“Catweazle” – 1970
Quentin Lawrence producer
Carl Mannin producer
Joy Whitby executive producer
Geoffrey Bayldon – Catweazle
Peter Butterworth – Groom (1970)
Robin Davies – Carrot (1969)
Elspet Gray – Lady Collingford (1970)
Neil McCarthy – Sam Woodyard (1969)
Gwen Nelson – Mrs Gowdie (1970)
Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell – Mr. Bennet (1969)
Gary M. Warren – Cedric Collingford (1970) (as Gary Warren)
Moray Watson – Lord Collingford (1970
Review by Rennie
This was one of my favourites from my childhood days. For those of you who weren’t lucky enough to catch this series it was about an 11th Century wizard who falls off a castle wall and somehow gets transported into the 20th century. There he lives in a disused water tower with his *familiar* Touchwood, a toad, and is befriended by a little boy. Had some great comedic moments with some superb acting from Geoffrey Bayldon.
If you’re a Catweazle fan like me I would recommend you visit this Catweazle fan club site. It’s absolutely amazing and could even get you a chance of seeing the man himself Geoffrey Bayldon. Just click Nothing Works!! for a great Catweazle experience
Review by Screenman
Yet Another Short-Run Classic
Long before Harry Potter, we had Catweazle. Nowhere near as successful and famous as his latter-day juvenile contender, he was still a far more entertaining character.
Tumbling out of some medieval time-warp into the (then) present day 1970, he was obliged to come to terms with science and technology that made otherwise magical experiences pass into common place. A young boy acted as his guard, guide and mentor. The great charm of this programme arose from the misunderstandings that arose from their temporally distanced cultures, and the understanding and comradeship that developed between them as friends.
Thus, there is the telephone from which conversation is had, reinterpreted as a telling-bone on account of its shape and grammatical similarity. We see, the young boy switch on a bathroom light with the pull-chord, and Catweazle misconstruing the toilet chain for the same purpose. ‘Thou art truly a great magician’ and at other times ‘Nay, nay, thou art a toad’, with sundry similar expressions. Truth to tell; someone from Catweazle’s epoch wouldn’t speak or understand any contemporary English, but it’s just a bit of kids fantasy, so what the hell?
I say it was for kids, but adults who stopped to linger soon fell under his spell too.
This was one of those short-running series that never outstayed its welcome. By the time the formula had run its course, the ancient sorcerer had found a way home to his own age, and was never seen on telly again (except, perhaps, as repeats).
Although the concept of a dirty (literally) old stranger befriending a young boy was a tricky one to address, especially when that friendship must be kept secret. It was handled with very great care, and a light enough touch as to never raise a doubt in the audience. Whether or not it could as easily be worked today in a world of paedophilic paranoia is another matter entirely. I suspect political-correctness would give it the axe. In fact that’s probably why it has so seldom been screened since.
This was a wonderfully imaginative series from the golden age of short-run classics. Check-out ‘The Prisoner’ or ‘The Guardians’, or ‘The Clangers’, to name but a few others. It’s available on DVD, now. and a generation who haven’t met Mr Catweazle have a grand treat in store.
Well worth a purchase for some lucky kid’s birthday present. They’ll be watching this and quoting the lines long after any toys have lost their charm.
Go get it.