Bill Bailey and Paul Kaye to guest star, while Steve Pemberton, Vicki Pepperdine, Rosie Pepperdine and Rosie Cavaliero return for three new one-hour films
Mackenzie Crook will reunite with fellow Detectorists’ star Toby Jones in a new episode of his critically acclaimed adaptation of Worzel Gummidge.
To be screened on BBC One later this year, Mackenzie has created three new one-hour films: Guy Forks, Twitchers, and Calliope Jane – inspired by the classic books by Barbara Euphan Todd, in which he will once again direct and star.
Toby Jones plays all six roles of The Village Committee in the Guy Forks episode: the Baker, Butcher, Mayor, Postmaster, Publican and Alderman, alongside Paul Kaye (After Life) who plays Guy Forks. Comedian and reigning Strictly champion Bill Bailey (Black Books) co-stars as Mr Peregrine in Calliope Jane, together with Nneka Okoye as Calliope Jane.
Rejoining Mackenzie as Worzel Gummidge for these new adventures are Steve Pemberton as Mr Braithwaite, Rosie Cavaliero as Mrs Braithwaite, Vicki Pepperdine as Aunt Sally, India Brown as Susan and Thierry Wickens as John.
Leopard Pictures, part of Argonon Group, are again partnering with Treasure Trove Productions to bring these glorious stories to life for an audience of all ages. The films have been commissioned by Tanya Qureshi, Head of Comedy for the BBC, and Charlotte Moore, Chief Content Officer for the BBC.
Mackenzie Crook says: “I’m thrilled to bring three new episodes of Worzel Gummidge to audiences this year and to announce the quite brilliant cast. We had a happy summer making these films and I hope some of that comes across on screen.”
Kristian Smith, executive producer, added: “It’s always the greatest joy and privilege to be in Scatterbrook and the Ten Acre Field. Our exceptional cast and crew make the entire experience such a pleasure. Mackenzie Crook leads with humanity and that translates in these beautiful films. Our three original stories will charm and amuse audiences of all ages.”
Tanya Qureshi, Head of Comedy at the BBC, says: “Worzel and the magical cast of characters that inhabit Scatterbrook are back once again, and we can’t wait for audiences to see what Mackenzie and the crew have brought to life in these new instalments. These wonderful films are exactly the comforting tonic we could all use right now!”
It’s the build-up to bonfire night and a new face has arrived in Scatterbrook. Worzel’s cousin, Guy Forks, has taken his rightful place at the top of the bonfire, but an argument between the old friends leads to a competition to prove who can do the other’s job better. With The Bonfire Night Committee distracted, Guy convinces Worzel to swap places, but it soon becomes clear that Worzel has bitten off more than he can chew. With Worzel stuck on top of the bonfire, John and Susan turn to Aunt Sally for help, but can they find a way to rescue Worzel before time runs out?
After a raging thunderstorm, a flock of rare choughs turn up at Scatterbrook Farm. Keen to seize the opportunity of scaring such a rarely sighted bird, Worzel enlists the help of Susan and John. But their plans are soon scuppered once word of the choughs gets around, and a group of avid twitchers move in before he’s even had his chance. To make matters worse, the twitchers’ arrival forces Mr B to come to face to face with his old birdwatching rival, Lee Dangerman. With the twitchers refusing to leave, can the children come up with a plan to help scare the choughs and save Worzel and Mr B from embarrassment?
Susan and John are excited when they learn that F R Peregrine’s Travelling Fair is coming to Scatterbrook for one night only. But as much as he’d love to join his friends, Worzel can’t be seen wandering around by humans. He recalls the legend of a fairground with an enchanted organ. It’s believed that, with the right music, the organ has the power to send humans to sleep so that scarecrows can enjoy the rides without the fear of being seen.
At the museum, Aunt Sally finds herself agreeing to go on an adventure with another ex-fairground attraction, Calliope Jane, and it turns out Worzel isn’t the only scarecrow who wants to attend the fair… As the scarecrows descend, the risk of being seen intensifies, but will the legend of the enchanted organ turn out to be true?
In 2019, the two Christmas episodes of Worzel Gummidge received a wealth of glowing praise from audiences and critics alike. The Guardian gave five stars, describing the shows as a “joyful, joke-filled eco-romp”, the Radio Times also awarded the “funny, poignant and heartwarming” films five stars, and the Daily Mail proclaimed Worzel “a TV wonder”, similarly giving five stars.
Last year’s Christmas episode, Saucy Nancy, garnered even more critical acclaim, with the Radio Times again awarding five stars, declaring the episode is “like taking a bath in pure kindness”. Whilst the Daily Telegraph and The i gave four stars, with the latter labelling the film as “gorgeous” and “affectionate”.
The three new films, written and directed by Mackenzie Crook, are co-produced by Leopard Pictures and Treasure Trove Productions for BBC One. They are executive produced by Kristian Smith for Leopard Pictures, together with Mackenzie Crook and Lisa Thomas for Treasure Trove Productions and rights holder Patrick D. Pidgeon for Pidgeon Entertainment, Inc. The producer is Matt Carver. International distribution of Worzel Gummidge is handled by ITV Studios.
Article text courtesy of BBC Media Centre – https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/2021/worzel-gummidge-three-new-films
All images Copyright Leopard Pictures 2021