However much you enjoyed ‘The Witchfinders’ I can guarantee you there is one person in the world who enjoyed it more, and his name is Alan Cumming.
From the moment he arrived on screen as ‘King James’ Alan Cumming had a glint in his eye. He hammed the role up to perfection; always teetering on the edge, but never crossing over into panto. There’s an old film reviewers rule that a comedy film should make you laugh at least seven times, the amount of times Alan made me laugh during fifty minute duration of this episode headed into double figures. Every camp expression and parsing was wonderfully timed. I really enjoyed his back and forth with companion ‘Ryan’.
Previously in this season the simplistic stories have been a problem. Not here, as the ‘The Witchfinders’ twisted and turned to a more than satisfactory conclusion. There was wonderful dialogue as well; writer Joy Wilkinson should feel more then proud of this episode. The ‘Doctors’ ‘I wouldn’t have this problem if I was still a man’ moment was wonderfully delivered, didn’t feel forced and really made a true point; I can almost see the readers of the ‘Daily Mail’ spitting their bile at the screen as it as it was delivered.
I would have liked to have learned about the new alien race the ’Morax’. I hope we see a return in the future. In their animated corpse guise reminded me of the ‘Haemovores’ when the steal human forms in the McCoy era story ‘The Curse of Fenric’ (go and watch it if you never seen it. It’s a great story).
A couple of minor continuity points niggled, such as the ‘Doctor’ saying she didn’t believe the Devil when she met the being it’s based on in Tennant era ‘The Satan Pit’; I do understand she meant their concept of the Devil, but still I thought it could have been referenced.
Overall it was a really enjoyable, camp ride through quite a dark subject matter. As a final note I’d just like to ask show runner Chris Chibnall, please bring back Alan Cumming as ‘King James’ in a future episode, if only so he can flirt with ‘Ryan’ again.
Rating out of 10: 9