Good news for all lovers of classic British children’s TV. Catweazle, the popular 1970s comedy featuring a medieval wizard who is transported to the present day UK from England of 1066, has found a director and finance for a voyage to the cinemas.
Catweazle, the name of the wizard at the centre of the action, was screened for two series on ITV back in 1970 and ’71 and became an international success in more than 50 countries as well as being turned into two successful books. Rumour has it that a reality TV show will allow viewers to vote for the actor who will play the wizard’s young friend, Carrot, the farmer’s son who helps introduce him to modern life.
The original programme featured a charming and hilarious Geoffrey Bayldon in the role of the cassock-wearing Catweazle and the late Robin Davies as the red-haired Carrot. The plot saw Catweazle’s magic whisking him forward in time, but proving less able to get him back again.
While stuck in the 20th Century, the wizard encounters modern technology to hilarious results. Even the simplest of devices utterly bewilder him, much to the amusement of audiences. Catweazle also renames familar elements of our lives: electricity becomes electrickery and the telephone is a talking bone.
The new screenplay will be written by Richard Carpenter, author of the original series, with BAFTA-winning John Henderson directing. The £6 million production is being financed through Intandem Films and Ettinger Brothers, who hope to raise cash for the budget through the UK government’s tax relief Enterprise Investment Scheme.
At the moment, Welsh odd-ball Rhys Ifans is rumoured to be in line to play Catweazle. We’re not sure he’s old enough, who do you think would make a good 11 century wizard lost in the 21 century? Bill Nighy? Alan Rickman?
Check out the Catweazle website for updates (there’s not much there at the moment), we’ll let you know if we discover anything.