Mackenzie Crook’s much-loved sentient scarecrow Worzel Gummidge is back for another BBC One one-off special this Christmas.
Last Christmas saw the reintroduction of the beloved children’s character of Scatterbrook Farm, brought to life for contemporary viewers in a festive two-parter on BBC One.
Adapted by Crook (who also directs and plays the titular role), the series is based on the classic books by Barbara Euphan Todd, and sees the scarecrow befriend two orphans and set out on various adventures.
This new episode will continue to emphasise to a younger audience the importance of nature and preservation, says Crook. Speaking exclusively to Radio Times for the Christmas issue, he said: “It seemed obvious to me that there should be an environmental message. But I soon realised that kids don’t need that message to be spelt out – they’re already completely into it. It’s my generation that needs a kick up the a**e.”
He continued: “I’d love to see kids educated in British nature, so they can understand the diversity of our incredible wildlife.”
With the likes of Shirley Henderson, Vanessa Redgrave and Brian Blessed joining the Worzel Gummidge cast, here’s everything you need to know about the 2020 special.
Worzel Gummidge 2020 special air date
Worzel Gummidge is returning to our screens for Christmas Eve, with the third film – Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy – airing on Christmas Eve, 24th December, at 5:55pm on BBC One.
If you haven’t caught up on the first two Worzel Gummidge specials, BBC One will be airing them in the run-up to Christmas – with The Scarecrow of Scatterbrook airing at 3:50pm on Monday 21st December, and The Green Man airing on Tuesday 22nd December at 3:40pm.
Worzel Gummidge 2020 special cast
Mackenzie Crook returns as the titular scarecrow, as do India Brown as Susan and Thierry Wickens as John. Joining the central trio are Shirley Henderson (Harry Potter) as Saucy Nancy, and the legendary Vanessa Redgrave as Peg.
Worzel Gummidge 2020 special plot
The third feature-length episode reunites animated scarecrow Worzel Gummidge with orphans Susan and John. The episode, titled “Saucy Nancy,” is named after a brand new character whom the gang meet in a scrapyard.
The synopsis describes how “Worzel overhears the grumbling of a foul-mouthed old friend – the carved ship’s figurehead, Saucy Nancy. She has been languishing, unsold in the yard for years and longs to return to the sea. Worzel and the kids promise to get her there, but will her ship be waiting? Worzel doubts it, but Nancy is convinced. She can feel it in her carvings”.
The episode will see the team set out on an adventure as they navigate their way to the coast by any means necessary – including by bus, wheelbarrow, motorbike and sidecar – until they reach “a wild moorland and the spectacular white cliffs of Seashell that provide the backdrop to this story of friendship and belonging”.
Mackenzie Crook said of the new instalment: “I’m excited and grateful to be making a new episode of Worzel Gummidge after a difficult year for everyone. We’re heading out of Scatterbrook for this story, on a day trip to the seaside, some fresh air and some wide open space.”
Shane Allen, Controller Comedy Commissioning for the BBC, added: “What is it with Mackenzie and shows set in a field? Following on from last year’s bucolic eco-fables we find Worzel in mischievous form dispensing his sun-baked wit and wisdom in another heart-warming tale. This cements BBC One’s unique reputation as the home of UK family comedy drama.”
Both episodes that aired last Christmas remain available to stream on BBC iPlayer now. Back in December, Worzel Gummidge review awarded it five stars, calling it “funny, poignant and heartwarming”.