Michael Palin, Zoë Wanamaker, Steve Pemberton join BBC One’s Worzel Gummidge
Staff Reporter | On 20, Sep 2019Reading time: 3 mins
Michael Palin, Zoë Wanamaker and Steve Pemberton are among the new names joining Mackenzie Crook in BBC One’s new adaptation of Worzel Gummidge.
Set to broadcast in two one-hour films, the family treat is inspired by the classic books of Barbara Euphan Todd. Crook has taken Scatterbrook farm and the infamous characters of this well-loved tale and brought them to screen, not only writing and directing but also starring as Worzel.
He’s gathered a host of actors to join him in front of the camera. Playing The Green Man, creator of the scarecrows, who arrives to Scatterbrook in episode two, is comedy legend Sir Michael Palin.
He says: “It’s a lovely part for me, but the whole script is very memorable and touching, and very funny too. It quite skillfully weaves in something for everybody all the time.”
Zoë Wanamaker (My Family, Harry Potter And The Philosophers Stone) will play the eccentric local aristocrat, Lady Bloomsbury Barton in episode two. Vicki Pepperdine (Getting On, The Windsors) takes on the role of the formidable Aunt Sally in episode one. Steve Pemberton (League Of Gentleman, Benidorm) will play Mr Braithwaite, the farmer. Rosie Cavaliero (Gentleman Jack, Cleaning Up) will play Mrs Braithwaite.
Ones to watch India Brown (Hetty Feather) and Thierry Wickens (making his TV debut) will play Susan and John, two city children spending their summer at Scatterbrook farm who quickly befriend Worzel and begin a summer of adventures.
Mackenzie Crook is Worzel Gummidge in new BBC adaptation
7th June 2019
Mackenzie Crook will play Worzel Gummidge in a new adaptation of the iconic books for the BBC.
The modern take on Barbara Euphan Todd’s books comprises two one-hour films. Leopard Pictures, part of Argonon Group, are partnering with Treasure Trove Productions and Lola Entertainment to bring the stories to the screen. Crook will not only play the lead, but also write and direct the films.
The first 60 minute episode, The Scarecrow Of Scatterbrook, sees two young strangers arrive in the village of Scatterbrook. It’s not long before Susan and John encounter Worzel Gummidge, the Scarecrow of Ten Acre Field. Their world is sent spinning into confusion when they realise Gummidge comes to life. The only person more shocked is Worzel, when he discovers that the children are not fellow scarecrows but humans. Their worlds should never commune but fate has conspired to create an extraordinary union. The seasons have stopped and the harvest hasn’t arrived. The rhythm of the natural world is out of kilter and this unlikely trio must try to put it right. Magic, mystery and mayhem unfurl.
The second episode, The Green Man, welcomes another mysterious arrival to Scatterbrook. The Green Man is the creator of scarecrows and keeper of scarecrow lore. He isn’t at all happy that Worzel is consorting with humans. Elsewhere, local aristocrat Lady Bloomsbury Barton is holding a fete, with a Scarecrow competition that Worzel is determined to win. What will Worzel’s most competitive rival, Soggy Bogart, and The Green Man make of it all?
Crook says: “I’m thrilled to be back working with the BBC and many members of the Detectorists team to bring Worzel Gummidge to a new generation of viewers and reintroduce him to old friends. Adapting Barbara Euphan Todd’s books into these two films has been a joy and I’ve completely fallen for her charming, irreverent scarecrow. Fingers crossed for a glorious English summer as we head out to Scatterbrook Farm and Worzel’s Ten Acre Field.”
Shane Allen, Controller Comedy Commissioning at the BBC, adds: “Mackenzie’s widely adored and multi-Bafta award winning Detectorists was a grown up love letter to bucolic England and with Worzel he takes a similar approach to English folklore, rural rites and the magic of childhood. His visionary and fundamental reinterpretation of this classic is that rare and special achievement – a BBC One family friendly comedy.”