Words to chill the blood: “a Worzel Gummidge reboot”. How (and why) would the BBC take a beloved children’s television series and give it a 21st-century makeover? Would it feature a CGI-enhanced scarecrow, children in hoodies and multiple references to the availability of wi-fi in rural areas? It turned out that Worzel Gummidge (BBC One) had all those things – and it was wonderful.
Mackenzie Crook had already written one hymn to the English countryside, Detectorists; here was another, in which he also starred as the eponymous scarecrow. For many, the character is indelibly linked to Jon Pertwee. But Crook has gone back to Barbara Euphan Todd’s books and given us something tonally different to the ITV series that ran until 1981.
Instead of mimicking Pertwee’s goofy antics, Crook’s Worzel was a gentle, reflective soul in an adaptation that drew on nature and folklore. It took a while to warm to him, and his look was initially alarming: a face of prosthetic make-up that brought to mind A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger. It was also the only face he had: no interchangeable heads here. (Nor, for that matter, was there anything but the briefest of meetings with Aunt Sally.)
Worzel’s first encounter with Susan and John (India Brown and Thierry Wickens), the two children at the heart of the story, was prompted by John leaving his mobile phone in Ten Acre Field. The kids had arrived from their urban foster home ignorant about country life. “Is there a wi-fi code?” asked John. “A what-fi-what?” replied a baffled Mrs Braithwaite (Rosie Cavaliero), the farmer’s wife. But the show did exactly what it set out to do: to demonstrate that there’s more fun to be had in the great outdoors than with your eyes glued to a screen.
T三级成人视频his was a rare thing: a family drama that every generation could enjoy together. A simple storyline about a bad harvest for the little ones; characters with whom older kids could identify; gags to entertain the adults. “We’ll survive,” Susan reassured John. “It’ll be like the olden days. Like the Nineties or something.” And the overt environmentalist message will have chimed with a younger generation.
三级成人视频You may grumble about the BBC remaking a classic, but watch some of the newer stuff on Nickelodeon or Netflix and you’ll wince. I only wish that the national broadcaster did this kind of thing more often, rather than confining it to Christmas specials.