Catweazle was a television comedy series produced by London Weekend Television in the early 1970′s. The series was conceived, and written by Richard Carpenter and ran for two seasons starring Geoffrey Bayldon as the irrepressible Catweazle. If, like me, you grew up amongst the constant presence of Doctor Who and the Goodies it is very likely you will also have fond memories of this well written and charming series.
Catweazle was a magician who lived in the eleventh century, but however hard he tried, his spells hardly ever worked. One day was different. When Norman soldiers tried to capture him, in desperation he used some magic to escape, and it worked! The only trouble was that instead of flying through space to flee his pursuers, he flew though time. Catweazle finds himself nine centuries into the future. Being a magician, everything he experiences in the twentieth century such as motor cars, telephones (“telling bone”), and electric light (“electrickery”), he believes is the result of magic. This basic premise, and Catweazle’s quest to return to his own time, drive much of the humour in the series as Catweazle finds himself in situations that often become, well, hilarious.
In the first series Catweazle is befriended by a farmer’s son, Carrot, and the two share a succession of chaotic misadventures before the wizard succeeds in returning to his own time. The second series repeated the same formula, but this time Catweazle’s young friend is Cedric, the son of Lord and Lady Collingforth.
It’s been more than thirty years since Catweazle cast his spell and captured the imagination of children everywhere. Unforgettable for Geoffrey Bayldon’s outstanding performance as Catweazle, the series timeless humour, warmth and charm hold up today both for those who saw it originally, and for those who will experience this magic for the first time. A true television classic.