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Catweazle - Eccentric Saxon sorcerer (whose spells always go wrong) featured on the British children's series CATWEAZLE/LWT/1970-72.

Catweazle (Geoffrey Bayldon) lived in a cave during eleventh century. One day, while trying to evade Norman soldiers who wanted to arrest him for witchcraft (“Know that I am Catweazle. Thou canst not catch me, thou wood-lice!”), Catweazle casts a spell to fly away but instead falls into a lake. When he resurfaces, the shocked sorcerer finds that he has traveled to the future - to a small Hexwood Farm pond in the year 1970, to be exact.

Now stuck in a bizarre new world filled with magic like motor cars, telephones ("telly bone"), electricity ("electrickery"), lightbulbs ("sun in a bottle"), and cameras (“If she has my image I am her slave!”), Catweazle attempts to find a way back to his own time.

The only things Catweazle has from his past life are his smelly clothes, his familiar - a toad named Touchwood, his thumb ring and Adamcos, a magical dagger which Catweazle uses to cast spells.

Soon after arriving in the 20th century, Catweazle befriends a local 14-year-old boy from Hexwood Farm named Edward "Carrot" Bennet (Robin Davies) and moves into an old water tower which he calls "Castle Saburac."

Learning to keep out of sight of the other locals including Carrot's father, and farmhand Sam was Catweazle primary worry. But still suspicious of these modern times, he makes sure he stays incognito by casting a spell on Carrot which prohibits him from telling anyone about him.

Cast of Series One
Catweazle, Carrot, his Father and Farmhand Sam

Eventually, Catweazle find the magic he needs to travel back to his own time. So, he bids farewell to the strange new land and travels back through the watery landscape to surface back in his own time. (“Nine hundred years are waiting. Fare thee well...”

At the start of the second series, Catweazle resurfaces in the eleventh century only to be imprisoned in Farthing Castle by Norman lord William de Collynforde, who believes that his captive can conjure up gold.

Escaping from his cell, Catweazle casts another flying spell and hurls himself off the battlements. But the "flying part" of the spell fails and Catweazle falls into the castle moat. When he resurfaces, he quickly discerns that he has once again been transported back to the 20th century.

Disappointed, but ever practical, Catweazle befriends a 12-year-old aristocrat named Cedric (Gary Warren), the son of Lord and Lady Collingforth whose family lives in a large stately white house with a clock tower near Kings Farthing, that was built over the remains of Farthing Castle.

Soon, Catweazle enlists Cedric in a search to find 13 magical signs of the zodiac which Catweazle believes will get him back to the eleventh century.

"Twelve there are that circle round.
If power you seek they must be found.
Look for where the thirteenth lies.
Mount aloft - the one who flies".

For his assistance, Catweazle promises to help Cedric locate the lost Collingford treasure so that he could restore the family's failing fortune. The final episode ended with the Catweazle the wizard flying off in a balloon into the unknown (the balloon bearing the name "Zodiac").

Catweazle Logo

TRIVIA NOTE: The series was conceived and written by Richard Carpenter and produced by London Weekend Television. The stories of both seasons were adapted in to the books "Catweazle"  and "Catweazle and the Magic Zodiac."

The series also spawned three annuals specials, and long-running comic strips in TV Comic (issues 949 to 1033), and the TV Times, Look In (January 1972 to December 1974).

In addition, Catweazle won Richard Carpenter the prestigious Writers’ Guild Award for the Best TV Drama Script in 1971. The series theme song was an instrumental piece called 'Busy Boy' by Ted Dicks.

The inspiration for the title of the show came about when Richard Carpenter observed the name "Catweazle" on a gate while taking a walk near a turkey farm in Sussex (TV Zone #46, Sept. 1993).

Later, Carpenter came across a picture by Hieronymous Bosch called the 'Crowning with Thorns’ with the image of a little man pointing up at Jesus on the cross. Liking his looks, Carpenter used that little man as his inspiration for the Catweazle character.

The house used in the second series is Brickendonbury Manor in Hertfordshire. According to producer Carl Mannin (Look-In May, 6th 1972), the house's history mirrored that of the TV house. “Firstly, he (Richard) wanted a Norman castle to show Catweazle's escape, but we realized how difficult it would be to find one we could use. So then Richard wrote that the house he imagined was situated on the site of the old castle which was burnt down in the 1850s and was rebuilt by the owners. Then we found Brickendonbury... There were stories that it had been used during the war to train British agents, and that Winston Churchill used it as his secret headquarters. But what really stunned us was that we discovered it actually had been built on an old castle site, and it really had been burnt down in the 1850s!”


Cast Credits

Geoffrey Bayldon as Catweazle
Peter Butterworth as Groom
Robin Davies as Carrot
Elspet Gray as Lady Collingford
Neil McCarthy as Sam Woodyard
Gwen Nelson as Mrs Gowdie
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell as Mr. Bennet
Gary F. Warren as Cedric Collingford
Moray Watson as Lord Collingford

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