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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The perfect gift for any Worzel fan; Unless she hates your guts, of course..., 22 July 2013
Hal Marshall "It wasn't me!" (Essex) - See all my reviews
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This is a really well-researched book and was precisely what I was looking for last year as a bit of a last-ditch love token for my former wife just before our marriage was finally put out of its misery. She is a great fan of Jon Pertwee in general, and of Worzel in particular, so it isn't quite as bizarre a notion as it probably sounds. It is a weighty tome (A5 in size and 288 pages in length). It hurts if flung across the room at you and it is definitely too big to be able to fit comfortably anywhere 'the sun doesn't shine'. The moment that suggestion was made to me, I knew my future as a divorce statistic was assured. I mean to say, if even a book devoted to Worzel could not convince her to have me back then really nothing could. Thank goodness for that! I think I owe both the scarecrow himself and the author a cup of tea and a slice of cake, at the very least.

I'm guessing that there simply weren't enough photographs to really grab her attention because she actually doesn't read much (apart from the riot act, and then only to me). There are a few small black and white pictures sprinkled around, covering everything from screenshots to magazines and merchandise, but the quality of them is variable. It doesn't really detract from my own reading pleasure, but then I haven't got the sort of crush on Mr Gummidge that my ex-wife has. With that in mind, I perhaps would have been a little more comfortable with a slightly more glamorous choice of cover-photo; Worzel looks utterly terrifying here. I don't so much mind being compared unfavourably with a bad-tempered old scarecrow with straw for a brain if he has at least made some kind of effort, but when he looks like he's lost all his teeth, lives under a bridge and pushes all his heads around in an old shopping trolley well... I do have some pride. No wonder half the people I speak to cower in fear at the very thought of this programme, if that's the sort of image that comes to mind thirty odd years later.

Yet, just a brief flick through these pages will also remind you just how very special 'Worzel Gummidge' was. The writing, the cast, the locations... all the ingredients were there to create a truly iconic show. Gary Wharton combines interviews with cast and crew, together with biographical information and anecdotes, all built around a detailed synopsis of each episode (right up until Worzel was finally flung upon that metaphorical compost heap, at the end of the second series of 'Worzel Gummidge Down Under'). Jon Pertwee had to fight like mad to get the show made in the first place, only to have to fight even harder to get it put back into production following the demise of Southern Television. It's all covered in this book. The writing is enthusiastic and gently humorous in style.

I think that an index might have made the book even better but I always seem to end up moaning about that particular issue in a variety of non-fiction books so it's obviously some quirk of mine in general. I feel like Victor Meldrew now, whining away like a broken record. Nevertheless, there is an awful lot of information contained within these pages and it is difficult to find specific bits and pieces again.

I had hoped to find out more about Frank Marlborough who played (amongst other things), the absolutely wonderful 'Dafthead': unfortunately it seems that his talents were not utilised very much on the small screen and thus details about him are scarce. I hope he knows / knew what a fine comic actor he is/ was, that's all.

There are one or two typos hidden away (we have a 'canon being fired', for instance, which I don't think involved some kind of scandal in ecclesiastical circles), but they really don't matter. What matters is that someone has had the good sense to create a work like this, a work that showcases 'A Very Special Scarecrow' for both old and, hopefully, new audiences alike.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars smashing new book for fans of the funny scarecrow, 4 April 2012
A great, original guide to the cult children's telly show Worzel Gummidge.
The book covers all the episodes and series made, including the 2 series made in New Zealand.
Also includes fans memories, cast interviews/ comments and loads, loads more.
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