Mackenzie Crook’s triumphant reimagining of Worzel Gummidge boasts a stellar cast. But, as with Crook’s Detectorists, it’s the great British countryside that’s as much a star of the show as the actors. So where did the writer-director-scarecrow find his Scatterbrook Farm and Ten Acre Field? Let’s take a tour and find out…
In the films, siblings Susan and John (India Brown and Thierry Wickens) arrive to spend the summer at Scatterbrook Farm, under the watchful eye of Mr and Mrs Braithwaite (Steve Pemberton and Rosie Cavaliero). All the Scatterbrook scenes were filmed at Valence End Farm, a working farm just outside Dunstable in Bedfordshire. The farm’s neighbours include elephants, cheetahs and brown bears (it’s right next door to Whipsnade Zoo).
Ten Acre Field
The field Worzel calls home was filmed in countryside close to Berry Bushes Farm in King’s Langley, Hertfordshire. This time around, Worzel’s neighbours include goblins, a giant basilisk and a certain boy wizard – it’s less than 10 minutes away from Warner Bros. studios at Leavesden, home of The Making of Harry Potter tour. Many of the other countryside exteriors were also filmed around King’s Langley.
The opening sequence of Susan and John being driven down a high-hedged country lane was filmed at St Leonards, midway between Tring in Hertfordshire and Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire.
Taking his cue from Barbara Euphan Todd’s books, Mackenzie Crook has written Aunt Sally (Vicki Pepperdine) as just that – Worzel’s aunt (unlike that flaming temptress Una Stubbs, who set Jon Pertwee’s heart a-flutter in the 70s TV version). Instead, Crook has reintroduced Worzel’s literary love interest Earthy Mangold (Francesca Mills), whose day job is keeping the birds off a local allotment. The veg patch in question was filmed at Highfield Park in St Albans, Herts.
The Local History Museum
The scenes where Worzel pays a call on Aunt Sally were filmed at Wardown Museum and Gallery, a Grade II listed building in the grounds of Wardown Park, Luton, Bedfordshire. The museum’s collection includes an Iron Age mirror and the Shillington Roman coin hoard – which no doubt piqued the interest of a certain detectorist…
The Tree of Tree
This is the ancient, magical tree that Worzel uses to send a message to the scarecrows of Albion. And what more magical location in the world could there be than… a car park in Luton.
Bloomsbury Barton Manor
The country seat of Lady Bloomsbury Barton (Zoë Wannamaker) was filmed at a private house in Watford.
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Top of the world
In the second episode, Worzel and the Green Man (Sir Michael Palin, no less) sit down at the top of a hill for a heart-to-heart about what it means to be a scarecrow. This is Ivinghoe Beacon, part of the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire. Perched high in the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Ivinghoe Beacon contains the remains of an Iron Age hill fort and several Bronze Age burial mounds, as well as offering spectacular views across several counties.
Worzel Gummidge is on BBC One on Thursday 26th December at 6:20pm and Friday 27th December at 7pm