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Sir Michael Palin and Zoe Wanamaker join Mackenzie Crook's Worzel Gummidge reboot

Worzel Gummidge

Story by Jack Foley

SIR Michael Palin and Zoë Wanamaker have joined the cast of Mackenzie Crook’s Worzel Gummidge reboot for the BBC.

Set to broadcast in two one-hour films, this family treat is inspired by the classic books of Barbara Euphan Todd and has been written and directed by Crook, who also stars in the lead role.

Sir Michael will play The Green Man, creator of the scarecrows, who arrives to Scatterbrook in episode two. He commented: “It’s a lovely part for me, but the whole script is very memorable and touching, and very funny too. It quite skilfully weaves in something for everybody all the time.”

Wanamaker, meanwhile, will play the eccentric local aristocrat, Lady Bloomsbury Barton, who also joins in episode two. She said: “The whole thing is so charming and inventive. It’s the sort of thing I’d watch. I’m sure it will be a huge success. I know it will – it’s divine.”

Also announced among the cast are…

Vicki Pepperdine (Getting On, The Windsors), who takes on the role of the formidable Aunt Sally in episode one. She said: “There’s something for everybody. It’s got this heart to it, and you’d be hard pushed as an adult not to engage with it.”

Steve Pemberton (League of Gentleman, Benidorm), who will play Mr Braithwaite, the farmer. He commented: “This is the kind of show the whole family can enjoy together. It has a lot of humour, a lot of visual humour too, and I think kids will enjoy watching the children being central to the story.”

Rosie Cavaliero (Gentleman Jack, Cleaning Up), who will play Mrs Braithwaite. She added: “It’s a story about the imagination, and children escaping into this different world. Mackenzie’s version is totally contemporary.”

Ones to watch India Brown (Hetty Feather) and Thierry Wickens (making his TV debut) will play Susan and John, two city children spending their summer at Scatterbrook farm, who quickly befriend Worzel and begin a summer of adventures.

The first episode, The Scarecrow of Scatterbrook, sees two young strangers arrive in the village of Scatterbrook. It’s not long before Susan and John encounter Worzel Gummidge, the Scarecrow of Ten Acre Field.

Their world is sent spinning into confusion when they realise Gummidge comes to life. The only person more shocked is Worzel, when he discovers that the children are not in fact fellow scarecrows but humans.

Their worlds should never commune but fate has conspired to create an extraordinary union. The seasons have stopped and the harvest hasn’t arrived. The rhythm of the natural world is out of kilter and this unlikely trio must try to put it right. Magic, mystery and mayhem unfurl.

The second episode, The Green Man, welcomes another mysterious arrival to Scatterbrook. The Green Man is the creator of scarecrows and keeper of scarecrow lore. He isn’t at all happy that Worzel is consorting with humans. Elsewhere, local aristocrat Lady Bloomsbury Barton is holding a fete, with a Scarecrow competition that Worzel is determined to win. What will The Green Man and Worzel’s most competitive rival, Soggy Bogart make of it all?

Further casting

Francesca Mills – Earthy Mangold
Tim Plester – Clarty
Colin Michael Carmichael – Soggy Bogart
Andrew James Spooner – Flat Alistair
Phil Hulford – Hannah Harrow
Tom Meeten – HMS Odney
Christopher-Robert Barlow – Rag Bag
Kiran Shah – Chopper and Root Bound
Charlie Mayhew – Rustle Sprouter
Lucy Montgomery – Jackie Pudding
Gus Brown – Oswald Pollypop
Malik Ibheis – Trike
Ben Langley – Driver
Mariam Haque – Receptionist

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