BBC orders new comedy ‘The Witchfinder’ set in 1647 from ‘Alan Partridge’ writers

The writers of Alan Partridge are returning to the BBC with a new historical sitcom.

Created by Neil and Rob Gibbons (Veep, This Time with Alan Partridge), the six-part series will be executive produced by Steve Coogan.

The Witchfinder will follow a witchfinder and his suspect on a road-free road trip through an England gripped by civil war, famine and plague in the 17th Century.

The cast will be led by comedy stars Daisy May Cooper (This Country, The Personal History of David Copperfield) and Tim Key (Peep Show, Alan Partridge).

Cooper said: “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.”

Key added: “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 I’m 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.”

The official synopsis reads: “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.”

Kate Daughton, Head of Comedy Commissioning commented: “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.”

The Witchfinder will air on BBC Two in the UK in 2020.

Alan Partridge: Knowing Me, Knowing You is available on DVD on Amazon.