It is a sad but true fact that many web hosts show little or no interest in releasing names, because there's nothing in it for them. They see a name transferred as income lost, so they drag their feet.
In truth it takes no time at all to do the work necessary for the name transfer, and you'll just have to plug away at Tim I'm afraid. In dire circumstances you can get Nominet UK to force the transfer of a name in any of their supported name levels, but you'll have to show them that you have made strenuous efforts with the existing host first. I have resorted to Nominet on only one occasion in the past, and they acted to force the move very rapidly, once I convinced them of the need. Let's hope it doesn't come to that in your case.