A Discovery of Witches (TV series)
|A Discovery of Witches|
Title card from the second series
|Based on||All Souls Trilogy|
by Deborah Harkness
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||18 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||45 minutes|
|Original network||Sky One|
|Original release||14 September 2018 –|
A Discovery of Witches is a British fantasy television series based on the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, named after the first book in the trilogy. It is produced by Bad Wolf and Sky Productions, and stars Teresa Palmer, Matthew Goode, Edward Bluemel, Louise Brealey, Malin Buska, Aiysha Hart, Owen Teale, Alex Kingston, and Valarie Pettiford.
The eight-episode first series of A Discovery of Witches premiered weekly in the UK on Sky One from 14 September 2018. In November 2018, Sky One renewed A Discovery of Witches for a second and third series. The ten-episode second series was initially released in its entirety on 8 January 2021, and will air weekly on Sky One.
Diana Bishop, a historian and reluctant witch, unexpectedly discovers a bewitched manuscript in Oxford's Bodleian Library. This discovery forces her back into the world of magic in order to unravel the secrets it holds about magical beings. She is offered help by a mysterious geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont. Despite a long-held mistrust between witches and vampires, they form an alliance and set out to protect the book and solve the mysteries hidden within while dodging threats from the creature world.
Cast and characters
- Teresa Palmer as Diana Bishop, DPhil., a witch and tenured historian at Yale University, studying alchemy and science at the University of Oxford
- Matthew Goode as Matthew Clairmont, a vampire and Professor of Biochemistry
- Edward Bluemel as Marcus Whitmore, Matthew Clairmont's vampire son and lab colleague
- Louise Brealey as Gillian Chamberlain, a fellow witch and academic alongside Diana at Oxford
- Malin Buska as Satu Järvinen, a Finnish witch and a Congregation member
- Aiysha Hart as Miriam Shephard, vampire and Matthew's scientific colleague in Oxford
- Owen Teale as Peter Knox, a high-ranking witch and a member of the Congregation
- Alex Kingston as Sarah Bishop, Diana's aunt
- Valarie Pettiford as Emily Mather, Sarah's partner
- Trevor Eve as Gerbert d'Aurillac, an ancient vampire and a Congregation member
- Lindsay Duncan as Ysabeau de Clermont, mother of Matthew Clairmont and married to Philippe de Clermont
- James Purefoy as Philippe de Clermont (season 2), husband of Ysabeau, father of Baldwin and stepfather of Matthew
- Steven Cree as Gallowglass (season 2), nephew of Matthew
- Sheila Hancock as Goody Alsop (season 2), a witch
- Paul Rhys as Andrew Hubbard (season 2), a vampire
- Adelle Leonce as Phoebe Taylor (season 2), a human
Recurring and guest
- Tanya Moodie as Agatha Wilson, a daemon and congregation member
- Daniel Ezra as Nathaniel Wilson, a daemon, son of Agatha
- Greg McHugh as Hamish Osborne, a daemon and friend of Matthew
- Aisling Loftus as Sophie Norman, a daemon, married to Nathaniel, also Susanna Norman (season 2), a witch
- Elarica Johnson as Juliette Durand (season 1), a vampire, daughter of Gerbert
- Gregg Chillin as Domenico Michele, a vampire and congregation member
- Trystan Gravelle as Baldwin, a vampire, brother of Matthew and head of the congregation
- Adetomiwa Edun as Sean, an employee at the Bodleian Library
- Sophia Myles as Rebecca Bishop, Diana's mother
- David Newman as Stephen Proctor, Diana's father
- Sorcha Cusack as Marthe, a vampire, housekeeper to Ysabeau
- Chloe Dumas as Meridiana (season 1), a witch
- Jacob Ifan as Benjamin Fuchs (season 2), a vampire
- Elaine Cassidy as Louisa de Clermont (season 2), sister of Matthew
- Tom Hughes as Kit Marlowe (season 2), playwright and friend of Matthew
- Barbara Marten as Elizabeth I (season 2), Queen of England
- Michael Jibson as Rudolf II (season 2), Holy Roman Emperor
- Michael Lindall as Walter Raleigh (season 2)
- Adrian Rawlins as William Cecil (season 2)
- Adam Sklar as Henry Percy (season 2)
- Amanda Hale as Mary Sidney (season 2)
- Joshua Pickering as Jack Blackfriars (season 2)
- Lois Chimimba as Catherine Streeter (season 2), a witch
- Amy McAllister as Marjorie Cooper (season 2), a witch
- Victoria Yeates as Elizabeth Jackson (season 2), a witch
- Milo Twomey as Pierre (season 2), a vampire
- Holly Aird as Francoise (season 2), a vampire
- Anton Lesser as Judah Loew ben Bezalel (season 2)
- Mark Holden (actor) as Wilf (season 2)
|Series||Episodes||Originally aired||Ave. UK viewers|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||8||14 September 2018||2 November 2018||1.28|
|2[a]||10||8 January 2021||TBA|
Series 1 (2018)
|Episode||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||UK viewers|
|1||Episode 1||Juan Carlos Medina||Kate Brooke||14 September 2018||1.26|
|Diana Bishop is a witch who has rejected her magical heritage. She was raised by her aunts Sarah and Emily after her parents were killed by humans who feared their powers. An accomplished historian with a tenured position at Yale University, Diana is currently pursuing a research project at Oxford. While studying at the Bodleian Library, she catches the attention of witches, vampires, and daemons alike after summoning missing manuscript Ashmole 782, long thought to contain information on the origin of supernatural species. Biochemist Matthew Clairmont, a vampire, is drawn to Diana initially because of the book, but their repeated encounters spark something in both of them.|
|2||Episode 2||Juan Carlos Medina||Kate Brooke||21 September 2018||1.64|
|Matthew leaves Oxford to visit a daemon friend, Hamish, to hunt for a few days. Diana is approached by witch Peter Knox, who is also interested in Ashmole 782 and is even more persistent than Matthew. Diana soon finds herself stalked by Satu, a Finnish witch allied with Knox, and betrayed by her friend Gillian. With no one else to turn to, Diana seeks help from Matthew. He introduces her to fellow vampires Marcus and Miriam and reveals that they are studying the DNA of creatures to learn why all three supernatural species are in decline. Vampires are failing to sire, witches are much less powerful than their ancestors, and daemons are increasingly plagued by mental illness.|
|3||Episode 3||Alice Troughton||Kate Brooke||28 September 2018||1.42|
|As creatures continue to flock to the Bodleian Library in the hope that Ashmole 782 will come forth again, Matthew distracts Diana with a trip to his home. He tests her and confirms his suspicion that she uses magic instinctively, not consciously. A young daemon couple, Nathaniel and Sophie, are attempting to reach out to others of their kind online. Nathaniel's mother Agatha, a congregation member, cautions them about pushing for radical change. Diana invites Matthew over for dinner but unwittingly angers him. The next day she receives photos from the scene of her parents’ murder, a threat from Knox. She goes to confront him and his witch allies at the Bodleian, summoning witch wind, a powerful elemental force that she can’t control. Matthew comes to her aid and decides to take her away from Oxford to his family home in France.|
|4||Episode 4||Alice Troughton||Kate Brooke & Tom Farrelly||5 October 2018||1.15|
|Matthew and Diana arrive at Sept-Tours to a frosty welcome from Ysabeau, Matthew’s mother, who despises witches for their involvement in the death of her husband Philippe during World War II. The congregation adjoins for an emergency meeting where Knox accuses Matthew of kidnapping Diana. Baldwin, leader of the vampire sect and brother to Matthew, is caught unawares and calls Marcus, who is revealed to be Matthew’s son. Marcus tells Baldwin about Diana’s involvement in the summoning of Ashmole 782, also referred to as the Book of Life. Matthew, upon reviewing the photos sent to Diana, realizes that they were staged and that her parents were killed by fellow witches. Vampire Domenico arrives at Sept-Tours with an official warning from the congregation. He also sees that Matthew and Diana have grown close and accuses them of breaking the covenant, a rule which prohibits inter-species relationships. Diana tells Matthew she loves him, but he pushes her away and departs for Oxford after learning of a break-in at his lab. Diana's tears manifest with water, another powerful and rare ability.|
|5||Episode 5||Alice Troughton||Charlene James||12 October 2018||1.19|
|Matthew investigates the lab and recognizes the scent of the intruder. He confronts Gillian and drinks her blood, gaining access to her memories of the break-in. Back at Sept-Tours, Ysabeau takes Diana hunting to show her what vampires must do to survive, trying to discourage her from pursuing Matthew. She also reveals that as a human, Matthew had a wife and young son who died when a fever swept through the town. Matthew picks up his research and makes an important discovery when comparing Diana’s DNA to that of other modern witches. He rushes back to Sept-Tours and declares his love to Diana. He expects his mother’s rejection, but Ysabeau calls Diana her daughter and vows to take up their fight. Matthew shares the DNA results with Diana, revealing that she expresses every genetic marker they have discovered in witches. That night, they consummate their relationship. On an early morning run, Diana is suddenly grabbed from the air by an unseen person.|
|6||Episode 6||Sarah Walker||Charlene James||19 October 2018||1.06|
|Diana’s captor is revealed to be Satu. She has conspired with Gerbert, one of the vampires on the Congregation who wants access to Diana for his own purposes. Matthew discovers that Diana is missing at the same time Baldwin arrives at Sept-Tours, demanding Matthew turn the witch over to him. Satu tortures Diana but it unexpectedly backfires on her, causing her to lose her powers. She throws Diana down a well. Gerbert shows Satu the witch whose head he keeps in a box, threatening her with the same fate, then leaves when he hears a helicopter approaching. Satu flees with the box and later releases the captive witch, Meridiana. Matthew and Baldwin arrive at the abandoned castle. Diana has been vividly remembering a story her parents told her, which holds the key to her escape. Hearing Matthew’s voice, she summons her full powers and flies out of the well. As she recovers at Sept-Tours, Baldwin prepares to take her to the congregation, but Matthew invokes his deeper loyalty to the Knights of Lazarus. The way in which Diana’s powers were released convinces Matthew and Ysabeau that she had previously been spellbound.|
|7||Episode 7||Sarah Walker||Sarah Dollard||26 October 2018||1.29|
|Matthew and Diana depart Sept-Tours and travel to the home where Diana was raised in upstate New York. It reacts to their presence and Diana explains that it’s haunted. Baldwin stalls the congregation, implying Satu still has Diana and questioning Gerbert’s absence. Diana confronts Sarah about being spellbound. Sarah is shocked, but Emily confesses that she knew and kept it secret. It was Diana’s parents, Rebecca and Stephen, who hid her powers to protect her from the congregation. Sarah tries to teach Diana to control her magic. Emily reveals that Stephen was a timewalker, a talent which Diana soon begins to manifest as well. In London, Agatha Wilson tells Hamish about Nathaniel and Sophie and their possible connection to Diana. Marcus and Miriam show up at the Bishop house, prompting it to deliver an envelope from Stephen that contains one of the missing pages from Ashmole 782. Diana is testing her magical ability to sense Matthew when she is suddenly confronted by vampire Juliette, Gerbert’s daughter and Matthew's former lover.|
|8||Episode 8||Sarah Walker||Kate Brooke||2 November 2018||1.21|
|Juliette attacks Matthew and mortally wounds him; Diana kills her with a bolt of witch fire. As Matthew lies dying, Diana calls on the Goddess and makes a bargain to save him. She cuts open her wrist with a ritual knife and lets Matthew feed from her arm, then her neck. Marcus saves Diana’s life with a blood transfusion. Matthew suggests he and Diana timewalk, hiding from the congregation until Diana learns to master her powers. She needs three objects from the time and place they wish to go. Hamish retrieves some items from Sept-Tours and brings them to the Bishop house, along with Sophie and Nathaniel. Sophie gives Diana her family heirloom, a statue of the goddess Diana. It is actually a chess piece that once belonged to Matthew. The congregation meets to decide Satu’s fate. Gerbert has convinced Knox to turn against Baldwin. They force a vote that ultimately goes in Baldwin’s favor, but he can no longer protect his brother. Matthew transfers leadership of the Knights of Lazarus to Marcus and makes arrangements for Ysabeau to shelter the others. Diana and Matthew prepare to timewalk on All Hallows' Eve, just as their enemies close in on the Bishop house.|
Series 2 (2021)
|Episode||Directed by||Written by||Original air date [a] ||UK viewers|
|9||Episode 1||Farren Blackburn||Sarah Dollard||8 January 2021||TBD|
|Diana and Matthew arrive in London on All Hallows’ Eve, 1590, slightly off course from where they planned. They enter Matthew’s London home and are confronted by Kit Marlowe, who instantly distrusts Diana, recognizing that she is a witch. Diana realizes in turn that Kit is a daemon. Matthew introduces Diana as his wife. His identity in this time period is Matthew Roydon, a member of the School of Night, and Diana soon discovers that he is also a spy for the English crown, reporting to William Cecil. Diana encounters a witch who looks like Sophie Norman and realizes this must be her ancestor. However, the witch refuses to teach Diana, fearing both her unpredictable powers and Matthew’s reputation. When Jack, a street urchin, attempts to steal Diana’s purse, she brings him home and feeds him. Jack tells Diana that rumors are being spread about her, which Matthew traces to Kit. Diana and Matthew reveal their secret to Kit, but Matthew warns him against another betrayal.|
|10||Episode 2||Philippa Langdale||Susie Conklin||15 January 2021||TBD|
|Matthew’s loyalties are tested when he is ordered by Cecil to interrogate a witch, Thomas Caldwell. This puts Matthew in conflict with Andrew Hubbard, a vampire who rules over all of London’s creatures and has an uneasy truce with the de Clermonts. Matthew also attempts to mend his relationship with Kit, indulging in a belated celebration of All Souls’ Day. Diana finds the witch Susanna Norman again and convinces her to come to the house while Matthew is out. Susanna agrees to introduce her to England’s most powerful witch, Goody Alsop. Goody identifies Diana as a weaver, a very rare kind of witch, and determines that her father was one too. She also tells Diana that her arrival was prophesied. Goody seeks approval from the witches’ council to teach Diana. With witch trials underway in Scotland, the council is concerned about exposure, but Diana's honesty wins them over. After Matthew kills Caldwell to save him further torture, Hubbard sends a message to Philippe.|
|11||Episode 3||Philippa Langdale||Polly Buckle||22 January 2021||TBD|
|12||Episode 4||Farren Blackburn||Pete McTighe||29 January 2021||TBD|
|13||Episode 5||Philippa Langdale||Lisa Holdsworth||5 February 2021||TBD|
|14||Episode 6||Jonathan Teplitzky||Pete McTighe||12 February 2021||TBD|
|15||Episode 7||Farren Blackburn||Joseph Wilde||19 February 2021||TBD|
|16||Episode 8||Farren Blackburn||Pete McTighe||26 February 2021||TBD|
|17||Episode 9||Jonathan Teplitzky||Michelle Gayle||5 March 2021||TBD|
|18||Episode 10||Farren Blackburn||Susie Conklin & Pete McTighe||12 March 2021||TBD|
Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to A Discovery of Witches in 2011. The film was in the early stages of development, with few details released beyond the signing-on of playwright David Auburn to pen the screenplay and producers Denise Di Novi and Allison Greenspan.
British entertainment channel, Sky One, bought the rights for the books, to adapt them into a television programme. Teresa Palmer was cast as Diana Bishop and Matthew Goode was cast as Matthew Clairmont. After six months of filming, it was completed on 16 February 2018. Much of the work was filmed in Wales, on location and at Bad Wolf Studios in Cardiff.
On 2 November 2018, Sky One renewed A Discovery of Witches for a second and a third series before the first series finale was broadcast. A first look at Series 2 was released in September 2019. In December 2019, it was announced that the filming for the next series was completed in the UK, and the rest of the filming would take place in Italy. During the New York Comic Con's virtual event in October 2020, it was reported that Series 3 was filming at Wolf Studios in Cardiff.
The programme premiered in the UK on Sky One on 14 September 2018 with its first series of eight episodes. Streaming on NOW TV also started on that date after each episode was broadcast. The international distribution of the programme is handled by Sky Vision. From January 2019, the series became available on AMC's subscription services Sundance Now, Shudder, and AMC Premiere.
It was announced by AMC Networks at the TCA press tour that the show would be making its American television debut on 7 April 2019 on AMC and BBC America, being paired with Killing Eve's second season.
The programme received positive reviews from critics, who praised the adaptation, the production and the performances of the cast. On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 94% approval rating with an average rating of 7/10 based on 32 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "A Discovery of Witches smartly grounds its flights of fancy with a lived-in authenticity and harnesses the chemistry between its two star-crossed leads to make for a promising foray into the occult." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the series a score of 66 out of 100 based on 10 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
In October 2018, A Discovery of Witches was nominated in the longlist for Best New Drama in the National Television Awards. In January 2019, it was announced as a nominee for the shortlist of Best New Drama series nominees at the 24th National Television Awards.
- The second series was initially released in its entirety, and will air weekly on Sky One between 8 January and 12 March 2021.
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...as well as a Q&A with key cast Matthew Goode, Teresa Palmer, Ed Bluemel, Adelle Leonce and Steven Cree who will gather from the set of the infamous Congregation - in Wolf Studios Wales - where witches, daemons and vampires meet and where they are also filming Series 3.
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