Tim Key’s a very odd man... but he’s very funny | Daisy May Cooper on her new comedy, The Witchfinder – and her co-stars © BBC

Tim Key’s a very odd man... but he’s very funny

Daisy May Cooper on her new comedy, The Witchfinder – and her co-stars

In the BBC’s new comedy The Witchfinder, Daisy May Cooper plays Thomasine Gooch, a suspected witch being transported across the country by Gideon Bannister – a witchfinder in 1645, played by Tim Key. Here she tells us about the show – and reveals who’s the ‘biggest arsehole’ in the cast.


Tell us about your character…

Well Thomasine is sort of street smart but a bit thick and because she’s so different because she likes to drink, she likes to arm wrestle and stuff in the tavern and do all the stuff that I kind of do myself. People think that she might be a witch cause she’s not behaving how I suppose women should be behaving. So she gets taken by the witchfinder to court in Chelmsford. And it’s a bit like Trains, Planes and Automobiles but with a witch and a witchfinder.

What attracted you to the show?

Bar the cash, it  was probably working with the Gibbons [brothers Neil and Rob, who wrote the show ] because they’re brilliant, they do all the Partridge stuff, and working with Tim Key. He’s a very odd man but he’s very funny. He’s going to kill me for this.

What about the other cast members? You’ve got some great cameos.

Oh we’ve got amazing cameos. We’ve got Jessica Hynes, who has got these dodgy teeth made and she looks completely mental. She’s just one of the funniest people, and makes this character of Myers, just… mad, and it’s brilliant.

You’ve got Daniel Rigby playing Hebble and he’s just such a brilliant actor, really funny, and I quite fancy him a bit. Do you know what it’s really funny, all of the crew really fancy him. Because of his hair, it’s the long wig that he wears. For some reason it’s the wig and the cloak, there’s something very appealing about it.

Reece Shearsmith is just amazing, he can steal an entire scene just by saying one word. I’ve always been such a massive fan of his work but my god, some of his stuff just steals the entire show, he’s amazing.

Ricky Tomlinson’s in it! I mean acting alongside him who has been in massive things like the Royle family, and he’s just Jim Royle, it’s like having Jim Royle on set because he’s so warm and so funny. Oh it’s been amazing.

There’s also a horse called Bram and he is a little, well I’m swearing, he’s a little bastard. Basically he’s so intelligent this horse that I have to ride. Between takes he goes to eat the grass and the trainers will say ‘no Bram just wait until we’ve finished the scene then you can eat the grass’ and this horse, pretends to itch his leg and then last minute will just like go and grab a bit of grass. That blows my mind. And he knows that I’m an amateur rider because I had never ridden horses until this show and he knows it, so he’ll start playing up and start being a bit of a bugger, cause they’re just so bloody intelligent. The biggest arsehole in this cast is a horse.

Working on The Witchfinder, is  there anything that has surprised you about 1640s East Anglia?

Men are bastards, that’s it, that’s it really. They’ve always been bastards. There are some alright ones.

Why should we watch The Witchfinder?

Because not only is there a superb cast, it’s so brilliantly written and I think it’s really different and it’s the debut of the Gibbons brothers… it’s their time to do their own thing. I think this project’s been going on for like seven years but my god you can see all those seven years of work into this.

Finally, three words that spring to mind when you think of The Witchfinder?

Probably: sodding, bloody, horse. Bram. You bastard.

• The Witchfinder launches at 10pm next Tuesday, March 8, on BBC Two and will be available as a box set on BBC iPlayer. Read an interview with Tim Key here.

Published: 1 Mar 2022

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