BBC Two has handed out a six episode series order to The Witchfinder, a comedy series about a witchfinder and his suspect on a road-free road trip through an England gripped by civil war, famine and plague. Tim Key (Brassic) and Daisy May Cooper (This Country) are attached to star.
The Witchfinder is set in 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 comedy series was created by Neil and Rob Gibbons, who will also direct. Baby Cow Productions are producing, with Dave Lambert serving as the series producer. Christine Langan and Steve Coogan are the executive producers. It was commissioned by BBC Two Controller Patrick Holland and the BBC’s Controller of Comedy Commissioning Shane Allen. The BBC’s Head of Comedy Commissioning Kate Daughton will be editor on the series.
“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”, Kate Daughton said in a statement. “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.”
While Christine Langan, CEO of Baby Cow Productions, added: “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.”