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Portrayed by Carol Lee Scott
Species human/witch
Gender female

Grotbags is the name of a fictional witch who was a popular fixture on British children's television during the 1980s and early 1990s. A character sculpted very much in the mould of the traditional pantomime villain, Grotbags has always been played by actress and singer Carol Lee Scott in a costume comprising distinctive vivid green make-up and a witch's cape and hat. The character was created for the series Emu's World, made by Central Independent Television, which was first screened on the ITV network in 1982.

Grotbags' role was largely to act as a nemesis to the good and virtuous character played by actor and puppeteer Rod Hull, often with the hindrance of her two companions, a cowardly crocodile named Croc and a politely-mannered and camp robot butler, Redford (a pun on the name Robert Redford). Her presence in the show largely involved threatening to steal Hull's 'pet' Emu and terrorising the children inside The Pink Windmill (Hull's fictional home in the series). The children comprised students from the Corona Academy. Her weapon of choice was a "bazazzer," a gold-coloured arm with an umbrella handle. This was pointed at the offending article or person, and was activated by Grotbags shouting "bazazz!", but it would not inflict any harm upon the recipient. The bazazzer sometimes doubled up as a mobile telephone.

The programme's weekly storyline would usually revolve around a surprise visit from Grotbags or her companions, who would gain entry to the Pink Windmill by ringing the doorbell. This would cause an excited Hull, followed by the children, to dance around chanting ("There's somebody at the door, there's somebody at the door"), which provided the show's most memorable catchphrase. An unwitting Hull would then open the door, letting the villain in. However, Grotbags' plans were always seen to fail, a plot device which served to educate younger viewers that good should always triumph over evil.

Emu's World was replaced after a few series by Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show, in which Grotbags offered contestants from the audience the chance to win prizes in her 'grotto'. Grotbags then went on to host her own TV series transmitted by ITV between 1991 and 1993 with her puppet lodgers, Doris the Dodo Richard Coombs and Colin the Bat Francis Wright. The same performers also played Grumble, her cauldron, and Lumpy - a silver-tongued creature made up of left-over spells. Lumpy's voice was based on Noël Coward. Grumble's was not.

The scripts for the series were written by Bob Hescott and directed by Colin Clews.

Scott continued to play Grotbags in pantomime and at live functions with the occasional TV appearance for some time after the end of the series, but has since retired from performing.

Transmission guide[edit]

  • Series 1: 13 editions from 4 September 1991 - 18 December 1991
  • Series 2: 10 editions from 9 September 1992 - 11 November 1992
  • Series 3: 6 editions from 6 January 1993 - 10 February 1993

External links[edit]