Negatives for animated pilot episode found over 20 years later by BBC producer, Richard Latto
Cinelab London has discovered an unseen animated episode of the popular TV show, Worzel Gummidge, in their archives. The footage was going to be part of a spin-off of the original Worzel Gummidge show, set to be broadcast on Sky TV.
The lost animated film captures the last time Jon Pertwee and Una Stubbs worked together. The original live-action show was an established hit which ran for four seasons in 1979. It was filmed in Hampshire by Southern Television and starred Jon Pertwee as Worzel Gummidge and Una Stubbs as Aunt Sally. Pertwee played Worzel’s iconic character from 1979-1981 and continued to film two more series in 1987 when the show was reprised.
The unbroadcast episode had been placed in cans with the original camera negatives in the BBC’s archive at Cinelab London and was found during a separate research project by BBC producer, Richard Latto and archive expert Paul Vanezis. This unseen episode was originally due to run during the mid-1990s but was never released due to the death of Jon Pertwee in 1996.
Sonji Clarke, head of business development at Cinelab London commented:
"It’s been such a joy to find this incredible unseen film within the archives. None of us expected it to be within the live action negatives. We felt privileged to be able to work with bringing a bit of British history back to life."
Following the discovery, Cinelab London worked closely with the BBC, the Pertwee family and the Pooley family to restore the film so that it could finally be screened. Cinelab rescanned and graded the film. Sound was also added in addition to fresh transfers of the negatives.
English actor, director, comedian and BAFTA-winning writer Mackenzie Crook [Detectorists, The Office] is currently working on creating a revival of the show for the BBC.