When this year’s list of festive TV was announced, one of the entries that instantly got many people excited was Mackenzie Crook’s new version of beloved Jon Pertwee kids show Worzel Gummidge, based on the novels Barbara Euphan Todd.
And now that they’ve seen the first of two episodes featuring the sentient scarecrow, audiences have had their say about the update on the classic – with the reaction overwhelmingly positive so far.
A host of viewers, including both fans of the original and those new to the character, took to Twitter to sing the praises of the show and of Crook’s performance.
One Twitter user called Crook an “underrated genius” adding that the show was “so atmospheric” and that “I hope kids latch onto this like we did”.
Another described the show as “perfect Boxing Day viewing” with a third claiming that “Mackenzie Crook is playing a blinder as the character”.
And one user pointed out that the real measure of the show’s success was how younger children respond to it, tweeting, “I’m half watching my 7 year old while watching #WorzelGummidge This is why it’s lovely bring back an old classic with a modern story. He’s engrossed. He’s the real critic. Fresh eyes enjoying an old idea.”
I'm half watching my 7 year old while watching #WorzelGummidge This is why its lovely bring back an old classic with a modern story. He's engrossed. He's the real critic. Fresh eyes enjoying an old idea.— Sam (@bumfluffboo) December 26, 2019
Despite the praise, however, a few viewers had some issues with the new show – mainly based around the fact that some considered Gummidge’s appearance to be a tad on the scary side, with more than one Twitter user comparing the character to Freddie Krueger.
One user posted a photo of Crook’s Gummidge alongside Krueger, writing “Meet the new Worzel Gummidge & wot (sic) he would look like without his beard (Freddie Krueger). Kids will be to scared to sleep tonight after watching that.”
@BBCOne @Worzeltv Meet the new Worzel Gummidge & wot he would look like without his beard (Freddie Krueger)🤣🤣🤣 Kids will be to scared to sleep tonight after watching that. Bring our 80's Worzel back!!!💜 #originalisalwaysbest pic.twitter.com/01VGNzvs1E— Tanya D R 💜 (@tanyareid107) December 26, 2019
Another wrote, “I’m sorry – but the new Worzel Gummidge is terrible. He looks like Freddie Krueger, and what have they done to Aunt Sally. Leave the classics alone!”
Meanwhile one user claimed, “The montage of the scarecrows coming to life and staggering across the fields is hands down the scariest thing I’ve seen on TV this year.”
The montage of the scarecrows coming to life and staggering across the fields is hands down the scariest thing I’ve seen on TV this year 🆘🙅🏻♀️ #WorzelGummidge— lea ✨ (@muIderitsme) December 26, 2019
Of course, as always, there were also a few traditionalists who just didn’t think the new version lived up to the original.
One fan wrote, “See they’ve remade Worzel Gummidge. Some things should be left alone. Jon Pertwee was the best.”
Another wrote, “There will only ever be one,” accompanied by a picture of Pertwee in character as the scarecrow.
Despite these detractors, the majority of viewers appear to have been on board with the new version – and, as one Twitter user pointed out, there were always going to be a handful of original fans who would dislike any updated version.
“Please remember that if you are in your 50s and grew up on the original #WorzelGummidge that this will do, probably, nothing for you,” he wrote. “You won’t like it because you aren’t a kid no more watching a program from your childhood. No matter what they made it would never impress you.”
Worzel Gummidge episode 2 airs on BBC One at 7pm on Friday 27th December. Both episodes will be available in iPlayer