BBC’s Worzel Gummidge filmed at Ashridge Estate

Mackenzie Cook as Worzel Gummidge at Ashridge, Bucks

If you’re hoping for some nostalgic festive T.V. this Christmas, then look no further than BBC One’s new two-part adaptation of Worzel Gummidge.

Based on the classic children’s books by Barbara Euphan Todd, the two hour-long films have been adapted by Mackenzie Crook (star of The Office and The Detectorists), who also plays the titular mischievous scarecrow as he comes to life on Scatterbrook Farm and befriends local children John and Susan.

Filming took place over the summer of 2019, and Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire provided the backdrop for the closing scenes in the final film. 

Shona Waldron, a member of the Countryside Team at the 2,000 hectare Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, reveals more about the two-day shoot: 

“The scenes involved the characters of Worzel (Mackenzie Crook) and The Green Man (Michael Palin) sitting by some (fake) rocks looking out over the Chilterns.

“As well as capturing this moment between the two lead characters, the filmmakers made the most of this beautiful natural setting and took sweeping shots from the Ivinghoe Hills over the Chilterns towards Dunstable Downs”.

Michael Palin as The Green Man in Worzel Gummidge
Michael Palin as The Green Man at Ashridge, Bucks
Michael Palin as The Green Man in Worzel Gummidge

Ashridge Estate is no stranger to filming, having hosted the likes of Harry Potter, Les Misérables and Maleficent over the years. This shoot was particularly memorable because it required so little in terms of preparation, as Producer Georgie Fallon explains: 

“One of the messages Mackenzie wanted to draw out in his adaptation of this beloved classic was the need to respect and care for our natural world. 

“Ashridge couldn’t have been more fitting, lovingly looked after by the National Trust it’s a breath-taking spot. 

“Where we were filming in the field (just off the Beacon carpark), we couldn’t help but pause and take in the magic of the place, with its wildflowers and butterflies happily fluttering about”.

Thanks to the fees from productions like Worzel Gummidge the team at Ashridge Estate is able to continue its work to protect and care for the estate. 

Worzel Gummidge will air on BBC One on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th December 2019.