Geoffrey Bayldon best known for his roles in ITV series’ Catweazle and Worzel Gummidge, has died aged 93.
Bayldon, born in Leeds in 1924, became best known for his eccentric television roles such as medieval wizard Catweazle, who was transported into the 20th century and found the whole experience baffling. He lead starred in all 26 episodes of the London Weekend Television production before later returning to entertain young audiences in Southern Television’s Worzel Gummidge as Crowman, alongside the late Jon Pertwee as Worzel.
However before his adventures in ITV children’s television he had mad numerous TV and movie appearances in the 1950s and 60s including in 1965’s King Rat and 1967’s To Sir With Love and bond movie Casino Royale. The 1970s saw plenty other roles forthcoming including in the Marc Bolan film Born To Boogie of 1972, The Pink Panther Strikes Again in 1976 and both Steptoe and Son big screen adaptations in 1973 and 1979’s movie version of fellow BBC sitcom Porridge.
Television parts were also frequent including several serious performances in ITV Play of the Week between 1957 and 1967, ATV’s period action saga The Adventures of Robin Hood, science fiction sagas Space: 1999, Doctor Who and The Tomorrow People and into the 1980s with shows including BBC drama Blott On the Landscape, Anglia Television’s mystery drama Tales of the Unexpected – currently re-screening on Sky Arts – and Rumpole of the Bailey for Thames Television.
The decade also saw the actor step into the music recording studio to add vocals to the Paul Hardcastle Top of the Pops theme tune entitled The Wizard. Bayldon speaking in the style of his famous Catweazle character for the longer single release of the track. The TV version of the theme, used from 1987 to 1991, didn’t feature any of the spoken words.
Bayldon also appeared in several horror films during his career including Dracula and Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed for Hammer Film Productions and The House That Dripped Blood, Asylum and Tales from the Crypt for Amicus Productions.
Geoffrey continued working into the 2010’s with a regular part as the professor on Channel 5’s Fort Boyard action game show between 1998 and 2001 with other significant appearances in BBC drama Waking the Dead, Yorkshire Television’s 1960s set police drama Heartbeat, both in 2004, BBC comedy drama New Tricks in 2007 and in 2010 long running beeb sitcom My Family.
Geoffrey Bayldon died on May 10th 2017. He was predeceased by his partner, actor Alan Rowe, who passed away in 2000. Rowe had made numerous television appearances himself in shows such as Doctor Who for the BBC, Central Television’s Inspector Morse, HTV’s Wycliffe and the BBC’s Lovejoy.