Mackenzie Crook has put the “scare” into scarecrow as he unveiled his new look as Worzel Gummidge.
The Office star has been pictured for the first time in heavy prosthetic make-up as the beloved scarecrow character in the new modern adaptation of the children’s tales which Crook has written and is directing himself for the BBC.
Crook, 47, said:“I’m thrilled to be back working with the BBC and many members of the Detectorists team to bring Worzel Gummidge to a new generation of viewers and reintroduce him to old friends.
“Adapting Barbara Euphan Todd’s books into these two films has been a joy and I’ve completely fallen for her charming, irreverent scarecrow.
“Fingers crossed for a glorious English summer as we head out to Scatterbrook Farm and Worzel’s Ten Acre Field.”
But some fans on social media voiced concerns Crook’s appearance would frighten children.
Baz Aqualungz tweeted: “Oh Jesus Christ and all that is holy, the BBC are rebooting Worzel Gummidge starring McKenzie Crook, and it's TERRIFYING! JUST LOOK AT IT!”
Caroline High commented: “It’s always the word ‘modern’ that sets my alarm bells ringing... I’m afraid that scarecrow face would give me nightmares... I wonder how younger viewers will see it?”
It’s always the word ‘modern’ that sets my alarm bells ringing... I’m afraid that scarecrow face would give me nightmares... I wonder how younger viewers will see it? #WorzelGummidge
— Caroline (@Talesfrombefore) June 6, 2019
— Baz Aqualungz (@fuelled_by_pies) June 6, 2019
— Ross 'Teddy' Craig (@RossTeddyCraig) June 6, 2019
Todd’s books were first brought to life on the small screen by the late Doctor Who star Jon Pertwee in the late 70s and 80s.
Crook is making two hour-long films featuring Worzel for BBC One Crook.
The first 60-minute episode, entitled The Scarecrow Of Scatterbrook, sees two young strangers arrive in the village of Scatterbrook. It’s not long before Susan and John encounter Worzel Gummidge, the Scarecrow of Ten Acre Field.
The second episode, The Green Man, welcomes another mysterious arrival – the Green Man, who is the creator of scarecrows and keeper of scarecrow lore and is not happy that Worzel is consorting with humans.
Supporting cast details are yet to be announced. The new films are expected to air at Christmas.
The original series starred Una Stubbs as Aunt Sally and featured Dame Barbara Windsor as Saucy Nancy.
Kristian Smith, executive producer for Leopard Pictures, said the two films are “real treat pieces for a family audience”.
He added: “There was nobody other than Mackenzie that I wanted to work with on this.
“The vision and creativity of this man is awesome. He has written two beautiful scripts that are clever, warm and funny. And once again he has attracted a formidable cast of tremendous actors.”