TV & Movies

BBC backlash as angry parents slam Worzel Gummidge remake littered with sexual innuendos

Worzel Gummidge: BBC release trailer for Christmas special

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Worzel Gummidge is a walking, talking scarecrow who can come to life on Scatterbrook Farm and he was first featured on screens in 1979. Actor Mackenzie Crook reprised the title role for the show’s return in 2019. While fans were delighted to hear there would be a remake of the hit family programme, some claimed the latest instalment was “littered” with rude jokes. 

Some viewers may remember the former cast from the classic kids TV series.

Former Doctor Who actor, Jon Pertwee played the lead role of Worzel, while Una Stubbs portrayed love interest, Aunt Sally.

Other familiar faces included Barbara Windsor as Saucy Nancy, Geoffrey Bayldon as the crowman and Lorraine Chase as Dolly Clothes-Peg.

Originally commissioned by ITV, the show was based on a series of books by author Barbara Euphan Todd.

In the episode Twitchers, a flock of choughs turns up at the farm and Worzel is keen to seize the chance to scare such a rarely seen bird. 

But his plans were soon scuppered when a group of avid birdwatchers moved in.

Much to the disdain of eagle-eyed audiences at home, viewers heard at least three hidden jokes on rude-sounding bird names.

One bird was named a “Red-knobbed coot”, while in another scene, fellow twitcher Lee Dangerman called out a “blue-footed booby” bird.

The comment was shortly followed by Lee staring into the camera and asking the female reporter: “Have you ever seen a penduline tit?”

Angry parents called out the family-favourite show for being “a bit too rude”. 

Jodie Graham, 45, said: ‘I usually love watching the new Worzel Gummidge episodes and my kids do too. 

“But I was a bit surprised about the Twitchers one.

“They littered it with far too much sexual innuendo for my liking.”

The concerned parent counted “at least three” rude jokes during the episode of Twitchers.

They added: “My youngest is only seven and he kept asking me why Susan and John were laughing when Mr Braitwaite said Red-knobbed coot.” 

Another angry viewer, Gavin Taylor, added: “Worzel is a Christmas tradition in our house.

“But the bird-watching episode was a bit too rude for a young audience.

“I felt the writers were going for cheap laughs on this one,” he added.

While the father from Nottingham had expressed his concerns, Gavin admitted he couldn’t help but find the “Red-knobbed coot” joke “amusing”.

Complaints are published on the BBC’s website every two weeks.

A spokesperson explained that although they “wouldn’t comment on this [the complaints]”, they did confirm the show was watched by 2.7m viewers on BBC One.

Worzel Gummidge season two is available to watch on BBCiPlayer

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