Trollied's Stephen Tompkinson: ‘I'm a bitter, delusional pharmacist. I hope people like him!'

(Image credit: Jon Hall for Sky1)

Stephen Tompkinson debuts in the new series of Trollied (opens in new tab), playing the supermarket pharmacist in Sky 1 HD's comedy-drama. He talked to What's on TV about his new role...

You play pharmacist Brian in the new series of Trollied. What sort of character is he?

“Brian’s got lots of problems. He’s quite delusional and egotistical, but harmless. Unfortunately his entire family are doctors – his mum, dad, brothers, wife, even his brother’s kids. But he thinks being a bitter pharmacist is better. He’s master of his own small realm. I hope people like him!”

Were you a fan of Sky 1’s supermarket series before joining the cast?

“Yes, I’d seen a lot of the show. My mates are in it! I think the ensemble performance is brilliant and the writing is great.”

How did you come to be involved?

“Spookily before Christmas I said to my agent I really wanted to create something different as an antithesis to DCI Banks. And literally the next day Trollied’s producer rang me up and asked me would I be interested in joining.”

This new series is Trollied’s fourth. Was it easy to fit in with the established cast?

“They were tremendously welcoming. I’d worked with some of the cast and crew before, so it’s been a joy to join. Rita May and I had worked together on a series called In Deep (opens in new tab). And because we have nearly all our scenes together in this, we had a ball. She’s amazing.”

Who else had you worked with previously?

“I know director Paul Harrison because we worked together on Ballykissangel and Wild at Heart (opens in new tab). Jason Watkins and I did a true story called In Denial of Murder (opens in new tab). We’ve known each other since drama school and used to meet a lot on the football field! I think the world of him; he’s a superb comic actor.”

Much-loved character Margaret (Rita May) ends up becoming Brian’s assistant. How does that come about?

“Brian asks Valco manager Gavin (Jason Watkins) for an assistant and Margaret just happens to be standing next to him!”

Are they a good match?

“Margaret’s perfect for Brian. She calls him Doctor Brian, which he likes, and they strike up an unlikely partnership. Rita and I had our own little kingdom!”

What do they get up to during the series?

“Margaret organises a medical emergency so Brian can be a hero; he gives a strange first aid lesson to the rest of the staff; and for a charity day Brian dresses up as a giant paracetamol, with two aspirins at the bottom. You get an idea of the shape!”

 Trollied returns to Sky 1 for a new series on Monday, November 3 at 8.30pm

Elaine Reilly
Writer for TV Times, What’s On TV, TV & Satellite Week and What To Watch

With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab) covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.


As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast. 

After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.