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The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge 

In the 17th century, two witch-finders are summoned to the unassuming village of Little Happens to try an old woman.

Director:

Dan Zeff
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Cast

Episode cast overview:
Reece Shearsmith ... Mr. Warren
Steve Pemberton ... Mr. Clarke
David Warner ... Sir Andrew Pike
Sinead Matthews ... Sarah Nutter (as Sinéad Matthews)
Jim Howick ... Thomas Nutter
Trevor Cooper ... George Waterhouse
Paul Kaye ... Richard Two-Shoes
Ruth Sheen ... Elizabeth Gadge
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Storyline

In the mid seventeenth century professional witch-finders Warren and Clarke arrive at the village of Little Happens to preside over the trial of Elizabeth Gadge. She is accused of consorting with the devil by her daughter and son-in-law but claims that they want her cottage and has logical explanations for their accusations. Fanatical Warren wants a quick guilty verdict and the subsequent fee but the kindlier Clarke is beginning to doubt the integrity of their calling and may be able to save Elizabeth whom he see as the victim of covetous perjurers. Events will show which of them is right. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 April 2015 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

BBC Comedy See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of Thomas Nutter was named after Alice Nutter, one of the women convicted of witchcraft and executed during the infamous Pendle witch trials. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pemberton and Shearsmith offer up a welcome diversion from the norm
11 April 2015 | by The-Last-PrydonianSee all my reviews

The latest offering from Messrs Pemberton and Shearsmith, the first period piece they have produced and likely inspired by the classic Hammer Horror movies of yore. Entitled The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge It's safe to say that one of It's potential chief influences is The Witchfinder General (1968) The setting being 17th Century England, magistrate Sir Andrew Pike (David Warner) welcomes two witch- finders, the fanatical zealot Mr. Warren (Reece Shearsmith) and the more moderate, conscientious Mr. Clarke (Steve Pemberton) to the small village of Little Happens (A fitting ironic title given the nature of what occurs during the episode). They have been summoned to the small community as local widower Elizabeth Gadge stands accused of Witchcraft, her accusers being her own daughter Sarah (Sinead Matthews) and her son in law Thomas Nutter (Jim Howick).

As the trial goes under way it becomes lamentably apparent that the odds are unjustly stacked against her, with it descending in to a farcical circus as Mr. Warren co-presides over matters with chilling, single minded zeal! But startling revelations come to the attention of the court which may tip the odds in Mrs. Gadge's favour.

A welcome entry in the anthology series, The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge is to some extent a sublime indictment of the unethical, ideological evils that existed in the 17th Century due to religious fervour. This is wonderfully mirrored in the contrasting nature of the stories two principle characters, with Pemberton's Mr. Clarke embodying a 21st Century perspective as to how we as viewers would perceive the more skewered morals of the age. Shearsmith is appropriately chilling in the role of Mr. Warren effecting a sinister monotone delivery of his lines. A stark contrast to Mr. Clarkes more temperate nobility and conviction invoked in Pemberton's performance.

The absurdity of the events is deftly handled during the trial scene which is underpinned by the sparse moments of black humour as it descends in to farce. The local villagers seemingly being primitive yokels whose sole purpose at the hearing is to gawk, boo and hiss during proceedings as if they were on a post revolutionary version of The Jeremy Kyle Show. A wonderful cast of supporting actors offer able support with old pro David Warner as the congenial and eccentric Sir Andrew Pike, a man who may very well have an amusing inclination of a sexual nature that is questionable to say the least. Also cult comedian/actor Paul Kaye is on hand whose own past history in black comedy is perfectly suited as an addition to the cast.

Ultimately though this is one of Pemberton and Shearsmiths finest half hours in terms of their performances as they effortlessly compliment one another. It's only in the stories denouement that the supposed surprise twist (although I didn't see it coming) falls short of being genuinely shocking or revelatory! It feels somewhat tacked on as an afterthought as both writers were left hard-pressed to wrap up things sufficiently. Never the less The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge makes for a refreshing adage to the series. It's by no means Pemberton and Shearsmith at the height of their innovative powers. But as solid way to spend half an hour of your time it is a mainly rewarding experience only marred by it's somewhat anti-climatic denouement.


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