A Century of Murder

 (Channel 5, 2015)

Suzannah wrote and presented this two-part series for Channel 5, examining the terrible fate of the people accused of witchcraft in the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Episode 1 starts by examining the trials of the North Berwick witches in the 1590s. King James VI of Scotland himself directly interrogated accused witch, Agnes Sampson, at Holyrood House. In Scotland, torture was used to extract confessions. Of 200 people accused, around 70 were found guilty of witchcraft and sentenced to death.

James VI went on to write a treatise on witchcraft, his Daemonologie, and it was after he became James I of England that we see another major witch trial in Lancashire. The episode also considers this witch-hunt, known to history as the Pendle Witch Trials, in which a nine-year-old child accused her mother of witchcraft.

Episode 2 tells the story of the most vicious witch-hunter in English history: Matthew Hopkins, self-appointed Witchfinder General. In the 1640s, he presided over the ruthless pursuit of witches in Essex and East Anglia. It all began with an unpopular, disabled old woman called Elizabeth Clarke, who was sleep deprived into a confession that she had taken the devil as a lover.


Cinematographer: Brendan McGinty

Director: Chris Holt

Executive Producer: Dan Gold

Made by Channel 5 Studios for Channel 5

Other television shows with Suzannah Lipscomb