Go back to the cave
It was 5.30pm on Sunday 15th February 1970 when Catweazle dropped in from 1066 with the very first episode ‘The Sun In A Bottle’. Two years of sheer magic followed, but he waved us goodbye all too briefly on Sunday 4th April 1972 in Episode 26, ‘The Thirteenth Sign’. That was the last we saw of him on UK television, apart from the repeats on Sky Television! he was gone but not forgotten... The mists of time are clearing and his army of brothers and sisters in magic are gathering and swearing on Adamcos that they will bring him back to this time, so that this wondrous wizard can bring forth, merriment, laughter and enjoyment once more to an even greater audience.
Here’s what TV Heaven says about our favourite TV show:
‘Yet another creation from the imaginatively fertile mind of gifted actor/writer Richard Carpenter. Over the course of two seasons and produced by London Weekend Television between 1970-1971, the adventures of the scruffy eccentric 11th century wizard Catweazle, and his efforts to escape the bewildering experiences of being trapped in the 20th century amused and delighted both adults and children alike.
Played with skill and great charm by the ever excellent Geoffrey Bayldon, Catweazle is an unhygienically manipulative, spoiled, egotistical creation made likeable by his almost child-like sense of wonder at the technological trappings of the modern age in which he initially finds himself trapped, whilst attempting to use magic to discover the means of flight. Seeing the world through Catweazleís eyes, everyday items became things of wonder and excitement.
To Catweazle even the most basic of everyday objects were astounding, an electric light bulb, referred to as ëelectrickeryí, is the sun itself captured and placed in a bottle by modern magic. Taken for granted by the modern audience a telephone became a ‘telling bone’ and therefore took on a new sense of wonder. The young viewing audience embraced these everyday objects and bestowed upon them the ultimate accolade of becoming school yard catchphrases.
Carpenter’s use of the time travel concept was merely an imaginative means by which he explored the true meaning of deeper issues such as friendship, trust and loneliness, within the framework of what was ostensibly a genuinely funny situation comedy/fantasy. In the relationship between Catweazle and the farmer’s son Carrot, (Robin Davis) in season one and latterly the young aristocrat Cedric, (Garry Warren), the normal roles between adult and child are cleverly reversed, with the skittish, irresponsible magician taking on the mantle of the dependant child to the actual physical adolescentís much more modern day, wordly-wise, persona.
In a decade which saw many fine examples of children’s television, ‘Catweazle’ has easily withstood the ravages of time to emerge as a quality series which is as good now as it was when originally broadcast. Many of us grew up watching the misadventures of the misplaced magician. Thankfully, few if any of us have ever truly outgrown him’.
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Remember, the membership fee is for LIFE. There is no annual fee to pay. This fan club is the official UK fan club because it has members of the original cast and production at it’s core, some of which meet at Hexwood each year.
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The Catweazle Series GREAT MAGIC Episode Guide
Here we have listed all episodes of the entire series. There are 26 episodes in total of approx. 25 minutes over two series. With thanks to Malcolm Codd for suppying the episode stills.
1. The Sun in a Bottle
11th century, England: Deep in the heart of the English countryside, magician Catweazle finds himself cornered by Norman soldiers. Calling upon his dubious magical powers, Catweazle leaps into a lake to escape his pursuers, but inadvertently ends up travelling nine hundred years through time and into the twentieth century.
First broadcast UK: 15th February 1970 on ITV
2. Castle Saburac
Seeing that Catweazle has taken refuge in a chicken hut, Carrot offers him a long overdue bath. The Bennet’s cleaner is not impressed, although magic comes to the rescue, as does a new abode for Catweazle, Castle Saburac.
First broadcast UK: 22nd February 1970 on ITV
3. The Curse of Rapkyn
Continual misfortune and bad luck lead Carrot to believe there is a curse on Hexwood Farm. A chance encounter at a local history museum leads Catweazle to a magic book, and an even greater discovery.
First broadcast UK: 1st March 1970 on ITV
4. The Witching Hour
Parish councillor Miss Bonnington worries Carrot, especially as she appears to have her eyes firmly set on his father. Carrot decides that only magic will spirit her away, and who better than Catweazle to provide the spell.
First broadcast UK: 8th March 1970 on ITV
5. The Eye of Time
Sam has little luck with his weekly flutter on the horses. Busy at the farm, Sam asks Carrot if he can place his bets for him. Catweazle is dragged in to help, and ends up having an audience with the mysterious Madame Rosa.
First broadcast UK: 15th March 1970 on ITV
6. The Magic Face
Mrs Derringer, a wealthy American photographer takes a picture of Catweazle at an old cottage. Eager for Catweazle to pose for more shots, she asks Carrot to bring him over to her house. Catweazle reluctantly agrees, convinced he's under her spell.
First broadcast UK: 22nd March 1970 on ITV
7. The Telling Bone
Catweazle's calamitous magical powers have landed him on the spire of a local church. Catweazle is encouraged to come down by the vicar trying to offer assistance, but very soon it is the clergyman who is in need of help.
First broadcast UK: 29th March 1970 on ITV
8. The Power of Adamcos
Catweazle sees Norman soldiers and thinks he has returned to his own time. In the confusion, he loses his sacred knife Adamcos. The trail leads to an antique shop, where Catweazle is desperate to retrieve his magical dagger.
First broadcast UK: 5th April 1970 on ITV
9. The Demi Devil
A visit from a missing pet equals chaos for Catweazle who thinks he's turned Carrot into a monkey. In desperation, Catweazle pays a visit to the eccentric Colonel Upshaw in the hope he'll be able to reverse the magic.
First broadcast UK: 12th April 1970 on ITV
10. The House of the Sorcerer
Sparks fly when Sam tells Mr Bennet he is leaving for a new job with Cyril Fitton, an ornithologist based in the local woods. Catweazle stumbles across the bird watcher's caravan and is temporarily employed as an assistant.
First broadcast UK: 19th April 1970 on ITV
11. The Flying Broomsticks
Brooms have been disappearing mysteriously from the area. Sergeant Bottle goes to Hexwood Farm to interrogate Mr. Bennet. The real culprit is, of course, Catweazle, who has been stealing brooms for a spell, which he hopes will take him back to his own time.
First broadcast UK: 26th April 1970 on ITV
12. The Wisdom of Solomon
Mr Bennet employs a new housekeeper, Mrs Skinner, who arrives with her obnoxious son Arthur. Soon, both are upsetting the atmosphere at the farm. Catweazle is called upon to provide the necessary magic to remove the pair.
First broadcast UK: 3rd May 1970 on ITV
13. The Trickery Lantern
Aware that the way back to his own time lies through water, Catweazle prepares for the long journey home. Seeking protection from the Normans, Catweazle steals a lantern that Carrot has bought for his father's birthday.
First broadcast UK: 15th February 1970 on ITV
1. The Magic Riddle
Fleeing Norman guards, Catweazle leaps into a moat only to fly once again through time into the twentieth century. Catweazle now finds himself in the grounds of Kings Farthing manor where he meets Cedric, the son of Lord and Lady Collingford.
First broadcast UK: 15th February 1970 on ITV
2. Duck Halt
SSent by Cedric on an errand to a local pub, Catweazle catches sight of the sign of the bull. A frantic chase ensues which leads Catweazle to his new abode, Duck Halt.
First broadcast UK: 17th January 1971 on ITV
3. The Heavenly Twins
Cedric's birthday party at Kings Farthing ends in uproar when Catweazle becomes an assistant to a modern-day magician.
First broadcast UK: 24th January 1971 on ITV
4. The Sign of the Crab
A thief breaks into Kings Farthing and steals a number of valuables. Catweazle is a likely suspect, especially when the stolen property turns up at Duck Halt.
First broadcast UK: 31st January 1971 on ITV
5. The Black Wheels
Groome has lost his voice, necessitating a visit from a doctor. Catweazle is keen to help but in the confusion ends up being examined instead.
First broadcast UK: 7th February 1971 on ITV
6. The Wogle Stone
A superstitious property-magnate has his sights set on developing Kings Farthing. Thankfully, Catweazle is on hand to thwart the developer's plans.
First broadcast UK: 14th February 1971 on ITV
7. The Enchanted King
Catweazle is convinced a local sculptor can turn people into stone. Caught up at the artist's grand unveiling, Catweazle has a surprise for the assembled audience.
First broadcast UK: 21st February 1971 on ITV
8. The Familiar Spirit
Touchwood is taken sick. Two toad experts, both identical twins, are in hysterics when they discover that Touchwood is over 900 years old!
First broadcast UK: 28th February 1971 on ITV
9. The Ghost Hunters
Believing Kings Farthing is haunted, Lady Collingford employs some disreputable ghost hunters to flush out the troublesome spirit.
However, an encounter with Catweazle gives them more than they bargained for.
First broadcast UK: 7th March 1971 on ITV
10. The Walking Trees
Is Catweazle a spy? Well, the Army seems to think he is. Captured during military manoeuvres at Kings Farthing Catweazle is subjected to an interrogation.
First broadcast UK: 14th March 1971 on ITV
11. The Battle of the Giants
Daggers are drawn as Groome and Lord Collingford battle it out to grow the largest marrow. Chaos reigns supreme when Catweazle's magical remedy gets mixed up with the fertiliser.
First broadcast UK: 21st March 1971 on ITV
12. The Magic Circle
Groome is referred to a therapist when he thinks he's seeing things, although the psychiatrist finds Catweazle a far more fascinating case.
First broadcast UK: 3rd May 1970 on ITV
13. The Thirteenth Sign
Having collected all twelve signs of the Zodiac, Catweazle helps Cedric find the lost treasure of the Collingfords' and then discovers the elusive thirteenth sign.
First broadcast UK: 4th April 1971 on ITV
Both series are now in dvd form, and can be obtained from the club.
See ‘Ye Old Shoppe’ page
The Original Television Cast
Here you will find all of the members of the cast for both series including some very notable cameo roles!
But let’s start with the man who made it ALL happen....
Richard Carpenter Catweazle Author
Richard ‘Kip’ Carpenter was born in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, (England) in 1933.
He worked as an actor for 17 years before he finally changed his profession to that of an author and script - writer. He spent the greater part of his childhood in Norfolk and grew up with Greek mythology, Comics ‚’Beano’ and Shakespeare. His interest in the theatre and in acting eventually took him to the Old Vic Theatre School and to repertoire theatre. During this time he already began writing short stories for the radio. After one year at the Old Vic he started working on television, appeared in a number of films but was mainly active as a character actor in British television. Richard Carpenter appeared in hundreds of TV productions, (actually more than 300)!
In 1969 he started concentrating on writing. The first work he wrote was ‘Catweazle’ which developed into such a success that it gave him the decisive breakthrough to being a successful author and he is considered one of Great Britain’s most important television script - writers.
In fact the idea for ‘Catweazle’ came to him by chance: One weekend, when he was driving to the countryside with his wife to see his brother-in-law who was running a turkey farm in East Sussex then, they decided to take a different route on their way home from normal. They got lost and found themselves in a narrow country road. It was here, that Richard Carpenter suddenly noticed a fence with the word ‘Catweasel’ on it. What an unusual name, he thought and wrote it down on a little piece of paper. He put it in his pocket and forgot about it. Later when he was going to take his trousers to the cleaners, he found the note again and began reflecting upon that name. It at once occurred to him that it would be a great name for a magician. He was given another inspiration by the painting by Hieronimus Bosch called ‘The Crowning with Thorns’ which he saw in a book. In this painting he noticed a figure that matched his imagination of the wizard called Catweazle. Catweazle, he thought, has to be exactly like this character! So he step by step, he began writing those stories so well known to us.
From the very beginning, he had seen his old friend and acting mate Geoffrey Bayldon, as the main part of Catweazle and he wrote it with him in mind. He changed the original word ‚’Catweasel’ slightly into ‘Catweazle’ so that it had more of a hissing sound when said.
‘Catweazle’ was awarded the Writers Guild Award for the best TV drama script and soon a lot of other works and prizes followed. For example he wrote dozens of episodes of the ITV series ‘The Adventures of Black Beauty’. ‚’The Boy from Space’ and ‘Cloudburst’ were written by him for the BBC school programme ‘Look and Read’. Richard is also attributed with the very successful children fantasy series ‘ Ghosts of Motley Hall’ (1976-1978). In addition to this, he also wrote the family series ‘Dick Turpin’, two very popular adventure series ‘The Smuggler’ and ‘The Adventurer’ as well as several episodes of the cartoon series ‘Doctor Snuggles’ which became well known in Germany, too.
In the year 1983 he gained similar cult status with ‘Robin of Sherwood’ as he had with “Catweazle.” This series became internationally known and it too was not short of magic. For example, in the episode ‘Rutterkin’ his wife Annabelle Lee and her ’Spiritus Familiaris’ (in the shape of a piglet) appeared. In spite of its enormous success the series was taken off the programme after three runs because there had been a change in the management of Granada Television. And, just the same as with ‘Catweazle’ scripts and concepts for a continuation have been gathering dust on shelves for years.
It should also be mentioned, that Richard Carpenter was in fact planning to realize a continuation of ‘Catweazle’ and a third new series in which ‘Catweazle’ lands his hot air balloon on the water tower at the Bennets farm once again. This time there would have been also a girl character too. But all this did not take place for several reasons: The director of the first ‘Catweazle’ series Quentin Lawrence, had unexpectedly died and neither Richard Carpenter nor Geoffrey Bayldon were interested in a continuation with a new director and possibly in a new style. In addition to this, there were changes taking place in the head department and management of London Weekend Television (LWT) in charge of production.
In 1999 Richard Carpenter wrote some episodes of the BBC adaptation of ‘Scarlet Pimpernel’ (starring Richard E. Grant).
His series ‘Out of Sight’ (1996) won him the Writers Guild of Great Britain Award.
Of the more recent works of Richard Carpenter‚ Stanley’s Dragon has to be mentioned (1994) as well as ’I Was A Rat’ BBC (2001), an adaptation of the book by Philip Pullmann.
For the adaptations of Mary Norton’s Borrowers books ‘The Borrowers’ and ‘The Return of the Borrowers’ both BBC series, Carpenter was awarded Best Children’s Drama Award with a BAFTA TV and an international Emmy nomination.
Richard Carpenter rewrote many of his former scripts as novels on sale in book shops such as ‘Catweazle’, ‘Catweazle and the Magic Zodiac’, ‘Cloudburst, ‘The Ghosts of Motley Hall’, ‘Smuggler, Dick Turpin’ and ‘Robin of Sherwood’.
The two ‘Catweazle’ books have been edited and re-edited for more than 25 years.
Richard Carpenter is married to actress Annabelle Lee and they have two children, Tom and Harriet. His hobbies are painting, sculpturing, Jazz, and talking about all sorts of things.
Geoffrey Bayldon Catweazle
Geoffrey Bayldon was born the son of a tailor in Leeds, Yorkshire England on January 7th, 1924 He had wanted to be an actor since his youth. Before he fulfilled his ambition as a professional actor in 1947, he served in the Royal Air Force and although originally having studied architecture he decided that he did not want to sit at his desk any more and finally studied acting at the Old Vic Theatre School. During this time he frequently met writer Richard Carpenter. Although only a young man, he already had a reputation as an actor of being very able to play strange old male characters.
When he was offered to play the main part of the doctor in "Doctor Who" he rejected that offer, his argument being that the character was too old and the series too long. He decided that he did not want to be typecast again to a role of yet another old person, especially for such along period of time. It was our good luck that he rejected that part because that was why he was able to accept the part of 'Catweazle' only a short time later. It was the part that he played with great artistic ability and charm, which made him well known worldwide.
After Catweazle from 1979 to 1981 he went on to play the "Crowman" in the children's series "Worzel Gummidge". Among others, Geoffrey Bayldon's hobbies are gardening, walking, painting and collecting old watercolour pictures. Once in 1980, he was asked what his unfulfilled wish was and he answered: "to understand elementary mathematics".
Stay tuned for Cast members list and profiles to come