Worzel Gummidge

WORZEL GUMMIDGE

Music by Denis King - Book and lyrics by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, based upon characters created by Barbara Euphan Todd

Published: Samuel French Ltd.

The first stage version of the phenomenally successful television series, complete with all the endearing and eccentric characters of Scatterbrook Farm, and of course starring the rascally scarecrow Worzel and the hopelessly vain Aunt Sally.


Kings Comment

PERFORMANCES

First performed Birmingham Repertory Theatre, 12 December 1980. Opened Cambridge Theatre, London, 1982, Duncan C. Weldon for Triumph Theatre Productions Ltd producing.

Producer: James Hill
Director: Clive Perry
Choreography: Geraldine Stephenson
Design: Geoffrey Scott
Costumes: Ann Curtis
Lighting: Robert Ornbo
Orchestrations: Denis King
Musical Director: Ray Bishop

CAST (10M,  4W, 2 Children, between 6 +10 chorus)

PRINCIPALS: Jon Pertwee, Una Stubbs, Geoffrey Bayldon, Denis Holmes, Lloyd McGuire, Mary Griffiths, Lucy Baker, Cathy Murphy, Jonathan Byatt, Courtney Roper Knight, Graham Padden, Norman Mitchell, Michael Ripper, Jane Freeman, Jon Cartwright, Susan Jane Tanner, Jonathan Stephens, Mike Finesilver. CHORUS: Denise Baxter, Julie Edmet, Lynn Edmeny, Lillian Evans, Chris Eymard, Marcus MacKenzie, Christopher Robinson, Emma Rogers, Howard Samuels, Kay Townsend

MUSICAL NUMBERS:


Click on any track name in blue to listen to the track, use the controls on the right hand side to play, pause and stop the audio.

OTHER MEDIA:

Television: THE WORZEL GUMMIDGE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL. Southern TV, transmitted 7th December, 1980. Written by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall; Music by Denis King; Produced and directed by James Hill. Starring Jon Pertwee, Una Stubbs, Geoffrey Bayldon, Barbara Windsor and Billy Connolly. www.deltamusic.co.uk

Original Cast Album recorded at EMI Studios, Abbey Road 6th December 1981. Producer Norman Newell. Arrangements Denis King

Remastered 2014 by Stage Door Records WORZEL GUMMIDGE

KINGS’ COMMENTS

“Worzel” was my first collaboration with the legendary writing team of Leeds-born Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall. I’d known both of them slightly for years as we’d frequented the same actors’ club in the Sixties (Gerry’s on Shaftesbury Avenue) but I have no idea how we came to be working together, perhaps they approached me, having been commissioned by Birmingham. In any event, it became a happy threesome. Keith and Willis seemed to divvy up the songs between them and each would post me his lyrics separately, both typewritten, Keith’s written on his old manual with half the letters missing. I wish I’d saved them.

Occasionally, though, it worked the other way around, and I’d send a cassette of a melody for them to set lyrics to. Keith would post his completed lyric back to me, but Willis tended to ring. I looked forward to these calls. Astrid could always tell who was on the other end of the line by the grin on my face. With the cassette of my tune playing in the background, Willis would sing, or rather, attempt to sing, his newly-minted lyric, which in almost every instance bore little relation to the number of syllables my melody contained.

“Nice,” I’d say, “I like it. But you’ve got six words too many in the opening phrase.”

“Really?” he’d ask with some surprise. “I think it works very well.” He would sing it again, faster, trying to fit them in, but still with six words too many. I’d say “No no, listen,” and sing it, he’d say it sounded fine, I’d say no, we’d both sing it together and eventually dissolve into hoots of laughter. One time he rang and I happened to be out playing golf. He got it into his head that I headed out to the course at every opportunity (and wasn’t far wrong) and from then on whenever he rang, before Astrid could even say “Hello?”, Willis, with exaggerated contempt, would say “Where is he then? On the bluddy golf course again?”

During the technical rehearsals for “Worzel” up at Birmingham--and solely for Willis’ benefit--I surreptitously removed a telescopic putter from my briefcase during a black-out, and when the lights came up in the auditorium I was revealed quietly putting a golf ball up and down the aisle.

I loved being able to make Willis laugh. I felt very honoured.

    “I think it works very well!” has become a catchphrase in the King family and we think of Willis with fondness. He was a great friend and I miss him. Denis King

Key Changes

Black Beauty

Fact of the Day

Denis never saw or tasted a banana until the age of seven.

King Brothers Album

Listening Post

Black Beauty (Galloping Home)


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