Worzel Gummidge writer and star Mackenzie Crook has said that this year’s special episode serves as a fitting tribute to the late Barbara Windsor.
The soap icon and veteran of British film, who had been living with Alzheimer’s, passed away earlier this month at the age of 83.
She appeared in a previous adaptation of the children’s stories, starring opposite Jon Pertwee’s Worzel Gummidge as Saucy Nancy, a discarded ship figurehead who needs help getting back to the sea.
The character returns to live-action this year with Harry Potter and Bridget Jones star Shirley Henderson taking over the role.
When asked whether the episode functions as a tribute to Windsor, Crook told The Sun: “Absolutely, yes. She played the original version and a lot of people will remember that fondly.
“It’s so sad that she died just weeks before our new one went out.”
Once again, the story will see Nancy seek help from scarecrow Worzel and his two human friends Susan and John, retaining the same cheeky sense of humour that made Windsor’s interpretation so popular.
While writing the screenplay, Crook experimented by coming up with strange fictional insults that sound ruder than they actually are.
Crook continued: “There were a couple that even got filmed and we had to cut them out later. I don’t think we realised how close they were to being offensive.
“You should try it. Try writing a list of good swear words. They have to sound right. ‘Pipe scrape, you filthy pipe scrape’. Something about that sounds almost rude, something vaguely anatomical.”
Crook’s first outing as Worzel Gummidge aired last Christmas to widespread acclaim from fans and critics, so anticipation is high for this next chapter.
Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy airs on BBC One at 5:55pm on Christmas Eve. While you’re waiting, check out our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.