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Worzel is perfect for me

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1979-03-10 Liverpool Echo.jpg


Doctor Who's long battle to become a scarecrow


"EVER since I stopped being Dr. Who," said Jon Pertwee, "I've been thinking about Worzel Gummidge!"

The toweringly tall actor with the shock of platinum hair, was in his elegant South London home just a stone's throw from the River Thames.

He had a glass of wine in his hand and his beautiful wife Ingeborg by his side and looked as contented as a man can be.

He is savouring the success of a four-year-long battle to relaunch Worzel Gummidge, the legendary walking, talking scarecrow beloved of generations of children.

Southern Television has filmed the series which is now being shown on the ITV network.

"I really wanted to make a full-length cinema film of this Irascible and lovable old fellow," he said.

"Unfortunately I couldn't find anyone brave enough to put up the money. So this is a very happy compromise.

"Personally, I feel that Worzel has been away far too long."

Much In the manner of Dr. Who, it is predicted that the new series will attract adults and children alike . . . giving the young ones a new character, while bringing a touch of nostalgia to their dads and mums.

Worzel Gummidge, created by author Barbara Euphan Todd, was one of the great favourites in radio programme Children's Hour during the war years.

Many will still remember his favourite line, "Sometimes I sulks for hours and sometimes I sulks for weeks."

Jon Pertwee naturally plays Worzel. Una Stubbs—Alf Garnett's daughter in Til Death Us Do Par—is, Worzel's great friend Aunt Sally, and Jon's cousin Bill Pertwee —(the air-raid warden in Dad's Army)—is also in the cast.

Perfect for me

I've deliberately avoided playing any fictional television role since Dr. Who," says Jon, "because I didn't want to do just another situation comedy.

"I wanted to find something entirely different. And as I love fantasy programmes-the kind that appeal to the child in all of us Worzel seemed perfect for me".

He first made his reputation as a man of many voices on legendary BBC Radio shows such as The Navy Lark and Up The Pole.

In real life, be is also a man of many contrasting parts. Able to flit from his role of Madame Lucy, the effeminate couturier in the hit West End musical Irene, to that of modern buccaneer without even checking his stride.

He spends his leisure hours dangerously on such enterprises as shark fishing and skin diving in the Mediterranean.

In his younger days he was a racing driver and wall-of-death rider and still roars through the London traffic on a high-powered motor bike.

He was first married to Jean Marsh (Rose of Upstairs Downstairs). "There was an age gap of 16 years," he says, "but that wasn't the reason it fell apart. She wanted a career, but lacked the confidence to make it happen. "And I'm afraid I didn't help boost the confidence at all. I was utterly intolerant.

They were divorced in 1960, the same year that he married and a bore. She is German born, 18 years younger than Pertwee and often less of a sizzling bestseller.

"We met on the ski slopes of Kitzbuhel," he says "and from the very beginning things were good between us."

Very flattering

"It's very exciting and flattering for an old man like me to have a beautiful young life around."

He is in fact, 59, but more energetic than most 20-year-olds. His philosophies are buccaneering ones too.

"I enjoyed the simple pleasures of life. Good food, good wine and a good lady. What better?"

And then pausing for thought he'd adds, "no man should marry until he's 35. A chap has no chance of a good marriage unless he's first sown on his wild oats."

They have two children ... a 17-year-old daughter Dariel and a 14-year-old son Sean.

In the midst of an English winter, Jon Pertwee is already dreaming up new adventures in sunfilled oceans and even wondering whether he could maybe talk Ingeborg into letting him go hang gliding-his latest passion.

"Sometimes I sulk for hours," he warns her in his best Worzel voice, "and sometimes I sulks for weeks ..."

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  • APA 6th ed.: Hart, Ted (1979-03-10). Worzel is perfect for me. Liverpool Echo p. TV Weekend Extra, p. 7.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Hart, Ted. "Worzel is perfect for me." Liverpool Echo [add city] 1979-03-10, TV Weekend Extra, p. 7. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Hart, Ted. "Worzel is perfect for me." Liverpool Echo, edition, sec., 1979-03-10
  • Turabian: Hart, Ted. "Worzel is perfect for me." Liverpool Echo, 1979-03-10, section, TV Weekend Extra, p. 7 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Worzel is perfect for me | url= | work=Liverpool Echo | pages=TV Weekend Extra, p. 7 | date=1979-03-10 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=28 September 2023 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Worzel is perfect for me | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=28 September 2023}}</ref>