Doctor Who

Season 11 Episode 8

The Witchfinders

Full Episode: The Witchfinders

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Full Episode Summary

The Doctor and her companions arrive in 17th century Lancashire and are swept up into the witchhunts of the period.

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Nov 27, 2018
As indicated in the title, this episode delves into the topic of witches.
This episode came on November 25 2018 and somewhat coincidentally fellow time travel series Timeless & Legends of Tomorrow both went into the topic of witches and both about the Salem witch trials and both in this year 2018.
For Timeless it was The Salem Witch Hunt on April 8 and Legends of Tomorrow had an almost same title with just Witch Hunt which came on much more recently on October 29 the day after Arachnids In The UK.
Unlike the Timeless & Legends of Tomorrow episodes, The Witchfinders does not take place in Salem but like those two episodes it does take place in the 17th century.
Incidentally the First Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara were at the Salem witch trials in the novel The Witch Hunters, similar in name to the Timeless & Legends of Tomorrow episodes.
While still on the subject of witches elsewhere, I watched the Charmed reboot and long before learning The Witchfinders name let alone knowing the episode was going to be about witches I had planned to see the movie Bell, Book and Candle (1958) which by sheer coincidence I finally got to see just less than 24 hours before seeing The Witchfinders.
The psychic paper identifies the Doctor as the Witchfinder General and it was funny that she was quickly demoted to the assistant with Graham now usurping the Witchfinder General position.
Just as the Thirteenth Doctor was pretending to be Graham’s assistant, I re-listened to the Big Finish episode Living Legend which coincidentally had the Eighth Doctor pretending to be Charley’s assistant.
Surprising that the masked figure turned out to be King James I. James is played by Alan Cumming a casting that has been made known several months ago.
Sometime after learning of Cumming’s casting as James, saw another portrayal of the King in the Gunpowder mini-series where he was played by Tooth and Claw guest star Derek Riddell.
Coincidentally Riddell can now be seen in the movie Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which like The Witchfinders also delves into the topic of magic.
Another coincidence is that clips of Tooth and Claw but not one with Riddell was shown in Whovians as it looked at the Doctor meeting Royals before.
James mentioned her mother but not her name. Any viewer who may not immediately know who she was it was Mary, Queen of Scots.
Terrifying on seeing the reanimated bodies.
Shocking when blood (?) came out of Becka’s eye.
Amazing that tree is of alien technology.
Creepy the Morax came in led by Becka and James finding a simplistic reason to kill Becka.
Not really surprised the Doctor namedropping Houdini after getting her out of that tree and not bad her quoting Arthur C. Clarke of technology being indistinguishable from magic.

The Next Time trailer for It Takes You Away looks fascinating and I haven’t the slightest hint what is going to be about.

Matthew See
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Classics, Dark Comedy, British TV, Time Travel, Creatures