The Black Adder

Directed by Martin Shardlow
Writers: Richard Curtis, Rowan Atkinson

Episode: The Witchsmeller Pursuivant

  • Rowan Atkinson ... The Great Grumbledook
    Frank Finlay ... The Witchsmeller Pursuivant
    Elspet Gray ... The Witch Queen
    Tim McInnerny ... Percy, A Witch
    Tony Robinson ... Baldrick, A Witch
    Richard Murdoch ... Ross, A Lord
    Valentine Dyall ... Angus, A Lord
    Peter Schofield ... Fife, A Lord
    Stephen Frost ... Soft, A Guard
    Mark Arden ... Anon, A Guard
    Perry Benson ... Daft Ned, A Peasant
    Bert Parnaby ... Dim Cain, A Peasant
    Roy Evans ... Dumb Abel, A Peasant
    Forbes Collins ... Dopey Jack, A Peasant
    Patrick Duncan ... Officer, An Officer
    Barbara Miller ... Jane Firkettle
    Natasha King ... Princess Leia
    Howard Lew Lewis ... Piers, A Yeoman
    Sarah Thomas ... Mrs. Field, A Goodwife
    Louise Gold ... Mrs. Tyler, A Goodwife
    Brian Blessed ... Richard IV, A Kingr

  • "Witchsmeller Pursuivant" is the fifth episode of the first series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder (The Black Adder). The Blackadder series would go on to become hugely successful, in the 2004 TV poll to find "Britain's Best Sitcom", Blackadder was voted the second-best British sitcom of all time, topped by Only Fools and Horses.

    This episode is set in England in the late 15th century and centres on the fictitious Prince Edmund (Rowan Atkinson), who finds himself falsely accused of witchcraft by a travelling witch hunter known as the Witchsmeller Pursuivant (Frank Finlay). The story satirises mediaeval superstition and religious belief and was loosely based on Ken Russell's The Devils.

    The episode features a number of scenes filmed on location at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, the setting for King Richard's castle throughout this series. Due to limitations on budget, only selected actors were filmed on location, including Frank. A production assistant on the series, Hilary Bevan-Jones, recalls that she forgot to pick up Frank from the location at the end of a shoot and left him behind, until the make-up team found him wandering in the snow in full Witchsmeller costume and brought him back to the hotel.