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The Black Adder: Witchsmeller Pursuivant (BBC-1 13 Jul 1983, with Frank Finley)



In Witchsmeller Pursuivant it’s 1495 and the King contracts the most terrible of diseases. Worse than a runny nose or one of those irritating tickles you get in the back of your throat, it is the dreaded Black Death. He immediately blames it on witchcraft and sends for the only man who can sniff out the hocus-pocus — the Witchsmeller.

Black Adder and the WitchsmellerLord Percy is in no doubt that witchcraft is afoot. He tells Edmund: ‘Only this morning in the courtyard, I saw a horse with two heads and two bodies!’ ‘Two horses standing next to each other?’ suggests Edmund. ‘Yes, I suppose it could have been,’ concedes Percy.

The Witchsmeller’s finger of suspicion soon points at Edmund who faces being burnt at the stake, something which his new wife, the beautiful Princess Leia of Hungary, is quite looking forward to. His salvation rests with Percy who is defending him at the trial. They might as well fetch the matches now. The case looks lost when the Witchsmeller produces a signed confession from Edmund’s dead horse, Black Satin, confirming that his former master is a servant of Satan. And another witness states that Edmund has fathered a poodle. But with the day of execution dawning, the tables are dramatically turned on the Witchsmeller himself.

Guest Star: Frank Finlay
Playing the cruel, corrupt Witchsmeller was a far cry from Frank Finlay’s usual roles. For he had made his name as a dangerously suave womaniser in 1970s drama series such as Casanova and A Bouquet of Barbed Wire. Even the Witchsmeller’s best friends (not that he had any, given the nature of his job) would be hard pushed to call him suave.

production details
UK / BBC One / 1×30 minute episode / Broadcast 13 July 1983

Series: The Black Adder Episode 5 of 6

Rowan Atkinson as Edmund
Tony Robinson as Baldrick
Tim McInnerny as Lord Percy
Elspet Gray as The Queen
Brian Blessed as The King, Richard IV
Robert East as Prince Harry
Natasha King as Leia
Frank Finlay as The Witchsmeller
Richard Murdoch
Peter Schofield
Valentine Dyall
Patrick Duncan
Stephen Frost
Mark Arden
Barbara Miller
Perry Benson
Bert Parnaby
Roy Evans
Forbes Collins
Howard Lew Lewis
Sarah Thomas
Louise Gold