Mackenzie Crook hadn’t watched Worzel Gummidge before he took on the reboot

The writer-director-star of the reboot was unaware of the passing for the animated scarecrow.

Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy

Mackenzie Crook says he didn’t watch Worzel Gummidge when he was young and was unaware of the passion that people of his generation had for the living scarecrow when he agreed to make last year’s two-part series.

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Crook is back with another Worzel Gummidge special, Saucy Nancy, this Christmas after the success of 2019’s rebooted family drama based on the books of Barbara Euphon Todd.

He told The One Show: “There’s a whole generation of people, my age I guess, that held the ’80s version, the Jon Pertwee version so dearly to their hearts… And I didn’t actually watch that, perhaps I was unaware when I got involved and as the thing went on I realised what a thing this was on my shoulders, what a weight of responsibility.”

It was a relief to him that the first special was a success.

“So when it was received so well, and when the reviews came out, that was the weight off my shoulders,” he said.

Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy screens on Christmas Eve, 24th December on BBC One and is the story of how Worzel reunites with an old chum when he hears his foulmouthed friend swearing at a scrapyard.

Crook explained: “Nancy is a ship’s figurehead and it’s from one of the original books from Barbara Euphon Todd and she’s a friend of Worzel Gummidge and he decides to take her back to the seaside, so it’s sort of a road trip to go back to the sea.”

Mackenzie Crook as Worzel Gummidge
BBC/Leopard Pictures/Matt Burlem

Quizzed about directing the drama while wearing Worzel’s “constricting” prosthetics, Crook responded: “I’ve been wearing it so much the past few years I’ve kind of got used to it. And it’s great [for] getting into character, although I must say I enjoy the days when I’m directing without Prosthetics more.”

On not quite such an upbeat note, he had bad news for fans of The Office.

“I’ve got to admit I don’t think it will be coming back anytime soon, if ever,” he said.

There was better news for fans of his BAFTA-winning BBC Four comedy-drama Detectorists.

He said: “Detectorists is something that could come back, I’m just waiting for a good story to come along. I’d be happy to bring that back.”

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While you’re waiting visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight, or check out our guide to new TV shows 2020 to find out what’s airing this autumn and beyond.