets like humidifiers. He was hopeless, and their friends (or acquaintances) stopped going near them so they wouldn't be subjected to the hard sell. At this point, he introduced Norris to the program and he did very well. After this, Derek swallowed his pride and went to his ex-wife, Angela Hawthorne, who ran a stationery business. She took him on and he spent many happy days dreaming about his company car. Imagine his dismay when he returned one night in a lime green Corsa with a huge orange paperclip on the roof.
There are many incidents like this in the Wiltons life: they picture a lovely cosy scenario and then it all comes crashing down around them. I have to say though that they've done a good job on their garden.
Derek is completely smitten with Mavis and sees her as a cross between Marilyn Monroe and the Madonna. That's a heady combination for any man. He sees any man with her as a potential seducer, because after all, who wouldn't be tempted by Mavis?