Norfolk panto star and comedian appears in BBC Christmas special

PUBLISHED: 08:11 31 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:29 31 December 2019

Ben Langley Credit: Kate Anderson

Ben Langley Credit: Kate Anderson


Norfolk panto star and comedian Ben Langley made an appearance in one of this year’s big hit Christmas TV shows.

Ben Langley as Wishee Washee Credit: Rosa Maria HughesBen Langley as Wishee Washee Credit: Rosa Maria Hughes

Best known locally for his role in Norwich's pantomime at the Theatre Royal, entertainer Ben Langley was spotted playing a small part in the remake of Worzel Gummidge over the festive period.

The Christmas special, which aired on BBC One on December 26 and 27, saw Mr Langley play the role of a taxi driver.

But despite only making a brief appearance, the Britain's Got Talent star, who lives in Shimpling near Diss, said it was "wonderful" to be part of the remake of the classic TV show, which ran from 1979-1981.

Mr Langley said: "I remember Worzel Gummidge being on when I was quite young but I don't think I was allowed to watch it.

Ben Langley in Great Yarmouth Hippodrome's Christmas Spectacular. Picture: Nick WarnerBen Langley in Great Yarmouth Hippodrome's Christmas Spectacular. Picture: Nick Warner

"I remember him taking off his head and being quite scared.

"But as an actor I have always been aware of Jon Pertwee and the different roles he played including his iconic role as Worzel."

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Actor and writer Mackenzie Crook wrote and played the part of the scarecrow himself and his adaptation of the show was well received by viewers on Boxing Day.

It was through Mr Langley's previous work with Mr Crook, on the TV show the Detectorists, that he received an email from the BBC last February asking him to feature in the remake of Worzel Gummidge.

"It was the best thing in the world when I was asked to be part of it," said Mr Langley.

"We filmed in June and I spent three days on set. I was able to meet Mackenzie again and we had a lovely conversation outside of my trailer and he said, 'wouldn't it be great if you're in everything I write now?'.

"Everyone was very excited about recreating this show and I think it was greeted really well.

"Worzel was brought back in such a lovely way with a message attached."

From film sets to circus rings, Mr Langley is currently performing with the Hippodrome circus in Great Yarmouth, as 
part of its Christmas 
Spectacular, until its last show on January 6.

Mr Langley added: "I have been in the entertainment industry since the '80s and I'm so lucky with what I have been offered and ended up doing. I'm a very happy man."

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