Joy Wilkinson’s Doctor Who episode titled ‘The Witchfinders’

In an interview on Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4, screenwriter and playwright Joy Wilkinson revealed the name of the episode of Doctor Who Series 11 she penned as The Witchfinders.

The Lancashire Telegraph, which also interviewed Wilkinson, also identified the title as The Witchfinders.

Appropriately for someone brought up in the shadow of Pendle Hill and the tales of its alleged sorceresses hanged in 1612, the episode she penned is called ‘The Witchfinders’ although no details of its setting and content have been released.

In the interview, Wilkinson stated:

“I’m really excited about my play and the new series of Doctor Who this autumn. It’s taken a while to get to this point, but I’ve learned a lot along the way and am grateful for the brilliant start I got a Burnley Youth Theatre.”

In the Womans Hour interview, Wilkinson referred to Jodie Whittaker’s performance as “absolutely luminous.”

An episode known to feature witches was filmed during the third filming block of Doctor Who directed by Sallie Aprahamian, who directed episodes 4 and 8. Some of the third block filming occurred on location at Little Woodham, a 17th century living museum in Gosport.


Alan Cumming revealed that he will play King James 1 in an episode of Doctor Who. King James personally supervised the torture of accused witches and wrote Daemonologie, a dissertation on black magic.

Wilkinson previously described the episode she wrote to Doctor Who Magazine as “dark, funny, squelchy”.

Why squelchy? Well, for one thing there was some very muddy location filming, according to director Sallie Aprahamian in Doctor Who Magazine:

“The weather was not kind to us on one of the episodes – howling rain storms, snow, lots of mud and bright sunshine, sometimes within minutes of each other. The cast and crew were amazing, working on through with good humour and craft. That’s how Doctor Whomagic sometimes has to happen.”

And there is a character called a Mud Witch in Aprahamian’s filming block.

Written by Joy Wilkinson and directed by Sallie Aprahamian, The Witchfinders is only the third Doctor Who story written and directed by women since Enlightenment in 1983 and The Mark of the Rani in 1985.

The Witchfinders will air on Sunday, November 25, 6:30 p.m. on BBC One and 8:00 p.m. on BBC America