"I'm not doing anything!" - Mina

Charles and Greg are attempting to get the nearby water mill working again. It is hard work
as many of the community members including Jenny and Arthur are away on a salt collecting

John and Lizzie watch Mina, an eccentric lady who lives in a hut at the edge of the
Whitecross settlement with her baby, make her way to the farmhouse to see Pet. Once there
she gives Pet the baking she's done.

On her way back home she is met by Hubert, who is clearly interested in her. She gives him
the brush off but he doesn't seem to get the message. Later he invites himself into her home
and is found there by Lizzie and John who are delivering flour. He tells them to keep away
from Mina as she cooks children in her oven. On her return Mina wonders why the children
are acting strangely with her.

Later she goes to the banks of the nearby stream to collect clay and is met by Jack and Peggy
(another member of the community). They also thinks she is strange and are wary of her.
Back home she makes some clay marbles and a small clay man which she calls Hubert as a
joke and puts them in the oven. That night, Hubert knocks on Mina's door. She is scared and
forces him to leave by throwing things at him. He falls and hurts his leg.

The next day during a visit from the children Mina shows them what she ahs baked. As she
lifts up the clay man, its  leg falls off, and the children flee from the hut in terror. They run into
Hubert who is now walking with a stick after the previous night's incident. Now even more
scared they run to tell Ruth, Pet and Peggy, believing Mina to be a witch.

Hubert tells them that Mina threatened him the night before and reminds them that the cows
have not been producing milk recently, that their potato crop had not sprouted and that Mina
had given Pet some strange herbs.

Pet becomes convinced that there is something seriously wrong with Mina. Pet is worried
about the safety of Mina's child, so she visits her, keeping her talking while Peggy steals away
her baby.  She is startled to find that Mina making a clay model head of Charles. Mina
promptly destroys the model which disturbs Pet further.

When Mina finds her baby missing she confronts Peggy and Pet. Peggy melodramatically
keeps Mina at bay by wielding a crucifix.

Charles arrives on the scene and admonishes Pet and Peggy for their hysteria. He ensures
Mina retrieves her child and she leaves.

Ruth and Charles visit Hubert and learn of the rumours he has been spreading. They also find
out that the cows have been dry because he had left them unattended with their calves.
Charles then visits Mina to apologise on behalf of the others. 

Mina wants to leave the settlement but he persuades her to stay. Greg threatens to expel
Hubert from the community if he does not make things right with Mina.

Hubert visits her and in his tactless way manages to scare Mina even more. When Pet and
Peggy go to apologise, they find her home empty. A party decides to search the woods for her.

Unfortunately with flame torches held aloft the search has the look of a witch hunt! It is Hubert
who finds her hiding in the old mill. She is scared and knocks him out with a piece of piping.
Greg finds her shortly afterwards and comforts her.

Mina returns home and Pet and Peggy make their peace with her. Hubert is sentenced to
hard labour for his part in events, grinding corn until the mill is operational again.

Episode Review

The Witch does not deserve its incredibly poor reputation. Some of the performances of the regulars are a little over the top as they feel their way into their roles in this first recorded episode of the second series, but there is still much to enjoy here.

Delia Paton plays Mina with conviction. Her scenes with Charles are especially worthy of note as their is an obvious chemistry between both the actors and their characters. John Abineri's trouble stirring Hubert has now been firmly established as the Tom Price replacement. However, given his treatment of Alistair in the previous episode and Mina here, its a wonder that Charles and Greg don't expel him from the community.

Although the plotting is fairly linear, this episode like
Face of the Tiger, serves to provide insight into Whitecross's community members and their increasingly organised existence.

Rating: 7/10

Episode 19: The Witch

writer: Jack Ronder
first broadcast: 5th May 1976

Regular Cast:

Charles Vaughan: Denis Lill
Hubert Goss:
John Abineri
Pet Simpson: Lorna Lewis
Greg Preston: Ian McCulloch
Ruth Anderson: Celia Gregory
Jack Wood: Gordon Salkilld
Lizzie Willoughby: Tanya Ronder
John Millon: Stephen Dudley

and introducing...

Mina: Delia Paton

Guest Cast:

Peggy: Catherine Finn

designer: Ian Watson
director: Terence Williams
producer: Terence Dudley
episode recorded: 3rd - 7th January 1976


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Page Last Updated: 22nd November 2002  All text Andy Priestner   Screen Captures BBC