Worzel Gummidge 3.2 – Dolly Clothes-Peg

Today’s episode introduces Lorraine Chase as Dolly Clothes-Peg, a mannequin with a much more grounded understanding of the world than the other animated beings in this world. The character only appeared twice in the show, but I guess in part because I first saw this episode twenty-five years ago and in part because she’s on some of the merchandising, like the cover of the 1981 Worzel Gummidge Annual (with interior art by John Cooper, comics fans!), I thought she was a more important character than she actually is.

But she’s a lovely creation. She’s kind and sensitive and treats Worzel with dignity and respect. She is, in short, absolutely everything that Aunt Sally isn’t, which is why our favorite villain is driven utterly mad with jealousy. Dolly Clothes-Peg was a dummy in a Bond Street shop window and after the shop’s owner retired, he brought her to the countryside to work as a scarecrow. The Crowman taught her to walk and talk, although why he would give her a Cockney accent I couldn’t say. On the other hand, the Crowman believes in humility. Maybe he had given Aunt Sally the gift of sentience earlier, and watched, appalled, as she spoke grandly of how important she thought she was. Dolly may have been in a fashionable West End shop, but she has no aspirations. This is contrasted with Aunt Sally thinking that if she were to marry a carny strongman called The Great Apollo, she would be Lady Great Apollo.

I don’t like the ending much. Aunt Sally wins again, which is usually satisfying in a mean way, but perhaps the characters should have had a dialogue scene together. They do get to hurl cakes at each other in a nice tea shop, because this is Worzel Gummidge and there must be chaos to leave young viewers like our son laughing loudly, but Aunt Sally’s need to keep Worzel around as her private punching bag really runs poor Dolly over like a freight train. Dolly’s just too sweet to be part of this love triangle.

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