Worzel Gummidge 3.9 – A Cup o’ Tea and a Slice o’ Cake (take two)

Earlier today, my son and I rewatched the Worzel Gummidge Christmas Special, first shown in 1980, at its proper place in the running order. He enjoyed it quite a lot when we first saw it together, but I figured rightly that we would both enjoy it more since we both knew who all the characters were.

To be fair, I said when I blogged about it before that it was surprisingly weaker than I expected, and I stand by that today. It’s a very underwhelming hour, with far less mayhem than a usual installment. The music’s not bad and it has some amusing moments, but it would have felt slow even without the songs taking time. A dance routine, even an energetic one, doesn’t really substitute for havoc.

The real surprise was learning that this was the final appearance for several of the recurring characters. Mrs. Braithwaite, Colonel Bloodstock, Pickles Brambles, Sergeant Beetroot, and the Saucy Nancy aren’t seen again after this. It’s certainly a shame in the case of the colonel; they never did give him a spotlight episode anywhere near as strong as Mrs. Bloomsbury-Barton, the character he replaced. And because I just love the Saucy Nancy, I’m sorry that we won’t see her again.

Of course, the saddest surprise is that the whole show doesn’t look as good as this. As I’ve discussed before, the rights owners elected against the expense of restoring the entire program, just the special. You can compare these screencaps to the rest of the series, but it’s just depressing. I’ll admit that Worzel Gummidge isn’t going to set the sales charts on fire or move a million units, but I wish that the Endemol Shine corporation, which, earlier this summer, became part of a French conglomerate called Banijay Group, had just bit the bullet. I’m sure the golden parachutes would be every bit as golden if some executive had okayed restoring this goofy and wonderful show before the sale went through.

But in the meantime, hey, you out there in charge of Banijay, Stéphane Courbit, or whatever your name is! Look at this delightful and hilarious old show that you acquired in your two billion dollar purchase. Treat it right, won’t you?

And with that, Worzel Gummidge will go back on the shelf for a few months to keep things fresh and rotate something else in to enjoy. We’ll return to Ten Acre Field in November. Stay tuned!

6 thoughts on “Worzel Gummidge 3.9 – A Cup o’ Tea and a Slice o’ Cake (take two)

  1. I didn’t know there was a Christmas Special and no matter what the quality i’m sure Worzel fans would love to see this mislaid treasure……Hope we can watch it soon ……

    1. You misread the post. The special is the only installment of the program to have been restored to its original quality. Click any of the images and it’ll take you to Amazon UK where you can order it. The rest of the six series were not restored and simply issued on DVD last year from the existing, subpar film elements.

      1. Thanks for putting me straight….came across this site in a quick coffee break and scanned through it and got the wrong end of the stick….Will read it again at leisure!….Cheers

  2. I’m afraid Gummidge really turned me off as a girl. I only recall the episode when Worzel cracks one of the girl scarecrows (Saucy Nancy?) across the face just because she didn’t like him “that way.” That sort of ‘Punch & Judy’ humor & casting unrequited objects of affection as shallow airheads never sat right with me. Never needed to see another one of these again…

    1. That sounds like a scene from episode four, when Worzel asks a random scarecrow to marry him, and she responds to his proposal by laughing at him. The actress doesn’t have any lines, just a delightfully hideous cackle. Worzel then smacks her with the flowers he is holding, saying “What are you laughing at me for,” and she comes off her post and tears Worzel to pieces.

      It is a weird scene, and I can see how it would have stuck, unhappily, in a child’s memory. I probably would have been traumatized by Worzel’s arms and legs flying away if I’d seen it as a little kid.

  3. No, I’m afraid it’s another episode where Worzel actually uses his hand to really belt a doll-like scarecrow across the face, & it happens inside her(?) house. I definitely would’ve had more sympathy for Worzel from the scene you described!

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