Grotbags: Good Old-Fashioned Witchy TV Fun

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Grotbags is a grumpy TV witch from the 1990s who holds a special place in the heart of GEMMA JOHNSON. But will the Junior Paranormal Event Ambassadors feel the same way?

Carol Lee Scott as Grotbags
Carol Lee Scott as Grotbags

TITLE: Grotbags
CREATOR: Carol Lee Scott
CAST: Carol Lee Scott, Rchard Coombs, Francis Wright
ORIGINAL RELEASE: 4 September 1991–10 February 1993 on ITV
NUMBER OF SERIES: 3
NUMBER OF EPISODES: 29

Long before I encountered Maleficent or the Wicked Witch of the West, there was Grotbags – my first witch.

Played by the magnificent Carol Lee Scott, Grotbags took up a spooky place in my heart and has remained there ever since. 

Spooky Isles has given me the opportunity to remind people of that and introduce her, and her glorious green hue, to a new generation. 

Grotbags Backgrounder

Grotbags first graced our screens back in 1982 as part of the show Emu’s World with Rod Hull. There she remained until 1991 when she was granted her own spin off show which ran from 1991 until 1993 spanning across three series. 

The programme focuses upon a grumpy witch who lives with some interesting characters including a lumpy left-over spell inside a talking cauldron.

The Episode

We watched Episode 8 from Series 1 – The Wild Gerbil of Gloucester which aired in 1991. 

(Side note: I had forgotten how catchy the theme tune is so much so that I am now on a mission to find it and use it as a ring tone.)

Bad news… Colin the Bat, Norman Nettle and Doris the Dodo are all poorly.  Even worse for them, Grotbags has a bedside manner like Nurse Ratched, so she is less than sympathetic. 

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Grotbags is adamant that she has never once been ill in her entire life, but her crew of sickly sidekicks are quick to correct that much to her annoyance.  In a bid to ‘shut them up’ Grotbags delights them with a story about a gerbil from Gloucester. 

But hold on, there is a new development.  Grotbags receives a letter – yes, handwritten letters were still a thing back in the early nineties something that baffled our junior ambassadors. “Just send an email, it’s quicker”… I doubt Grotbags would have the patience to deal with modern technology, but it would have been very entertaining to see!

Grotbags has a visitor coming to see her, but it seems that Grotbags has been grossly over exaggerating who she is, a world-famous cook– I guess you could say an early form of catfishing perhaps? 

Now this is the point where most of us adults can empathise with old Grotty – she wants to keep up appearances and does everything to try to live up to her grossly inflated tales. We have all been there, who are we to judge.

But Karma is a wonderful thing, and everything backfires on her when the magical feast turns out to be made of fireworks. Cue exploding food. Delicious!

Our Review

Aubrey: Its really good and I can tell why people liked it back then. My favourite character was the gross lumpy thing that lived in the cauldron – he kept popping up wearing different things and he had a funny voice. I didn’t like Norman Nettle because he wasn’t that funny. 

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Finlay: I thought that the programme was weird but in a good way. Grotbags is grumpy and I liked that. I didn’t like the bit with the poorly creatures and Grotbags telling them a story, but I did like the exploding food at the end of it.

How does it compare to today’s spooky viewing?

Grotbags is grumpy and Grotbags wouldn’t care about subscriber numbers or what you thought of her social media platforms – if you didn’t like her, you could lump it and that it is what is different today. 

The spooky viewing of today is more focused upon the followers and subscribers than it is the individual viewing experience.  Grotbags reached out to you to let you know it was ok not to have a good day and sometimes everyone is a bit grumpy. It was good honest viewing, no special effects, no photoshopping and no AI just old Grotty and her sidekicks. 

I think we could all learn something from her, grumpiness aside (which I love by the way!) she was her authentic self, even out of costume Carol Lee Scott was quirky, and she made no apologies for that.

One of the conclusions that my family made from watching Grotbags is that I am slowly turning in to her and guess what – I am not offended in the slightest because she was a legend! In a world where we often produce remakes of popular shows and films, I hope that Grotbags never gets remade because there is only ever one Grotbags and no one else could ever do that role justice. Thanks for the memories, Carol. 

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Now we must go – there’s somebody at the door!

Stay Spooky!
Gemma, Michael, Finlay, and Aubrey
Junior Paranormal Events

What do you think of Grotbags? Tell us your memories in the comments section below!

Find out about Junior Paranormal Events in our interview with them!

Watch Grotbags Video

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