Well, I’ll be bum swizzled, Jon Pertwee’s loveable scarecrow Worzel Gummidge is getting a new lease of life, with a new high-definition restoration of the classic ITV family series.
Fabulous Films have partnered with Banijay UK, the show’s rights holders, to restore all 31 original episodes from the 16mm archive negatives for the first time, to be released later this year on DVD and Blu-Ray.
On April 10, the BFI on London’s South Bank will host a special Worzel Gummidge screening, giving fans their first chance to see three of the new episodes on a cinema screen, with guests from the series speaking on stage afterwards.
The beautifully restored episodes to be screened are Very Good Worzel which sees Worzel and Aunt Sally taking on jobs as unruly domestic help at a stately home, alongside guest stars Joan Sims and John Le Mesurier; The Jumbly Sale where Worzel faces a miserable demise in the Crowman’s compost heap, and includes an early screen role for Jon Pertwee’s son, Sean Pertwee; and The Return of Dolly Clothes-Peg which turns the spotlight on Lorraine Chase as Dolly, the winsome shop-window dummy intent on capturing Worzel’s heart.
A selection of Worzel rarities will be shown alongside Worzel Gummidge artwork by Graham Humphreys consisting of 100 numbered and signed A3 prints costing £20 each. These will be being sold to raise money for the British Red Cross to donate to Ukraine.
Worzel Gummidge originally ran for four series from 1979-1981, produced by ITV’s Southern Television. The series starred Jon Pertwee, Una Stubbs and Geoffrey Bayldon. Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall (Billy Liar, Budgie) wrote the scripts, with cinematography by Wolfgang Suschitzky (Get Carter) and Gerry Antiss (The Omen). James Hill, who won an Oscar for his short film Giuseppina, was the show’s producer/director.
The series was nominated for seven BAFTA awards and was also adapted into a hit West End musical.
Tickets are available from the BFI website – £15, Concessions £12 (Members £2 less).