AS SEEN IN:
'Worzel Gummidge Down Under'
Barbara Euphan Todd
(The Third Doctor)
Worzel Gummidge is a character in British children's fiction 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.
Worzel Gummidge was a scarecrow that could come to life on Scatterbrook Farm. Worzel spent more time trying to win the affections of Aunt Sally than actually protecting the farm from crows. Aunt Sally was a fairground doll who Worzel fell in love with. He also befriended John and Susan, two children who often had to cover up after him and help him get out of trouble. Worzel had a collection of interchangeable heads; each suiting a particular occasion or allowing him to perform a certain task. More often than not Worzel's plans and adventures ended in mishap for all involved.
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 from 1979 to 1981 on ITV; originally produced in the UK, but later in New Zealand. Southern Television's production for ITV was written by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, and starred 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. Bill Maynard also appeared as a scarecrow called Sergeant Beetroot.