Meet the Trunchbull

"Looking at her, you got the feeling that this was someone who could bend iron bars and tear telephone directories in half."

Miss Trunchbull is the "formidable female" headmistress of Crunchem Hall Primary School, attended by Matilda Wormwood and her friends. A former Olympic hammer-thrower with a hatred of children, Roald Dahl describes her as "a gigantic holy terror, a fierce tyrranical monster who frightened the life out of pupils and teachers alike."

She's certainly not the sort of woman you'd expect to find as headmistress of a school. Her behaviour to her pupils - from force-feeding them cake to throwing them across the playground by their pigtails - is outrageous. According to Matilda, it's for this very reason that she gets away with it. "No parent is going to believe this pigtail story, not in a million years," she tells her friend Lavender.

The Trunchbull is certainly not afraid of going the whole hog. And it's not just her pupils that suffer - Miss Honey also has to deal with the outrageous demands of this bullying headmistress. With a little help from Matilda, though, Miss Trunchbull does get her comeuppance...

In 1996, a film version of Matilda was released, with Pam Ferris playing Miss Trunchbull. In the RSC's musical adaptation of the story, the Trunchbull is played by a man. Actor Bertie Carvel originated the role both in London and on Broadway.

Terrorising Trunchbulls: Stage, Screen, Fancy Dress and Fan-Submitted Art

Listen now!

From 'The Trunchbull'


What a bunch of nauseating little warts you are.

The Trunchbull

In the classroom

Shop products