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Michael Palin Joins Mackenzie Crook’s ‘Worzel Gummidge’ Specials

Michael Palin will be The Green Man, creator of the scarecrows, in the Mackenzie Crook adaptation of “Worzel Gummidge.” The specials will be a modern retelling of the classic stories of the eponymous walking, talking scarecrow. Kew Media has landed the distribution rights and will sell the series internationally.

“The Office” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” star Crook is writing, directing, and taking the title role in the drama, which will play on BBC One later this year in two one-hour installments. “It’s a lovely part for me, but the whole script is very memorable and touching, and very funny,” Palin said. “It quite skillfully weaves in something for everybody all the time.”

Barbara Euphan Todd wrote the Worzel Gummidge books, which were the basis for a classic British series starring Jon Pertwee in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Leopard Pictures has partnered with Treasure Trove Productions and Lola Entertainment on the new adaptation.

The series has now rounded out its cast. In addition to Monty Python star Palin, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” actress Zoe Wanamaker has signed on to play eccentric local aristocrat Lady Bloomsbury Barton in the second episode. “The whole thing is so charming and inventive,” she said. “It’s the sort of thing I’d watch. I’m sure it will be a huge success.”

Vicki Pepperdine (“The Windsors”) will star as the iconic character of Aunt Sally, and Steve Pemberton (“League of Gentleman”) as Mr. Braithwaite, the farmer. Rosie Cavaliero (“Gentleman Jack”) will play Mrs. Braithwaite. India Brown (“Hetty Feather”) and newcomer Thierry Wickens will play Susan and John, the two city children spending their summer at a rural farm who befriend Worzel.

Kew Media Distribution will be launching “Worzel Gummidge” at the Mipcom programming market in Cannes.

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