British TV has been littered with classic characters over the years from Doctor Who to Paddington Bear. 2019 gave us the return of one of these originals, Worzel Gummidge.
Originally played by late Doctor Who actor, Jon Pertwee, Worzel Gummidge is a scarecrow who comes to life and goes of endless adventures with the children of the village. In 2019 the series was updated to star The Office (UK) star, Mackenzie Crook. After two very successful specials over last years Christmas holiday, Worzel Gummidge is back once again with his new special, Saucy Nancy.
Originally planned to return for another two specials, Saucy Nancy is the only outing Gummidge will be getting this year thanks to production being shut down earlier in the year. The Christmas Eve special saw Susan (India Brown) and John (Thierry Wickens) reunited with Worzel as they try to help Saucy Nancy (Shirley Henderson), a discarded ship figurehead, return to the seaside.
Along with last years specials, The Scarecrow of Scatterbrook and The Green Man, this years outing was written and directed by Mackenzie Crook. Crook always manages to bring a strong sense of Britishness to his projects with a lot of the shows establishing shots being dedicated to the rolling hills of the British countryside. I’d highly recommend that if you are a fan of these three episodes of Worzel Gummidge you should check out Cooks writing and directing work on the BBC Four comedy-drama, Detectorists.
A highlight of Saucy Nany comes from seeing the character of Gummidge away from life on Scatterbrook Farm (real-life location being Valence End Farm) and experiences the mundane day to day life the rest of us live. In the episode, we are treated to an enjoyable scene where Gummidge and his new friends take a trip on a vintage bus towards the seaside. It’s a real highlight being able to see Crook fully explore the character of Gummidge for a whole new generation.
Like the previous two episodes, Saucy Nancy hits the same beats as the originals. The cast of characters is very well-formed with the young children actors clearly developing their acting skills. A lot of the praise has to fall at the feet of Crook for his creative involvement in the series.
I’m hoping that we get to see even more adventures next year.