THE WITCHFINDER COMING TO BBC TWO
The Witchfinder is an original new comedy for BBC Two following a witchfinder and his suspect on a road-free road trip through an England gripped by civil war, famine and plague.
It’s the year of our Lord 1647 and fear of witchcraft is rife. Puritanical Christianity, deep-seated superstition and a willingness to scapegoat outsiders have created a tinderbox of suspicion in which few are safe. In this environment, witchfinding has flourished, as self-appointed witch experts achieve hero status by investigating accusations of witchery and extracting confessions.
A failing witchfinder (Tim Key) transports a suspected witch (Daisy May Cooper) across 1640s East Anglia to a trial that could change his fortunes forever. But his captive is the worst possible travel companion: an inquisitive, uncouth woman whose ability to prick his pomposity and ask uncomfortable questions turns a straightforward journey into a life-changing ordeal.
The Witchfinder is created by Neil and Rob Gibbons, the writers and directors of This Time with Alan Partridge.
Daisy May Cooper says: “I cannot wait to be starring in The Witchfinder with the absolutely brilliant Tim Key. I’ve always wanted to be a witch, my mother says I’ve got the nose and chin hair for it. I dabbled a bit in witchcraft when I was in my teens and ended up accidentally inviting an incubus into my house. He was an absolute prick.”
Tim Key says: “I’m delighted to be working with the mercurially talented Gibbons brothers again, particularly on something set in 17th century England – which they seem to have a fairly loose grasp of – and am excited to do a road trip but on horses (I can’t ride a horse). I love the idea of Daisy May Cooper being a pissed-off witch anyway so the fact that I’m playing her antagonist is the icing on the cake. Can’t wait to saddle up.”
Kate Daughton, Head of Comedy Commissioning says: “In The Witchfinder, the Gibbons brothers have managed to create a timelessly compelling odd couple, forced together on a journey through one of the most baffling moments of English history. Tim Key and Daisy May Cooper are two of the UK’s funniest people and I can’t wait to see them tackle gender politics, male privilege and bees … on horseback.”
Christine Langan, CEO of Baby Cow Productions says: “Baby Cow is thrilled to be bringing the Gibbons brothers hysterical-heretical-historical epic The Witchfinder to BBC Two. Rob and Neil have put a truly modern twist on this macabre moment in time, as Daisy May Cooper’s ‘modern-day’ everywoman gets dragged to trial by Tim Key’s inept, chauvinist, careerist witchfinder. In Daisy and Tim we have one of the best double-acts in British comedy and we can’t wait for you to see them fight their way across East Anglia.”
Written and directed by Neil and Rob Gibbons (This Time with Alan Partridge, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Mid Morning Matters, Veep). The producer is Dave Lambert and the executive producers are Christine Langan and Steve Coogan. The Witchfinder is a Baby Cow production for BBC Two.
The 6×30’ series was ordered for BBC Two by channel controller Patrick Holland and Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning. Kate Daughton, Head of Comedy Commissioning will be editor on the series.
Full casting and broadcast information will be announced in due course.
Tim Key is an actor, writer, and performance poet. He has won the Edinburgh Comedy Award, and been nominated three times for the Barry and once for the Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality. On screen he plays Sidekick Simon in the Alan Partridge franchise and has appeared in The Double, Inside Number 9 and Peep Show. More recently he has been seen in Pls Like, Greed and The End of the F***ing World. Tim’s radio show ‘Tim Key’s Late Night Poetry Programme’ has run for years on BBC Radio 4, with a fifth series recording this Autumn. Tim also starred in Art at The Old Vic and continues to write and perform his own five star live shows. Most recently he made the critically acclaimed Megadate which he performed at The Old Vic before adapting it into a BAFTA-nominated BBC One comedy short, with the subtly different title: Wonderdate.
Daisy May Cooper was born and brought up in Cirencester in the Cotswolds. She went on to attend RADA, studying for a BA in acting. Whilst there her brother Charlie moved to London to stay with her. With very little money and missing home, the pair began to talk about the characters they had grown up with back in the Cotswolds. From this the character of Kerry was born and before long they found themselves writing a script. That early writing became the hit BBC Three sitcom This Country starring the siblings. An under-the-radar gem, This Country gradually built up a dedicated following and has since racked up numerous awards including the BAFTA for Female performance in a Comedy Programme for Daisy May last year. Daisy May has recently starred in Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield and written and performed in his upcoming HBO series Avenue 5.