The BBC has released an extensive media pack for Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy
When Mackenzie Crook adapted Worzel Gummidge for 2019, it received critical acclaim and was a hit with audience. Cue 2020 and, despite Covid-19, we are now being treated to Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy. The plot is as follows:
When Worzel Gummidge, Susan and John visit a scrapyard, Worzel overhears the grumbling of a foul-mouthed old friend, the carved ship’s figurehead, Saucy Nancy. She has been languishing, unsold in the yard for years and longs to return to the sea. Worzel and the kids promise to get her there, but will her ship be waiting? Worzel doubts it, but Nancy is convinced. She can feel it in her carvings.
Adventure unfurls, as the strange foursome navigate their way to the coast on foot, by bus, wheelbarrow and motorbike and sidecar. It was never going to be straightforward. In a rare trip out of Scatterbrook, Worzel gets to see a wild moorland and the spectacular white cliffs of Seashell that provide the backdrop to this story of friendship and belonging.
In his interview, Crook tells how despite Saucy Nancy being a character in the original books, this is very much not just a rehash of the original tale. He clearly enjoyed writing for Nancy, as he says:
It was brilliant. I had a great time writing a list of rude things you can write on a cow for the last episode. This time Saucy Nancy is this hardened sailor and so it’s supposed to sound like swear words but not quite right.
Shirley Henderson plays Nancy, and clearly enjoyed the seaside setting, despite the prosthetics she had to wear to play her character. She spoke about childhood holidays:
We used to go up north to the empty beaches of Scotland so it’s very much in me: the breeze, the wind, the smells.
She also felt the story might bring some welcome escapism this Christmas.
Vanessa Redgrave plays Peg, an old woman living on the shingle in a hut made from a shipwreck. The setting reminded her of her own childhood:
I loved Treasure Island as a child which was, of course, about shipwrecks
Despite the cold she found the seaside location was beautiful and felt Shirley and she worked well together.
Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy is on the BBC over Christmas and is a single one-hour episode. We’ll leave the final words to Crook:
I’m excited and grateful to be making a new episode of Worzel Gummidge after a difficult year for everyone. We’re heading out of Scatterbrook for this story, on a day trip to the seaside, some fresh air and some wide, open space.