Worzel Gummidge: Unseen animated episode unearthed

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Jon Pertwee and Una Stubbs voiced the characters they played in the live action TV show

An unseen animated episode of popular TV show Worzel Gummidge has been unearthed.

The original ITV show ran for four series from 1979, featuring Doctor Who star Jon Pertwee as talking scarecrow Worzel and Una Stubbs as Aunt Sally. It was filmed in Hampshire.

A BBC producer found an unbroadcast animated pilot episode that was due to run in the mid-1990s.

The animation never made it to TV screens after Pertwee died in May 1996.

Producers had been in talks to broadcast the spin-off show on Sky.

Image source, Getty Images
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The series ran from 1979 and proved a hit for ITV

Pertwee played Worzel from 1979 to 1981 and filmed a further two series in New Zealand when the show was reprised in 1987.

Stubbs went on to star in the BBC's 2010 adaptation of Sherlock.

The negatives for the animated pilot episode were located in a private archive in Slough, Berkshire, but without sound.

BBC producer Richard Latto found the cans among original camera negatives for the Pertwee TV show with archive expert Paul Vanezis.

Image caption,
Archive expert Paul Vanezis helped unearth the unseen animation

The son of the late claymation animator Maurice Pooley was traced to Devon where a cutting copy of the full episode had been kept in a garage for more than 20 years.

The sound was added with fresh transfers of the negatives.

Tony Pooley said: "[The animation] was probably an idea that got thrown around in the Dog and Duck, it was a very small industry then. It's very basic, but my father spent hours doing this."

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Stuart Manning, author of The Worzel Book and Gummidge historian, said: "[It] was made with limited resources and has some rough edges but it captures the last time Jon and Una worked together, with their chemistry still going strong after 15 years in their roles."

The TV series was directed by Oscar-winner James Hill and was nominated for four Baftas. It also spawned a hit West End musical.

Detectorists and The Office star Mackenzie Crook is currently working on a revival of the show for the BBC.

Image source, Maurice Pooley
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A storyboard for the show was also discovered