Worzel Gummidge is a British children's fictional character â€“ a walking, talking scarecrow , who originally appeared in a series of books by the novelist Barbara Euphan Todd .
Gummidge had a set of interchangeable turnip , mangel worzel and swede heads, each of which endowed the character with a specific skill or to suit a particular occasion.
The books were adapted into a children's television series, starring former Doctor Who actor, Jon Pertwee , originally made in the UK, but later in New Zealand, where the character was extremely popular.
In July 1967 five Worzel Gummidge stories were read on Jackanory by Gordon Rollings . In 1979 a television adaptation of Worzel Gummidge was produced by Southern Television for ITV , written by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall , and starred former Doctor Who actor Jon Pertwee as Worzel and Una Stubbs as Aunt Sally , a life-size fairground doll and Worzel's femme fatale . This is a significant change from the original books, where Aunt Sally is indeed Worzel's aunt. The Crowman, who made Worzel and some of his other scarecrow friends, is played by Geoffrey Bayldon better known for his starring role as the title character of Catweazle.
Occasional guest appearances were made by big TV stars of the time and appeal to a family audience â€“ Barbara Windsor as Saucy Nancy, a ship's figurehead, Billy Connolly as a Scottish piper scarecrow, Bill Maynard as Sergeant Beetroot, Joan Sims as Mrs Bloomsbury-Barton, the local aristocrat, and Lorraine Chase as Dolly Clothes-peg, a shop window mannequin cum scarecrow.
Four series, totalling 30 episodes and one extended Christmas special, were made between 1979 and 1981, when Southern lost its franchise. The new franchise-holder, TVS , did not renew the show (despite a massive press campaign led by the Daily Star ) after a deal with HTV fell through. Pertwee and Stubbs also starred in the musical Worzel Gummidge in 1981 at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre . Jon Pertwee's final TV appearance as Worzel was in 1995, to celebrate 40 years of ITV .
"Worzel's Song", sung by Jon Pertwee, was released at the height of the original series' popularity. Less remembered is Worzel's second single, warning children about the danger of strangers, released in 1987.
THIS SET OFÂ 6 DVDS CONTAINS THE COMPLETE SERIES 1 - 4 AND SERIES 1 OF WORZEL GUMMIDGE DOWN UNDER.
COMES SUPPLIED ON UNPRINTED DISCS IN PROTECTIVE SLEEVES.
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