|A Discovery of Witches|
|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 aired 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.
|Series||Episodes||Originally aired||Avg UK viewers|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||8||14 September 2018||2 November 2018||1.28|
|2||10||8 January 2021||0.344|
|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. She is also an accomplished historian with tenure at Yale University, currently conducting research at Oxford. While studying in the Bodleian Library, she summons the long-missing manuscript Ashmole 782, thought to contain information on the origin of supernatural species, thus catching the attention of witches, vampires and daemons alike. Biochemist Matthew Clairmont, a vampire, is drawn to her 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 for a few days hunting with a daemon friend, Hamish. Diana is approached by Peter Knox, a witch and Congregation member, who is also interested in Ashmole 782 and is even more persistent than Matthew. Satu, a Finnish witch allied with Knox, stalks Diana and threatens her. Betrayed by her friend Gillian, and with no one else to turn to, she seeks help from Matthew. He introduces her to his vampire friends Marcus and Miriam and reveals their DNA research into why the three supernatural species are in decline: vampires are failing to sire, witches are much less powerful than their ancestors and daemons are increasingly prone to 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 reveal itself again, Matthew distracts Diana with a trip to his home. He confirms his theory 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 against pushing for radical change. Diana invites Matthew to dinner but unwittingly drives him away. 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 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. Matthew’s mother, Ysabeau, despises witches for their involvement in her husband's death during World War II. The Congregation holds an emergency meeting where Knox accuses Matthew of kidnapping Diana. Baldwin, vampire leader and Matthew's brother, is caught by surprise and calls Marcus, now revealed to be Matthew’s son. Marcus tells him about Diana’s summoning of Ashmole 782, which he calls the Book of Life. Matthew reviews the photos and realizes they were staged and that her parents were killed by witches. Vampire Domenico arrives at Sept-Tours with an official warning from the Congregation. Seeing Matthew and Diana together, he accuses them of breaking the Covenant, which prohibits inter-species relationships. Diana tells Matthew she loves him, but he pushes her away. He departs for Oxford after learning of a break-in at his lab. Diana's tears bring forth witch water, another powerful and rare ability.|
|5||Episode 5||Alice Troughton||Charlene James||12 October 2018||1.19|
|Matthew investigates the lab break-in and recognizes the intruder's scent. He confronts Gillian and drinks her blood, gaining access to her memories. Ysabeau takes Diana hunting to show her what vampires must do to survive, hoping to discourage her from pursuing Matthew. She reveals that as a human, Matthew had a wife and young son, who died from disease. Matthew picks up his research and compares 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 shows Diana the DNA results: she expresses every genetic marker they have discovered in witches. That night, they share a bed for the first time. Diana wakes up early and goes running, only to be grabbed from the air by an unseen person.|
|6||Episode 6||Sarah Walker||Charlene James||19 October 2018||1.06|
|Diana’s captor is Satu. She is working with Gerbert, a vampire and Congregation member who wants access to Diana for his own purposes. Matthew discovers Diana is missing just as Baldwin arrives, demanding Matthew turn her over. Satu's torturing of Diana unexpectedly backfires and she loses her powers. She drops Diana into a pit. Gerbert shows Satu the witch whose head he keeps in a box, threatening her with the same fate if she crosses him, then leaves hastily as a helicopter approaches. Satu borrows power from the witch, Meridiana, and releases her. Matthew and Baldwin arrive and find the pit. Diana has been vividly remembering a story her mother told her, which tells her how to escape. Hearing Matthew’s voice, she summons her powers to raise herself 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 Diana’s powers are being released convinces Matthew and Ysabeau that she had been spellbound.|
|7||Episode 7||Sarah Walker||Sarah Dollard||26 October 2018||1.29|
|Matthew and Diana travel to Diana's childhood home 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 her aunts about being spellbound. Sarah is shocked, but Emily admits 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 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 the vampire Juliette, 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 her life with a blood transfusion. Matthew suggests he and Diana timewalk, to hide from the Congregation until Diana can master her powers. She needs three objects from the time and place they wish to go. Hamish fetches 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, which 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; Baldwin wins it, but can no longer protect his brother. Matthew transfers leadership of the Knights of Lazarus to Marcus and arranges for Ysabeau to shelter the others. Diana and Matthew prepare to timewalk, just as their enemies close in.|
|Episode||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||UK viewers|
|9||Episode 1||Farren Blackburn||Sarah Dollard||8 January 2021||0.951|
|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. 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 stops Matthew from scaring him off and brings the boy home instead. She questions Jack about rumors he might have heard, and he tells her they originated from a local tavern frequented by 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||0.502|
|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||0.495|
|Matthew seeks forgiveness from Hubbard, who seems placated for now. Cecil, however, is losing trust in him. Diana trains in weaver magic with Goody Alsop and performs alchemical experiments with her new friend Mary Sidney. Knowing that Diana seeks a rare alchemical text, Mary recommends she visit John Dee, a scholar who possesses the largest library in England. Diana discovers that the Book of Life may have been in Dee’s hands recently, but it was stolen by his former scribe, Edward Kelley. Cecil finds out about Diana and orders Matthew to bring her before Queen Elizabeth. Matthew blames Kit for this, despite his protestations, and orders him to stay away. The Queen believes Kelley, now in the hands of King Rudolf of Bohemia, knows the secret of immortality, and she tasks Matthew with bringing him back to England. However, Matthew’s nephew Gallowglass soon arrives with a summons from Philippe. Not only must they interrupt Diana’s training and their search for the Book of Life, they must leave behind Jack, who has become very dear to them.|
|12||Episode 4||Farren Blackburn||Pete McTighe||29 January 2021||0.249|
|Domenico has been monitoring vampire killings in Oxford through a contact in the police force. These are uncontrolled feedings that leave behind mutilated victims. Domenico and Gerbert believe this is a sign of blood rage, a disorder linked to the de Clermont family. Marcus seeks out an auction that includes portraits of Matthew and Diana from Elizabethan times, meeting Phoebe Taylor in the process. The portraits are stolen during a break-in by the vampire Domenico has been hunting. Marcus and Phoebe go on a date and spend the night together, but she becomes frustrated by his secrecy and refuses to believe him when he tells her the truth. At Sept-Tours, Sarah and Emily feel stifled by Ysabeau’s over-protectiveness. Emily secretly uses higher magic in an attempt to contact Rebecca Bishop. After Gerbert makes veiled threats toward her family, Ysabeau summons Marcus and confesses that Matthew kept a secret from him: the blood rage originated in her line. She and Marcus are asymptomatic carriers, but Matthew is fully afflicted.|
|13||Episode 5||Philippa Langdale||Lisa Holdsworth||5 February 2021||0.301|
|Louisa de Clermont visits London looking for her brother, but instead she finds Kit and joins him in drunken debauchery. Diana and Matthew arrive in France by boat and begin the long journey on horseback to Sept-Tours, while Gallowglass goes on ahead to Bohemia. Diana is physically exhausted by the trip and finds Matthew growing more distant the closer they get to his father. When they finally arrive, Philippe quickly deduces that Diana is a timewalker and that this version of his son is also from the future. Furthermore, he can tell that the couple have not yet had sex, and thus despite what Matthew has told Diana, they are not truly mated. Hurt and angry, Diana pushes Matthew away before he can begin to explain. Philippe urges his son to go hunting first thing in the morning. Andre Champier, a witch, arrives at Sept-Tours, claiming that Diana summoned him. Philippe appears to believe this and allows them to meet, but Champier calls Diana a traitor and attempts to steal her memories. When Matthew rushes to her aid, Diana summons the sword from his belt and kills her tormentor.|
|14||Episode 6||Jonathan Teplitzky||Pete McTighe||12 February 2021||0.257|
|Seeing his wife’s ring on Diana’s finger, Philippe realizes that Ysabeau would not have given it to another while he lived. He challenges his son to a swordfight, goading him into revealing how he will die, but Matthew will not relent, even when his blood rage is revealed to Diana. Matthew explains to Diana that this is why he held back from mating. He also confesses that he killed Philippe to end his suffering after he endured months of torture. Diana’s strength and power finally become clear to Philippe. He blesses her, making her his blood-sworn daughter, and takes the couple to the goddess Diana’s temple to ask for her protection. Finally, he arranges for Matthew and Diana to be married. In the present, Emily and Sarah detect magical vibrations in the library at Sept-Tours, where Philippe used to leave hidden messages for Ysabeau. After searching all night, she discovers his final letter, revealing that Matthew and Diana are mated, Matthew is finally happy, and Philippe has accepted his fate.|
|15||Episode 7||Farren Blackburn||Joseph Wilde||19 February 2021||0.153|
|Arriving in Bohemia at Emperor Rudolf’s hunting lodge, Matthew and Diana are reunited with Gallowglass and, unexpectedly, Jack. Rudolf knows Matthew's true identity and rejects his request to see Edward Kelley, claiming he is in Prague. However, he becomes fascinated with Diana. While Matthew searches for evidence of Kelley’s presence, Diana meets a vampire named Benjamin Fuchs and the learned Rabbi Loew, who also knows about the Book of Life. Matthew’s jealousy almost derails their quest entirely, but Diana is instinctively able to calm his blood rage. Diana ultimately reveals her magical abilities to Rudolf in order to gain access to Kelley and the Book. Her power brings the images on the missing pages to life. Rudolf attempts to detain her, and in the resulting chaos Kelley is able to rip out those pages. Aided by Gallowglass, Matthew and Diana escape with the damaged Book. Matthew realizes as he holds it that the pages, the binding, and the inks themselves are made from the skin, hair, and blood of creatures. Kelley is left alone in his cell until he is visited by Benjamin, who kills the guard in what appears to be a blood rage.|
|16||Episode 8||Farren Blackburn||Pete McTighe||26 February 2021||0.181|
|Marcus approaches Phoebe with the emblem of the Knights of Lazarus and invites her to research the organization. Once Phoebe accepts the reality of vampires, she and Marcus resume their relationship. Knox has discovered Edward Kelley’s connection to the Book of Life. He informs Gerbert that one missing page was entrusted to each of the three supernatural species. Sophie gives birth to a girl, Margaret, who is determined to be a witch. Marcus visits the site of the Congregation and stands up to Baldwin, but he unwisely tells him about the witch born of daemons. Baldwin shares this information with Gerbert, who in turn tells Knox. Sarah finds out that Emily continues to practice higher magic and is furious, but she ultimately asks to join in the next attempt to contact Rebecca. Agatha Wilson finds Knox in her granddaughter's hospital room, having put Nathaniel and Sophie to sleep. Knox warns her the time will come when the witches will take Margaret away to raise among her own kind.|
|17||Episode 9||Jonathan Teplitzky||Michelle Gayle||5 March 2021||N/A (<0.152)|
|Queen Elizabeth demands Matthew answer for his failure to retrieve Kelley. Before facing her, Matthew escorts Diana to Goody Alsop, who detects a positive change in Matthew and also in Diana: she is pregnant. Diana successfully completes the seventh knot and summons her familiar, a firedrake named Corra. The Queen detains Matthew while Cecil searches his house for the Book of Life. He is on the verge of leaving with it when Gallowglass obstructs him, allowing Jack to steal it back. Matthew earns the Queen’s forgiveness by revealing the future to her. However, Kit lies to Diana that the Queen has imprisoned Matthew and leads her to where Louisa is waiting to kill her. Diana defends herself by unleashing Corra. Matthew takes Kit and Louisa to the psychiatric hospital known as Bedlam, where his blood rage almost leads him to kill his sister. Diana once again calms him down and they find a new way to connect to each other.|
|18||Episode 10||Farren Blackburn||Susie Conklin & Pete McTighe||12 March 2021||0.197|
|Diana’s father Stephen arrives in 1591 in search of the Book of Life, having received the missing page in his own time. He and Diana exchange valuable information and get a chance to say goodbye. Miriam and the Wilsons arrive at Sept-Tours, followed by Marcus and Phoebe. Matthew has found a place for Jack with his friend Henry Percy, but Diana secretly arranges for Andrew Hubbard to watch over the boy as well. Hubbard is later confronted by Benjamin, the vampire from Bohemia, who is revealed to be his sire. Diana completes her magical training and bids farewell to Goody and Susanna. Domenico tracks the killer to Matthew’s home but is attacked before he can learn his identity. Later, Benjamin is seen watching Domenico. Gerbert convinces Knox to infiltrate Sept-Tours. Knox finds the temple where Emily last performed her ritual and uses magic to lure her there. When she refuses to give him the page from the Book of Life, he kills her. Diana and Matthew prepare to return to the present, and Ysabeau prepares for the battles to come.|
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 second series was initially released in its entirety on 8 January 2021, consisting of ten episodes, and continued to air weekly on Sky One.
The programme received positive reviews from critics, who praised the adaptation, the production and the performances of the cast. On Rotten Tomatoes, 94% of 32 critics have given the first series a positive review, with an average rating of 6.99/10. 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 assigned the series an average score of 67 out of 100 based on 13 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.
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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.