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Evil .. Ugly and Scruffy

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1978-12-20 Daily Mirror.jpg


That is Pertwee's new baby

THE elegant Jon Pertwee has taken a huge gamble and staked his professional pride on an ugly and scruffy old scarecrow.

The most sophisticated Dr. Who of them all is to attempt to create a massive new cult following for Wurzel Gummidge.

Wurzel is the scarecrow hero of a series of children's books which first appeared forty years ago. His adventures have been read by millions and heard on radio, but never on TV.

That he soon will be—in a series starting next year—is largely due to Pertwee's persistence in a five-year fight to portray the character.

"I loved the books as a child," said Pertwee, "and while I was still in 'Dr. Who' I was asked to play Wurzel in a film.

'But we couldn't get financial backing and the film fell through."

Pertwee offered the idea to Thames, who make his "Whodunnit ?" series.


"They didn't want to know," he said. "I was amazed. But at last Southern Television snapped it up."

Pertwee says that the series is very much his baby and its success is vital to him.

"I believe in it so much," he said. "My professional pride and my faith in myself would be shattered if it doesn't work."

Southern have made an unusually heavy investment in the series. Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall have produced the scripts.

Pertwee's co-stars include Joan Sims, Una Stubbs and Geoffrey Bayldon -- television's Catweazle.

Pertwee describes Wurzel as an "evil, wicked, but lovable" chap.

"Of course, he's a fantasy figure, but he sincerely believes in himself. That makes for sadness as well as fun—he'll have you In tears."

Wurzel is also basically ugly and rather stupid, but can change character by changing his head.

He has a handsome head, a thinking head and a dancing head. He also has a stock of old English swear words like "dang-me" and "bumswizzled."

Part of Pertwee's determination to make Wurzel a success stems from disillusionment with his former employers —the BBC.

"I did five years as. Dr. Who," he said, "and helped the show become popular with adults as well as children.

"Yet after I left I heard nothing from them. They offered me nothing.

"It seems stupid to build somebody up and then not exploit them.

"I didn't even bother to offer them Wurzel. Judging by what they paid me as Dr. Who they couldn't afford me now, anyhow."

He also regrets the lack of opportunity on radio. "I did "The Navy Lark' for eighteen years—it was the longest-running comedy show anywhere in the world.


"I'm one of the most experienced radio actors in Britain but I'm never used.

"I'm resigned to it now."

Off-screen the tall, white-haired 59-year-old Pertwee still has the passion for gadgets and speed which he brought to Dr. Who.

"I'm a gadget lunatic," he said, "and I'm mad for speed. Give me a car, a motorbike or a boat—and I'm happy."

Caption: JON PERTWEE Success is vital

Correction: Worzel Gummidge

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  • APA 6th ed.: Pratt, Tony (1978-12-20). Evil .. Ugly and Scruffy. The Mirror p. 14.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Pratt, Tony. "Evil .. Ugly and Scruffy." The Mirror [add city] 1978-12-20, 14. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Pratt, Tony. "Evil .. Ugly and Scruffy." The Mirror, edition, sec., 1978-12-20
  • Turabian: Pratt, Tony. "Evil .. Ugly and Scruffy." The Mirror, 1978-12-20, section, 14 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Evil .. Ugly and Scruffy | url= | work=The Mirror | pages=14 | date=1978-12-20 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=20 June 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Evil .. Ugly and Scruffy | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=20 June 2024}}</ref>