The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge is the third episode of series 2 of Inside No.9, and showed us a peek into the (made-up) world of Witchfinder Generals, those two holding court being Mr Warren (Reece Shearsmith) and Mr Clarke (Steve Pemberton), which gave me a giggle as their names are clearly a nod to the late, great actor.
So, what is the crime of devilry which has taken place? Elizabeth Gadge is said to have conversed with an imp… but as it transpired, the imp might actually be a mouse. Which was named Snowflake. But since specious reasoning dictates that the word ‘named’ backwards is ‘deman’, which is close to ‘demon’, everyone overreacts. God, they are stupid!
The wonderful David Warner – the best Doctor Who lead we’ve never had – took the front role as Justice Pike, who observed that prior to Miss Gadge’s antics, “Not since the escaped cow has there been such excitment!”
The trial takes place in the village of Little Happens, a great place to live, apparently, compared to Much Happens, which Pike classes as “an exceedlingly dull place”.
Elsewhere there were amusing little moments with the kind of parlance you’d hear today, such as the offer of tickets being sold, at the local pub, to a viewing of the alleged with being burned to death; some naughty dealings between cobbler Richard Two-Shoes and his wife… ahem, Goody Two-Shoes (Paul Kaye); and then there was Pike trying to sneak a torture implement – which he earlier described as “ecstacy” while others claimed it to be “agony” – back to his quarters, so he could shove it where the sun didn’t shine…
Towards the end, Clarke was so disgusted at Warren’s determination that she was fussing over a mouse, that he managed to switch Miss Gadge over for Warren. Unfortunately, for him, he was repaid by being bumped off at the last minute with a swift neck break, and then she flew off because… WITCH! SHE’S A WITCH!!
If only she could’ve done the same to the babbling continuity announcer from Red Bee Media who killed the atmosphere just as quickly by yak-yakking over the end credits.
Overall, it wasn’t as good as The 12 Days of Christine, but like with the first series of Inside No.9, they shot their bolt early then, too, with A Quiet Night In, the dialogue-free episode with Denis Lawson and Oona Chaplin.
The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge is available on the BBC iPlayer until May 9th.
Inside No.9 continues next Thursday at 10pm on BBC2 with Cold Comfort, starring Jane Horrocks.
Overall Score: 7/10
Director: Dan Zeff
Producer: Adam Tandy
Writers: Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton
Sound: Matthew Brace
Sir Andrew Pike: David Warner
Elizabeth Gadge: Ruth Sheen
Mr Warren: Reece Shearsmith
Mr Clarke: Steve Pemberton
Sarah Nutter: Sinead Matthews
Thomas Nutter: Jim Howick
George Waterhouse: Trevor Cooper
Richard Two-Shoes: Paul Kaye
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.