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Worzel Gummidge is a Britishmarker children's fictional character who originally appeared in a series of books by the novelist Barbara Euphan Todd. A walking, talking scarecrow, Gummidge has a set of interchangeable turnip, mangel worzel and swede heads, each of which suit a particular occasion or endow him with a specific skill.

The books were adapted for radio and television a number of times, most successfully with former Doctor Who actor Jon Pertwee taking the lead role in 1979 on ITV; originally produced in the UK, but later in New Zealand, where the character was extremely popular.

Outline

Worzel Gummidge was a scarecrow that could come to life. He befriended John and Susan, two children who often had to cover up after him. Worzel had a collection of interchangeable heads; each suiting a particular occasion or allowing him to perform a certain task.

Books

  • Worzel Gummidge (1936)
  • Worzel Gummidge Again (1937)
  • More About Worzel Gummidge (1938)
  • Worzel Gummidge And Saucy Nancy (1947)
  • Worzel Gummidge Takes A Holiday (1949)
  • Earthy Mangold And Worzel Gummidge (1954)
  • Worzel Gummidge And The Railway Scarecrows (1955)
  • Worzel Gummidge At The Circus (1956)
  • Worzel Gummidge And The Treasure Ship (1958)
  • Detective Worzel Gummidge (1963)


Adaptations

Children's Hour

The first broadcast with Worzel was before World War II on the BBC's Children's Hour. By 1946, Worzel was played by veteran radio actor Philip Wade, John by John Clark, Susan by Rosamund Barnes, and Earthy Mangold by Mabel Constanduros. Later, Worzel was played by Denis Folwell, who went on to play Jack Archer in the BBC's perennial soap opera The Archers.

Jackanory

In July 1967 five Worzel Gummidge stories were read on Jackanory by Gordon Rollings.

1979 Television series

Southern Television's production for ITV was written by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, and starred former Doctor Who actor Jon Pertwee as Worzel, with Una Stubbs as Aunt Sally, a life-size fairground doll and Worzel's femme fatale. This was a significant change from the original books, where Aunt Sally is, in fact, Worzel's aunt. The Crowman, who made Worzel and some of his other scarecrow friends, was played by Geoffrey Bayldon better known for his starring role as the title character of Catweazle.

References and notes

External links




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