Mackenzie Crook will write and direct the BBC’s upcoming “Worzel Gummidge” dramas. He will also star as the lead character – a walking, talking scarecrow – in Worzel’s return to British screens in two hour-long specials. They are expected to bow at the end of the year.
Barbara Euphan Todd wrote the Worzel Gummidge books, which were the foundation for a classic British series starring Jon Pertwee in the title role in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Leopard Pictures, part of the Argonon Group, has partnered with Treasure Trove Productions and Lola Entertainment for the new adaptation.
The first episode in the new run, “The Scarecrow of Scatterbrook,” sees two youngsters, Susan and John, encounter Worzel Gummidge, the Scarecrow of Ten Acre Field. Their world is sent spinning into confusion when they realize Gummidge comes to life. The only person more shocked is Worzel when he discovers that the children are not in fact fellow scarecrows.
The second installment, “The Green Man,” sees the creator of scarecrows and keeper of scarecrow lore come to town. He is not happy that Worzel is consorting with humans.
As a first-look image of him as Worzel was released, he added: “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.”
“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,” said Shane Allen, the BBC’s controller of comedy.
Kristian Smith will exec produce for Leopard. “There was nobody other than Mackenzie that I wanted to work with on this,” he said. “The vision and creativity of this man is awesome. He has written two beautiful scripts that are clever, warm and funny.”