Witchcraft – photos by Willoughby Gullachsen





































Photos by Willoughby Gullachsen, no reproduction without permission.

‘Witchcraft’ was a drama serial transmitted in 1992.  It was produced at Pebble Mill in 1991 by Carol Parks, with Barry Hanson as exec producer.  the script was written by Nigel Williams, and directed by Peter Sasdy.  John Greening was the 1st AD, with Will Trotter as Location Manager.  Jane Barton was the PA.  Nigel Jones was the designer, with John Plush his assistant.  John Kenway was the lighting cameraman, Herbie Donnelly the lighting gaffer and Tim Everett the sound recordist.  John Rosser was the film editor.

The storyline features a  film school teacher, Jamie, who chooses 17th-century witchcraft and adultery as the theme of his latest script. As shooting of the film begins, real-life events take on a menacing quality and events from the past seem to be being re-enacted in the present.  Fact and fiction blur, and Jamie suffers a breakdown and becomes possessed by the Witchfinder.

The series starred Peter McEnery as Jamie Matheson, Alan Howard as Alan Oakfield, Lisa Harrow as Meg, Georgia Slowe as Judy, Judy Campbell as Juliet, Clive Wood as Rick, Dorian Healy as Derwent, Rosemary McHale as Ruth, Suzannah Lipscomb as Emma, and Kit Owen as Thomasina.



5 comments on “Witchcraft – photos by Willoughby Gullachsen
  1. This show was a nightmare. As 1st AD I ended up being the go-between between a ‘difficult’ director and the crew – many of whom used to be in tears because of something the aforesaid director had said/implied. I went prematurely grey and Nigel Jones (designer)left show-business as a result!I hope my own directing career hasn’t scarred any of my crews to such an extent.

  2. Have to agree wholeheartedly with John! One of the biggest drama budgets ever for Pebble Mill, completely wasted on a very ‘hammy’ production. I was one of the electricians and crossed swords with the very difficult director on a number of occasions. John Greening did literally go grey over the three months of the production.

    I remember the production team’s favourite story at the time. While in pre-production, Peter Sasdy (Director), gave a thorough description of a particular scene with windows slamming and curtains fluttering in the wind, a grandfather clock striking midnight and flames rising from the bottom of the picture. Someone from production said “That’s all a bit Hammer – House of Horror, Isn;t it?” and the first of many eruptions from the Director began. The production member was unaware of Peter’s pedigree, as a director of some of the Hammer films.

    My other favourite incident was during a stunt, years before The Fast Show did their deaf stunt man. We were filming at night, a man running out of a shed on fire. The stunt man’s name was Frank and John Kenway was setting up the shot. He muttered “To the right Frank” and the stunt co-ordinator shouted “Light Frank? Ok”! Quick thinking by Rob Southam the Focus Puller to turn over meant that we got the shot.

  3. I was assistant editor, working with John Rosser. A bonkers production. Sasdy was hideously good at divide and rule, the best advice we were given right at the start was to take notes of what he said so that when someone else said, ‘Oh no, he said that’ we could point to our notes and say ‘Oh no he didn’t’ and thus maintain unity. I seem to remember Alan Howard putting in a particularly hysterical performance and having the best line in the show: ‘It’s in the script so it must be true.’ I still use that line….

    We had a cutting room bottle of brandy, which I’d hide so that John couldn’t drink it all at once. Great to have after some crazy viewing or other. It lasted right through to final cut, I can remember the final toast.

  4. Oh goodness Witchcraft ! I’ve got a feeling Jeremy? and Sally Pearson were Costume designers? I remember driving back and forward in the ‘wardrobe’ navy escort estate car that was painfully slow when there were urgent costume requirements.I remember that hillside in Middleton near Broadway with the fantastic Civil war village set. There seemed to be numerous urgent costume needs including whizzing a real gold ring into the jewelery quarter to be re-sized. When i arrived on set to our horror the Jeweler had polished the ring when it had been purposely dulled. Boy did i get in trouble, next step….find sandpaper and scuff away. They also had the best location food i ever had, we timed arrivals to be at lunch.

  5. Further to Marks comments re the deaf stuntman this is indeed the origin of the Fast Show sketch. Confirmed by Fast Show regular Mark Williams when I worked with him much later in my career. He’d picked up the story as myself and the majority of the crew went on to work on series 1 of “Kinsey” in which he appeared – with the nightmare of “Witchcraft” still fresh in our minds…

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