Worzel Gummidge / Worzel Gummidge Down Under

(United Kingdom | ITV / Channel 4 | 1979 – 1981 / 1987 – 1989)

Worzel Gummidge
Series Background

Based on the characters created by Barbara Euphan Todd, the Worzel Gummidge television series was written by Keith Woodhouse and Willis Hall — two veterans of the television industry.

Produced by the Southern TV franchise, the series revolved around the adventures of Worzel Gummidge and two young children named John and Sue Peters, who lived in a caravan, along with their father, in the farmyard at Scatterbrook Farm. Worzel himself was a rather dimwitted scarecrow who was supposed to be scaring the crows from Ten Acre Field, but who spent most of his waking life pursuing Aunt Sally — a wooden fairground doll with ideas far above her station — and any cream-filled cakes that were within easy reach. The other notable character was the rather sinister Crowman who had made Worzel and his spare heads.

After the loss of Southern TV's license, the future of Worzel Gummidge on television was looking decidedly bleak. In 1983, however, plans were made to produce a new series set in Ireland. Unfortunately, just before production was due to commence, there were problems behind the scenes and the plug was pulled. Several of the scripts were subsequently novelised by Waterhouse and Hall and were published in 1984 as The Irish Adventures of Worzel Gummidge.

That wasn't the last of Worzel's on-screen antics, though. By 1987, plans to bring a new series to the screen had reached fruition and the first of two seasons to be set in New Zealand arrived on screen. Re-using the scripts originally written for the Irish adventures, Worzel Gummidge Down Under saw a much more narrative-driven series with the creepy Travelling Scarecrow Maker causing a number of complaints from worried parents. Rather ironically, these more adult stories resulted in the best of the Worzel Gummidge novelisations — Worzel Gummidge Down Under can easily be read as a children's novel in its own right.
DVD Releases

A DVD box set containing every single episode of Worzel Gummidge and Worzel Gummidge Down Under has been released in the UK.
The Television Adventures of Worzel Gummidge

by
Keith Waterhouse
and
Willis Hall
Cover image: Worzel Gummidge, The Television Adventures of Worzel Gummidge, Puffin Books (1979)
Country UK
Format Paperback
Publisher Puffin Books
Publication Date 1979
Original Price 65p
ISBN 0140312641

The Television Adventures of Worzel Gummidge contains novelisations of six out of the seven episodes from Season 1 of the television series.

Back Cover Blurb
Worzel Gummidge of Ten-acre Field on Scatterbrook Farm is a scarecrow with quite special talents. In these Television Adventures he manages — with a little help from John, Susan and his beloved Aunt Sally — to get into all kinds of trouble, especially with his arch enemy, Mrs Bloomsbury-Barton.
Television Episodes
30 Minutes | ITV | Colour

25/02/79 Worzel's Washing Day Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
04/03/79 A Home Fit for Scarecrows Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
11/03/79 Aunt Sally Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
18/03/79 The Crowman Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
25/03/79 Worzel Pays a Visit Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
01/04/79 The Scarecrow Hop Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
Notes
  • The books includes eight pages of black and white photographs in the centre.
  • The Television Adventures of Worzel Gummidge was the first of six novelisations based on the 1979-1981 television series which would be released, all of them being written by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall who had scripted the original episodes.
  • The Television Adventures of Worzel Gummidge was also included in the Worzel Gummidge's Television Adventures omnibus.
More Television Adventures of Worzel Gummidge

by
Keith Waterhouse
and
Willis Hall
Cover image: Worzel Gummidge, More Television Adventures of Worzel Gummidge, Puffin Books (1979)
Country UK
Format Paperback
Publisher Puffin Books
Publication Date 1979
Original Price 65p
ISBN 0140312900

More Television Adventures of Worzel Gummidge contains novelisations of one episode from each of Seasons 1 and 2 and two from Season 3.

Back Cover Blurb
Admirers of Worzel Gummidge, the irrepressible scarecrow of Scatterbrook Farm, will know by now that keeping the crows away from Ten-acre Field will never keep him out of trouble. But the most important thing in his life is his devotion to that stiff-jointed little creature, Aunt Sally, for whom he even puts on his Gardening Head and tries to do an honest bit of work.
Television Episodes
30 Minutes | ITV | Colour

06/01/80 Worzel and the Saucy Nancy Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
15/11/80 A Fair Old Pullover Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
25/03/79 A Little Learning Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
24/02/80 The Scarecrow Wedding Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
Notes
Cover image: Worzel Gummidge Goes to the Seaside, Puffin Books (1980)
  • More Television Adventures of Worzel Gummidge also includes one story which wasn't produced for television.

    In A Lovesome Thing, Worzel decides to take up farming, for which he needs to find his gardening head, and which he eventually discovers hidden in a haystack. Mrs Bloomsbury-Barton persuades Mrs Braithwaite to give a talk at the Village Institute about some of her ornaments but, instead of taking along her Doulton jug to discuss, she accidentally takes Worzel's gardening head. Worzel sets off in pursuit with his speechifyin' head and manages to bring the house down!
  • An adaptation of Worzel and the Saucy Nancy also appeared in the picture-book Worzel Gummidge Goes to the Seaside (Puffin Books, 1980).
  • More Television Adventures of Worzel Gummidge was also included in the Worzel Gummidge's Television Adventures omnibus.
Cover image supplied by Stephen Barker
Worzel Gummidge at the Fair

by
Keith Waterhouse
and
Willis Hall
Cover image: Worzel Gummidge, Worzel Gummidge at the Fair, Puffin Books (1980)
Country UK
Format Paperback
Publisher Puffin Books
Publication Date 1980
Original Price 65p
ISBN 0140313818
Illustrator Gerry Downes

Worzel Gummidge at the Fair contains novelisations of two episodes from Season 3 of the television series.

Back Cover Blurb
Here he is again — the scatty Worzel Gummidge — neglecting his crow-scaring and trying to win back Aunt Sally from a fairground Strong Man. But the path of true love isn't easy for Worzel — especially when he meets another pretty scarecrow...
Inner Cover Blurb
With the long-suffering Braithwaite family away on holiday, Worzel Gummidge and his adored Aunt Sally move into the house and have a lovely time — but what a mess they leave!

When they are finally thrown out, Worzel and Aunt Sally discover a travelling fair and they get jobs working on the sideshows. They manage to leave their old problems behind, but find a set of new ones.

Unfortunately for Worzel, Aunt Sally is attracted to the fairground Strong Man, leaving the scarecrow feeling very lonely and fed up. Then he makes a new friend — Dolly Clothes-Peg — and the fun begins. Is Aunt Sally really jealous? Will Worzel marry Dolly? Will the Crowman catch up with him?
Television Episodes
30 Minutes | ITV | Colour

01/11/80 Moving On Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
08/11/80 Dolly Clothes-Peg Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
The Trials of Worzel Gummidge

by
Keith Waterhouse
and
Willis Hall
Cover image: Worzel Gummidge, Worzel Gummidge at the Fair, Puffin Books (1980)
Country UK
Format Paperback
Publisher Puffin Books
Publication Date 1980
Original Price 75p
ISBN 0140313907

The Trials of Worzel Gummidge contains novelisations of four episodes from Season 2 of the television series.

Back Cover Blurb
Worzel Gummidge has millions of admirers who have enjoyed the books and television programmes about him. Now here is a completely new collection of Worzel's adventures, based on the highly successful television series. This time Worzel really is in trouble. He finds himself at the top of a bonfire — and it's just about to be lit! Even John and Sue think that the old scarecrow has met his end...
Television Episodes
30 Minutes | ITV | Colour

13/01/80 Worzel's Nephew Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
27/01/80 The Trial of Worzel Gummidge Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
10/02/80 Worzel in the Limelight Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
17/02/80 Fire Drill Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
Notes
  • The Trials of Worzel Gummidge also includes one story, Constable Worzel, which wasn't produced for television.

    After ransacking the villager's rubbish bins, whilst looking for his reading head, Worzel manages to steal one of PC Parson's uniforms and then causes complete mayhem when the village is inspected for the Best Kept Village competition.
  • Adaptations of Worzel's Nephew, The Trial of Worzel Gummidge, Fire Drill and Muvver's Day were also released as part of a storybook series by Purnell in 1983. All four volumes were illustrated by Val Biro.

    Cover image: Worzel Gummidge and His Nephew, Purnell (1983) Cover image: The Trial of Worzel Gummidge, Purnell (1983) Cover image: Worzel Gummidge, Fire Drill, Purnell (1983) Cover image: Worzel Gummidge and Muvver's Day, Purnell (1983)
Cover image supplied by Stephen Barker
Worzel's Birthday

by
Keith Waterhouse
and
Willis Hall
Cover image: Worzel Gummidge, Worzel's Birthday, Puffin Books (1981)
Country UK
Format Paperback
Publisher Puffin Books
Publication Date 1981
Original Price 80p
ISBN 0140314873
Illustrator Andrew Skilleter

Worzel's Birthday contains novelisations of one episode from each of Seasons 3 and 4 of the television series.

Back Cover Blurb
Scatty Worzel Gummidge is back again for more adventures.

Still hopeless at scaring crows and useless at wooing Aunt Sally, Worzel feels particularly glum because his birthday has been forgotten. However, his devotion to Aunt Sally never wavers and he adopts a daring plan to prove his bravery to her...
Television Episodes
30 Minutes | ITV | Colour

22/11/80 Worzel the Brave Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
12/12/81 Worzel's Birthday Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
Cover image and back cover blurb supplied by Stephen Barker
New Television Adventures of Worzel Gummidge and Aunt Sally

by
Keith Waterhouse
and
Willis Hall
Cover image: Worzel Gummidge, New Television Adventures of Worzel Gummidge and Aunt Sally, Sparrow Books (1981)
Country UK
Format Paperback
Publisher Sparrow Books
Publication Date 1981
Original Price 90p
ISBN 0099277603

New Television Adventures of Worzel Gummidge and Aunt Sally contains novelisations of four episodes from Season 4 of the television series.

Back Cover Blurb
Worzel Gummidge of Ten-acre Field on Scatterbrook Farm is up to his old tricks again — and up to some new ones as well. In this latest collection of his television adventures Worzel not only does the most dreadful thing he has even done since the day he was borned — pulls off one of Aunt Sally's legs — but also discovers just what it is that can come between a scarecrow, his bestest friend and their fish and chips. And with the help of Susan and John, he continues to prove that a scarecrow's life is not always such an easy one...
Other Editions
New Television Adventures of Worzel Gummidge and Aunt Sally
UK | Hardback | Severn House | 1982 | 4.95 | 0727808273
Television Episodes
30 Minutes | ITV | Colour

21/11/81 The Jumbly Sale Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
14/11/81 Will the Real Aunt Sally...? Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
07/11/81 The Golden Hind Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
28/11/81 The Return of Dolly Clothes-Peg Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
The Irish Adventures of Worzel Gummidge

by
Keith Waterhouse
and
Willis Hall
Cover image: The Irish Adventures of Worzel Gummidge, Sparrow Books (1984)
Country UK
Format Paperback
Publisher Sparrow Books
Publication Date 1984
Original Price 1.25
ISBN 009932700

The Irish Adventures of Worzel Gummidge contains novelisations of four scipts which were later used for Season 1 of Worzel Gummidge Down Under.

Back Cover Blurb
A gift for Aunt Sally starts a chain of events which takes Worzel Gummidge and his beloved on the biggest adventure of their lives — across the sea to Ireland. In this fresh collection of stories about the popular television scarecrow the things Worzel gets up to are every bit as hilarious and exciting as they ever were on Scatterbrook Farm.

He has to rescue Aunt Sally from the museum in Ballydoon Castle. Face Captain Forsythe, the terror of the local golf club. And try to impress two Irish children who don't seem to think a talking scarecrow is all that special. While in the background the Crowman keeps a watchful eye in case Worzel gets into trouble. Which of course he always does...
Other Editions
Cover image: Worzel Gummidge, The Irish Adventures of Worzel Gummidge, Severn House (1984) The Irish Adventures of Worzel Gummidge
UK | Hardback | Severn House | 1984 | 0727809792
Television Episodes
30 Minutes | Channel 4 | Colour

04/10/87 As the Scarecrow Flies Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
11/10/87 The Sleeping Beauty Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
18/10/87 Full Employment Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
25/10/87 Worzel's Handicap Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
Notes
  • The Irish Adventures of Worzel Gummidge is based on a number of scripts which were written for a proposed television series set in Ireland, but which collapsed due to funding issues before filming could begin.

    The Sleeping Beauty, Full Employment and Worzel's Handicap were all re-used when the first season of Worzel Gummidge Down Under went into production.
  • The scripts written for the Irish series which involved the Travelling Scarecrow Maker were ignored in The Irish Adventures of Worzel Gummdge, but the character does get briefly mentioned in passing.
  • A heavily re-written version of As the Scarecrow Flies was included in the Worzel Gummidge Down Under novelisation, along with a second novelisation of The Sleeping Beauty.
Cover image and back cover blurb for the Sparrow Books edition supplied by Stephen Barker
Worzel Gummidge Down Under

by
Keith Waterhouse
and
Willis Hall
Cover image: Worzel Gummidge Down Under, Dragon Books (1987)
Country UK
Format Paperback
Publisher Sparrow Books
Publication Date 1984
Original Price 1.95
ISBN 0583311067

Worzel Gummidge Down Under contains novelisations of seven episodes from Season 1 of the Worzel Gummidge Down Under television series.

Back Cover Blurb
Worzel Gummidge is up to his old tricks again — this time in New Zealand. In this latest television adventure Worzel travels 'Down Under' in pursuit of his beloved Aunt Sally, who has been sold to a museum there. Will Worzel rescue poor Aunt Sally or will the evil travelling scarecrow-maker make him his slave?
Television Episodes
30 Minutes | Channel 4 | Colour

04/10/87 As the Scarecrow Flies Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
11/10/87 The Sleeping Beauty Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
01/11/87 King of the Scarecrows Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
08/11/87 Ten Heads Are Better Than One Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
15/11/87 Worzel to the Rescue Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
22/11/87 Slave Scarecrow Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
29/11/87 A Traveller Unmasked Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
Notes
  • This was the only book based on Worzel Gummidge Down Under to be released. Season 2 would be the only Worzel Gummidge series from which none of the episode were ever novelised.
  • The scripts novelised in Worzel Gummidge Down Under were originally written for a series that was intended to be set in Ireland.

    Of those, three (The Sleeping Beauty / Full Employment / Worzel's Handicap) were novelised in The Irish Adventures of Worzel Gummidge, which also includes a novelisation of the original version of As the Scarecrow Flies.

    The only one of the ten episodes from Season 1 of Worzel Gummidge Down Under not to be novelised in some form was A Friend in Need.
Transmission dates supplied by David Brunt
Worzel Gummidge's Television Adventures

by
Keith Waterhouse
and
Willis Hall
Cover image: Worzel Gummidge, Worzel Gummidge's Television Adventures, Kestrel (1981)
Country UK
Format Hardback
Publisher Kestrel
Publication Date 1981
Original Price 5.25
ISBN 0722657730

Worzel Gummidge's Television Adventures is an omnibus of the first two novelisations: The Television Adventures of Worzel Gummidge and More Television Adventures of Worzel Gummidge.