Copyright 2024
the reader’s guide to
the DAY of the TRIFFIDS


Images are from the 1981 BBC production and do not necessarily follow the descriptions which are from the novel.
(B) = blinded by the comet

Main Characters


Bill Masen

The central character. Nearly thirty at the beginning of the story, he developed an early interest in triffids after being once of the first people in Britain to be stung by one. He evades the comet's effects because he is in hospital after being temporarily blinded by a triffid.

He is a quiet, ordinary man who faces the post-comet future with a mixture of apprehension and excitement.


Josella Playton

A young woman whom Bill rescues and falls in love with. She is about 24 at the beginning of the story, attractive with blonde hair and grey-blue eyes. She came from a well-off family and was infamous for writing a notorious sexual book. Although sometimes frightened by the situation, she is often more forward-thinking than Bill and more prepared to adjust to the new world.



A child of nine or ten at the beginning of the story, pretty with dark brown curls. She is rescued by Bill, who is on his way to Pulborough, after a triffid kills her brother. She is adopted by Bill and Josella.

She accepts the unpleasant aspects of the new world prosaically and turns out to be very practical with an intense hatred of triffids.

In London


Wilfred Coker

About thirty at the start of the story, he has a straight, narrow nose, bony features and dark hair. A professional orator before, he takes the initial view that the sighted should look after the blind until 'help' arrives and tries to force the people at the University into doing so. When he realises that this was the wrong move, he joins up with Bill. He is a practical man who understands the necessities of survival but can be impatient with those who don't.


Michael Beadley

A lean, tall, broad-shouldered man, slightly stooping, with a gloomy or weary appearance. He is the leader of the people at the University and introduces the conference, encouraging the people to look forward with hope, not despair.


Alf (B)

One of Bill's blind party after he has been captured by Coker. A down-to-earth uneducated man, who is aware of the situation and tries to make the best of it.



A red-headed ruthless man that Bill first encounters when he is leading one of Coker's parties. He callously shoots one of Bill's blind men. Later, he joins a military organisation and prospers. He visits Bill and the others at Shirning to enforce his organisation's rules upon them.

The Colonel

The Colonel (Jaques)

A chubby man of about fifty. He has plentiful, well-trimmed grey hair, a precise moustache, and a healthy complexion. He is the rather fussy administrator at the University and speaks at the conference about the practicalities of the departure.

Elspeth Cary

Good looking, sun-tanned with dark brown eyes, she is the photographer at the University.

Ivan Simpson

Tall and fair, the pilot for the Beadley party. It is he who finds Bill and the others at Shirning and invites them to travel to the Isle of Wight.

Sandra Telmont

A young woman, the remembrancer at the University who worked in continuity before the comet.

Miss Berr

Aged twenty-two or three, she is a nurse that provides the only medical care for the University party.

Dr E H Vorless

An elderly, white-haired man, of ugly but benign aspect with gold-rimmed spectacles. He is a Professor of Sociology and it is he who explains the new rules of society that the community must live by.

At Tynsham Manor

Miss Durrant

Florence Durrant

A tall, dark, thin-lipped religious woman, who sets up her own community at Tynsham Manor. She disapproves of the alternate society suggested at the University conference and sets up one based on her view of Christian principles instead. However, she is not practical or adaptable, and is too proud to accept help easily.

Around Beaminster

Stephen Brennell

The leader of a small group who Bill and Coker meet at Beaminster. He worked at the Stock Exchange, and is large and fair-haired.

“The Radioman”

A companion of Stephen Brennell. A dark, young man who had been planning to start a radio store until the comet. When the group decide to use a helicopter to search, it is he who teaches himself to fly it.

Mrs Forcett

The owner of a store near Beaminster. She is found sheltering from a triffid by Coker and joins them as the cook.

At Shirning Farm

Dennis Brent

Dennis Brent (B)

The owner of Shirning Farm. He deals very practically and couragously with the situation, creating a helmet to protect himself against triffid stings and using twine to prevent himself getting lost on his trips to the village. Very self-reliant, he tries to teach himself Braille and disapproves of pity or unneeded help.

Mary Brent

Mary Brent (B)

The wife of Dennis Brent, pregnant at the time of the comet. She gives birth to a girl after Bill had arrived.

Joyce Taylor (B)

A friend of the Brents who had been staying at Shirning, keeping Mary company during the latter's pregnancy. She tries to go out, looking for help, and is stung by a triffid on her hand. She is consequently very ill for some time.

Joan and Ted Danson (B)

Two friends of Dennis and Mary Brent who had been spending a week's holiday with them when the comet occurred. Afterwards, Ted volunteered to go out looking for help. When he did not return, Joan disappeared, presumably to look for him.

Other characters

Walter Lucknor

Walter Lucknor

A friend of Bill Masen during his pre-comet days in the triffid-farming business. Walter knew more about triffids than almost anybody and was one of the first to become aware of their intelligence and communication skills.

Doctor Soames (B)

The first person Bill meets after the night of the comet. Realising what has happened to the world, the Doctor kills himself.

Umberto Christoforo Palanguez; Fedor; Nikolai Alexandrovich Baltinoff

Characters involved in the introduction of triffids to the world from the USSR.

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