Tim Firth

Last updated

Tim Firth
Born (1964-10-13) 13 October 1964 (age 58)
Frodsham, Cheshire, England
Occupation(s) Dramatist, screenwriter, songwriter
Notable work Roger and the Rottentrolls
ParentGordon Firth (father)

Tim Firth (born 13 October 1964) is an English dramatist, screenwriter and songwriter.


Life and career

Firth was born in Frodsham, England. He spent much of his time at school writing songs and it was only a few weeks before going to Cambridge to read English that he attended an Arvon Foundation course in West Yorkshire. This was run by Willy Russell and whilst on it, Firth had to write dialogue. He wrote about the only thing he knew - two sixteen-year-olds trying to write a song. Another course participant optioned it for his production company and Firth decided to become a writer. While at Cambridge he joined the Footlights where his contemporaries included David Baddiel who later invited him to contribute music to The Mary Whitehouse Experience on BBC radio. His first plays at this time were all directed by Sam Mendes.

On leaving Cambridge, he wrote and composed music for the award winning Radio Four series And Now In Colour but was soon invited to meet Alan Ayckbourn in Scarborough and commissioned to write a play for the studio at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. His one-act play A Man Of Letters was a success and led to the commissioning of a full-length play from Ayckbourn, Neville's Island, which later transferred to the West End, has been seen in translation all round the world and has been in almost continuous production since its premiere. It was revived in the West End in 2013 at the Duke of York's Theatre.

Along with his father, Gordon Firth, he created the TV series Roger and the Rotten Trolls , running for four series' and winning a BAFTA. The spin off series Ripley and Scuff also won a BAFTA, and more recently the Radio Times voted the original series one of the 50 Greatest Children's TV Shows of All Time. [1]

During two successive Christmas runs, the stage version of his TV film The Flint Street Nativity at the Liverpool Playhouse became the most successful Christmas production in the theatre's history.

His play Calendar Girls , adapted by Firth from his own film, found favour with audiences across the UK during its 2008/09 tour, and in the process broke the all time British box office record for a play and also continued to sell out during its West End residency. In 2010, the hit comedy embarked on a UK country wide tour and has since been produced worldwide.

2013 marked the premiere of Firth's first solo musical, This Is My Family for which he wrote book, lyrics and music. Directed by Daniel Evans, it premiered at the Crucible Theatre on 19 June 2013, [2] and then embarked on a UK national tour, starting at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield in October 2014. [3] This Is My Family won the UK Theatre Award for Best New Musical and Sian Phillips won Best Supporting Actress. [4]

The Girls , directed by Tim Firth, and co-written with Gary Barlow opened at the Phoenix Theatre, London in 2017, winning a WhatsOnStage Award and being nominated for three Olivier Awards. As Calendar Girls: The Musical, it embarked on a national tour in 2018.

In September 2017, Firth’s new musical The Band , featuring the music of Take That, was premiered at the Manchester Opera House, prior to a national tour. It had a West End season at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 2018.

In 2004, Firth released a solo album, Harmless Flirting, completing a tour of words and music with fellow playwright Willy Russell that won positive reviews at the Edinburgh Festival.

For television, his TV credits include Money For Nothing (which won a Writer’s Guild Award), Roger and the Rottentrolls (winner of a BAFTA Award), Cruise of the Gods , The Flint Street Nativity, All Quiet on the Preston Front (winning a Writer’s Guild Award, British Comedy Award, Royal Television Society Award and BAFTA nomination). Tim also produced a season of single comedy plays entitled Trapped, and wrote the Sky Arts single drama Timeless.

Tim’s film credits include Blackball (2002), Calendar Girls (2002, which won a British Comedy Award) and Kinky Boots (2004, Best International Film, Florida Film Festival), and The Wedding Video (2014).

In 2004, Firth became a Companion of The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.

In March 2010, Firth was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters, honoris causa by the University of Chester. [5]

Theatre work

Selected filmography as writer (or co-writer)

Television films

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alan Ayckbourn</span> English playwright (born 1939)

Sir Alan Ayckbourn is a prolific British playwright and director. He has written and produced as of 2023, 89 full-length plays in Scarborough and London and was, between 1972 and 2009, the artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, where all but four of his plays have received their first performance. More than 40 have subsequently been produced in the West End, at the Royal National Theatre or by the Royal Shakespeare Company since his first hit Relatively Speaking opened at the Duke of York's Theatre in 1967.

<i>My Fair Lady</i> 1956 musical based on Shaws "Pygmalion"

My Fair Lady is a musical based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 play Pygmalion, with a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. The story concerns Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from professor Henry Higgins, a phonetician, so that she may pass as a lady. Despite his cynical nature and difficulty understanding women, Higgins grows attached to her.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Julie Walters</span> English actress (b. 1950)

Dame Julia Mary Walters, known professionally as Julie Walters, is an English actress. She is the recipient of four British Academy Television Awards, two British Academy Film Awards, two International Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and a Laurence Olivier Award. Walters has been nominated for two Academy Awards—once for Best Actress and once for Best Supporting Actress—in both acting categories. She was honored with the BAFTA Fellowship for lifetime achievement in 2014. She was made a Dame (DBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2017 for services to drama.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Willy Russell</span> British dramatist, lyricist and composer

William Russell is an English dramatist, lyricist and composer. His best known works are Educating Rita, Shirley Valentine, Blood Brothers and Our Day Out.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Godber</span> Popular English playwright, born 1956

John Harry Godber is known mainly for observational comedies. The Plays and Players Yearbook of 1993 rated him the third most performed playwright in the UK after William Shakespeare and Alan Ayckbourn. He has been creative director of the Theatre Royal Wakefield since 2011.

Mark Little is an Australian actor, television presenter, comedian and screen/stage writer. He is known for portraying the role of Joe Mangel from 1988-1991, 2005 and 2022 on the Australian soap opera Neighbours.

Claire Skinner is an English actress, known in the United Kingdom for her television career, particularly playing Sue Brockman from the BBC television series Outnumbered.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Matthew Warchus</span> British director and dramatist

Matthew Warchus is a British theatre director, filmmaker and dramaturg. He has been the Artistic Director of London's The Old Vic since September 2015.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trevor Eve</span> British actor

Trevor John Eve is an English film and television actor. In 1979 he gained fame as the eponymous lead in the detective series Shoestring and is also known for his role as Detective Superintendent Peter Boyd in BBC television drama Waking the Dead. He is the father of three children, including actress Alice Eve.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Julia McKenzie</span> English actress, presenter, director, writer

Julia Kathleen Nancy McKenzie is an English actress, singer, presenter, and theatre director. She has premièred leading roles written by both Alan Ayckbourn and Stephen Sondheim. On television, she is known for her BAFTA Award nominated role as Hester Fields in the sitcom Fresh Fields (1984–1986) and its sequel French Fields (1989–1991), and as Miss Marple in Agatha Christie's Marple (2009–2013).

Michael Bartlett is an English playwright and screenwriter for film and TV series. His 2015 psychological thriller TV series, Doctor Foster, starring Suranne Jones, won the New Drama award from National Television Awards. Bartlett also won Best Writer from the Broadcast Press Guild Awards. A BBC TV Film of Bartlett's play King Charles III was broadcast in May 2017 and while critically acclaimed, generated some controversy.

<i>Our House</i> (musical)

Our House is a musical with music and lyrics by Madness and one song "It Must Be Love" written by Labi Siffre and a book by playwright Tim Firth. Premiering at The Cambridge Theatre in 2002, Our House was the winner of the 2003 Olivier award for Best New Musical and has since gone on to tour both nationally and internationally to great acclaim. Through the music of Madness, writer Tim Firth explores the themes of love, family values, growing up, responsibility and dealing with losing the people that shape us.

Nigel Lindsay is an English actor. He is best known on television for his roles as Sir Robert Peel in the first two seasons of Victoria, Jo Jo Marshall in the Netflix series Safe and as Barry in the BAFTA-winning Chris Morris film Four Lions for which he was nominated for Best British Comedy Performance in Film at the 2011 British Comedy Awards.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tim Whitnall</span> English actor, playwright and screenwriter

Timothy Charles Whitnall is an English actor, playwright and screenwriter. He is known for playing Angelo in the long-running CITV series Mike and Angelo and narrating the BBC children's TV programme Teletubbies from 1997 to 2001. As a writer, he has won a BAFTA and an Olivier Award for his work on TV movie Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett Story and play Morecambe. He is also a voice actor, providing voices on television shows such as Fifi and the Flowertots, Roary the Racing Car and Thomas & Friends.

Terry Johnson is a British dramatist and director working for stage, television and film. Educated at Birmingham University, he worked as an actor from 1971 to 1975, and has been active as a playwright since the early 1980s.

Janie Dee is an English actress and singer. She won the Olivier Award for Best Actress, Evening Standard Award and Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Play, and in New York the Obie and Theatre World Award for Best Newcomer, for her performance as Jacie Triplethree in Alan Ayckbourn's Comic Potential.

Michael Jibson is a Laurence Olivier Award winning English actor, director, writer and voice over artist.

David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers, are two West End and Broadway theatre producers.

<i>Calendar Girls</i> (musical)

Calendar Girls is a musical with music by Gary Barlow, lyrics by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, and a book by Tim Firth. The musical is based on the 2003 film Calendar Girls, which is in turn based on a true story.

The 2017 Laurence Olivier Awards were held on 9 April 2017 at the Royal Albert Hall, London. The ceremony was hosted by comedian Jason Manford. A highlights show was shown on ITV shortly after the live event ended.


  1. "The 50 greatest children's TV Shows of all time".
  2. Brennan, Claire. " 'This Is My Family' – review" The Guardian, 29 June 2013
  3. Hickling, Alfred. " 'This Is My Family' review – Tim Firth's warm and winning musical" The Guardian, 15 October 2014
  4. UK Theatre Awards" uktheatre.org, retrieved 21 February 2017
  5. "Annual-Review, 2010" chester.ac.uk, p. 87, retrieved 14, October 2017
  6. "Olivier Awards, 2003" olivierawards.com, retrieved 22 February 2017
  7. "Olivier Awards, 1995" olivierawards.com, retrieved 22 February 2017