A Classic British Comedy

Catweazle was a British television series, aired for the first time in 1969 and distributed all over Europe, where, due to its success, the repeats ran almost nonstop up into the late eighties.

Our hero was a medieval magician who, fleeing from the Normans, tried a flying spell on himself that unfortunately made him end up in south-east England of the late sixties (Surrey's East Clandon to be correct - poor bastard). There he befriends the local farmer's and landlord's son and get's in all kind of anachronistic trouble.

The series was written and perceived by a chap called Richard Carpenter (a stalwart of british daytime tv) and produced by the aptly named London Weekend Television (or LWT as they are preferred to be called today) and ran for only two seasons.

The whole thing of course sounds incredibly lame in the age of shows like Stargate SG-1, The X-Files or movies like Back to the Future, in which the whole timetravelling shebang is caricatured ad infinitum, but even to this day the show has a certain twang that makes the whole thing immensely enjoyable.

Catweazle, played by a sprightly Geoffrey Bayldon (so hyper he should be on ritalin), never really got the hang of the twentieth century and caused continuous mayhem, terrorising the landscape on his bicycle and taking his toad Touchwood on surrealistic excursions. The writers always seemed to hit the spot nicely between hilarity and a certain underlying melancholy, as the poor bugger missed his native 11th century.

The whole show has recently been released on VHS, so if you're over thirty, get and revel in the memories.


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