It’s fair to say I’ve fallen in love with Worzel Gummidge. I’ve always wanted to love the lovable scarecrow, but the dusty prints were a turn-off for me. It heightened any weird edges that were present. The remastered prints as seen on recent reruns via Talking Pictures TV are much more pleasant, and allow more concentration on the finer details.
Based on the books by Barbara Euphan Todd, Southern TV’s Worzel Gummidge featured Jon Pertwee playing the lovable scarecrow. It ran for 30 episodes over four series, and a Christmas special, from 1979 to 1981. Such was the popularity of this series, a single was released by Pertwee in 1980. Entitled Worzel’s Song, it reached a peak of 33 on the Official UK Charts in March of that year.
I can’t remember exactly how I came to own a copy of this record, it just kind of slipped into my collection via the many bundles I’ve received. It came with no sleeve, but the record seemed in moderately good condition. I was not inclined to play it, until after I experienced a long session of watching Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor in Doctor Who.
While organizing my collection, I stumbled upon it and decided to give it a spin. It sounded a little crispy audio-wise, but the song soon overtook the limitations of the medium. The song is a jaunty number that bops along at a bouncy tempo. It is a faster version of the song performed in the show, with extra verses and Worzel content. Also, he is singing it directly to the listening audience, as opposed to any other in-show characters.
The verses bring in references to storylines from the show, but the chorus is universal. It gives instructions on how to speak Worzel’s Worzeleeze language. It’s a repetitive section so catchy and rhythmically pleasing, that you won’t even realise you’re joining in. Pertwee’s eccentric vocals and consistent characterisation are a major reason why this throwaway novelty song hits harder than it has any right to.
The B-Side is a slower song entitled Who’d be a Scarecrow? I would write about it at length, but it just seems to pale in comparison to the main single. It’s a little slow and seems like filler, an instrumental version of the A-Side would’ve sufficed.
Overall, Worzel’s Song is a fun novelty that deserves to be more remembered. Jon Pertwee really embodies the character, and all of his additional material is on point. The production is tight and still sounds great. Try and seek out if you can for a warm fuzzy feeling; It isn’t available on streaming sadly. Watch Worzel Gummidge on Talking Pictures each Friday at 6pm