Tim Firth's Rottentrolls

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The Children's Company

The Children's Company

All of Tim Firth's children's programmes come under the umbrella of The Children's Company, which was initially set up Tim Firth and Robert Howes to produce the first Rottentrolls book. The Children's Company has gone on to produce other programmes which include Ripley And Scuff and Combat Sheep.


The Rottentrolls

The Rottentrolls is written by Tim Firth and is based on characters created by Gordon Firth (Tim's dad).

The first series won a BAFTA and subsequent series garnered several more BAFTA and RTS nominations.


How it all started...

The Rottentrolls started life as tiny little booklet produced afor WHSmith. The original commission was to provide a 'spooky story' for children as part of a series of children's books but the only truly original 'spooky' story to hand was one Tim's dad had told him as a kid whilst on holiday in Yorkshire. This related to a village and valley called Troller's Ghyll, home (allegedly) to some trolls and a dog-like beast called the Barguest. (The village, ironically, was Appletreewick, less than a mile from Burnsall where twenty years later 'Calendar Girls' was filmed).
Assembling the cast list of trolls was achieved in a rather unusual way. " I put a compass in the OS map of the area, centred on Troller's Ghyll and drew a circle of about 5cm radius. I then harvested the strangest-sounding villages and geographical features. These then seemed to suggest, bizarrely, the colours of various different mad characters. Yockenthwaite would clearly be an idiot because it had a 'k' in it. Sigsworthy Crags would clearly be off his trolley, but older. Penyghent would be femaleā€¦.and so on. I wish every assembly of characters was that easy'.

The Rottentrolls was turned into a television series for ITV by the Children's Company, founded by Robert Howes with Tim. Tim's dad - the original storyteller, headteacher and now artist - drew up the designs for all the characters from which the puppets were made. Tim wrote all 39 episodes of the four series.


The cast

The voices of the Rottentrolls were provided in the first series by John Thompson, Phil Cornwell and Rebecca Front, who was replaced by Ronnie Ancona for the subsequent three series. The narrator in each series was Martin Clunes and the part of the child was played by Nick Barber. In the last two series Nick was joined by Holly Grainger who had first worked with Tim at the age of four as 'Kirsty', the focal point of the main story in Preston Front. By now she was about eleven. The first series won a BAFTA and subsequent series garnered several more BAFTA and RTS nominations.


The Spin Offs...

There have been two spin-offs from the Rottentrolls: a pre-school series called Ripley And Scuff which also won a BAFTA (and featured Tim's dad Gordon as its resident artist) and Combat Sheep.

Ripley & Scuff

Ripley & Scuff - the stars of the show Gordon Firth with Ripley & Scuff and guests

Combat Sheep




COMBAT SHEEP is an adult Christmas special centring on Commander Harris, the deluded ex-army sheep mascot from the show. It is a heart warming Christmas story of four army mascots who have been made redundant due to army cutbacks and are jettisoned into the cold to face civvie life and its bleak options on offer.

The cast

The voices this time were provided by Steve Coogan (HARRIS), Ronnie Ancona (PEACHES), Mark Williams (MOOSE) and Kevin Eldon (COOPER). It also featured two non-sheep, Christopher Ellison & Mark Benton.
Created by Tim Firth
Additional Material by Peter Baynham & Graham Duff
Directed by Domonic Brigstocke
Producer Robert Howes
Executive Producers: Steve Coogan & Henry Normal
A co-production by Baby Cow and The Children's Company


DVDs are available:

Other scripts, CDs and DVDs of Tim Firth's work are available.

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State of Emergency
CCD 9259


Combat Without Contact
CCD 9258