A Discovery of Witches: What we know about season 2

Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer will be joined by Victoria’s Tom Hughes for the second season of NOW TV's supernatural drama based on the bestselling books by Deborah Harkness.

By Pippa Shawley Published: 26 February 2020 - 5.29pm
Sky UK

Watch A Discovery of Witches on NOW TV

Set in a world where witches, vampires and daemons live secretly among humans, A Discovery of Witches is a modern-day love story based on Deborah Harkness’ bestselling All Souls trilogy.

What is it about?

Dr Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer) is a brilliant historian and lecturer at Oxford University. She’s also a witch, though she denies her magical heritage.

Also based at Oxford is enigmatic geneticist Matthew Clairmont (Matthew Goode), a vampire hiding a dark family secret. 

The pair meet when Diana discovers an ancient manuscript, Ashmole 782, in Oxford’s Bodleian Library and embark on a journey to understand its secrets, falling in love in the process. 

A mysterious institution known as the Congregation, made up of a small group of powerful witches, vampires and daemons, oversees the fragile peace between humans and their magical cousins.

When other witches, vampires and daemons learn of the discovery of Ashmole 782, they embark on an intense hunt for the witch who summoned it.

Who stars in a Discovery of Witches?

There are lots of familiar faces in the cast.

Teresa Palmer (Hacksaw Ridge) plays Diana Bishop, a brilliant young historian and a descendent of the renowned Bishop witches. She renounced the world of magic after the brutal murder of her parents when she was a child, and is determined to focus instead on academia.

An expert in the history of alchemy and science, Diana’s life takes a dramatic turn when she meets Matthew. This sees her embark on an epic journey of discovery, as her family’s hidden past is revealed, and her heart, and powers, are awakened.

Matthew Goode (Downton Abbey, The Crown) stars as Matthew Clairmont, a geneticist based at Oxford University, and a vampire from an important dynasty. Over the centuries he has loved many women, but when he meets Diana, it feels different.

Alex Kingston (The Widow) plays Diana’s aunt Sarah, a witch proud to bear the Bishop name, and guardian of the family’s ancient spellbook. She’s supported by her partner Emily (Valor’s Valarie Pettiford).

Trevor Eve (Strike Back) plays Gerbert d’Aurillac, a brilliant schemer and the most-esteemed, and feared, of vampires. He has loathed the de Clermont family for centuries as they, along with the witches, stand in the way of his dream of vampires becoming the ruling culture.

Juliette Durand (Elarica Johnson) was trained by d’Aurillac to infiltrate his enemies the de Clermonts, after he rescued her from the brothels of Cairo in the 17th century. 

Lindsay Duncan as Ysabeau De Clermont Sky UK

Lindsay Duncan, pictured above, plays Matthew’s mother, Ysabeau de Clermont. After her partner Philippe was experimented on by Nazis and witches during World War II, she became a formidable witch hunter, threatening to kill every witch she could lay her hands on. She is, therefore, conflicted when her precious son asks for help in protecting Diana.

Baldwin Montclair (Trystan Gravelle) is head of the de Clermont family and has been a vampire since Roman times. Despite his formidable standing, he is jealous of his step-brother Matthew’s status as Grand Master of the order of the Knights of Lazarus, something he believes their father Philippe should have bestowed upon him.

Matthew’s best friend is Hamish Osborne (Greg McHugh, Fresh Meat). Born to working-class parents, his dazzling intellect and strong work ethic helped him reach Oxford University. Most people don’t know that he’s also a daemon.

Louise Brealey as Gillian Chamberlain Sky UK

Sherlock’s Louise Brealey (above) plays Gillian Chamberlain. Like Diana, she’s also a witch and academic, specialising in Greek history. Unlike Diana, she is keen to rise through the ranks of the Oxford coven, and sees vampires as no better than animals.

Peter Knox (Owen Teale, Deep State) shares her hatred of vampires. A highly respected witch, he represents his fellow witches on the Congregation. 

Agatha Wilson (Motherland’s Tanya Moodie) is a daemon and also a member of the Congregation. She lives life on her own terms, and refuses to accept the superiority of vampires and witches in modern times.

Agatha’s only son Nathaniel (Daniel Ezra, Prime Suspect 1973) is outspoken, driven and firmly opposes the Congregation, which causes tension with his mother.

Nathaniel is married to fellow daemon Sophie (Aisling Loftus), who’s pregnant with their first child. Sophie keeps quiet about her family background: having come from a long line of witches, she fears being shunned for being a daemon. 

Malin Buska as Satu Jarvinen Sky UK

Malin Buska (pictured above) appears as Satu Jarvinen, a witch who was born among Finland’s Saami people. As a powerful and independent witch, she’s drawn to Diana, recognising her us an uncanny version of herself. But does this mean they will become great allies or great enemies?

Gregg Chillin, Aiysha Hart and Edward Bluemel also star as vampires in the series. Bluemel plays Marcus Whitmore, who was rescued from death in 1781 when Matthew offered him the chance of eternal life. Hart appears as Miriam Shepherd, a frank and honest vampire who fully accepts that she is a predator.

As Matthew’s second-in-command, she’s not afraid to challenge him, but is fiercely loyal, extending her protection of Matthew to Diana. Chillin’s character is Domenico Michele, a vampire happy to watch the ancient powers fight each other, and wait to fill their places when no one’s around to notice.

What will happen in season 2?

Season 2 sees the drama move to Elizabethan England. Diana and Matthew are here hiding from the Congregation. They’re still on the hunt for the elusive Book of Life, but also need to find a powerful witch teacher to help Diana control her magic.

Back in the present day, Matthew’s mother Ysabeau De Clermont, a notorious witch hunter, provides shelter for Diana’s beloved aunts, Sarah and Em, at her ancestral home, Sept-Tours.

In Oxford, daemon Sophie’s pregnancy is advancing, and Marcus and Miriam take on the responsibility of protecting her and husband Nathanial in Matthew’s absence.

Meanwhile, Gerbert, Knox, Satu and Domenico are in hot pursuit of Diana and Matthew, hunting down every clue to their disappearance. 

Tom Hughes, who plays Prince Albert in Victoria, will join the cast as playwright and rival to Shakespeare, Kit Marlow.

Also joining the cast for season 2 are Steven Cree (Deep Water), Sheila Hancock (Delicious), James Purefoy (Sex Education) and Paul Rhys (Da Vinci’s Demons).

Steven Cree (below) will play Gallowglass De Clermont, Matthew’s nephew, who is very fond of his uncle and fellow vampire. James Purefoy will appear as Philippe De Clermont, founder of the Congregation and commander of the Knights of Lazarus. He’s also the mate of Ysabeau and stepfather to Matthew. Sheila Hancock is elder witch Goody Alsop, while Paul Rhys plays Andrew Hubbard, the vampire ruler of all creatures in London in 1590.

Other new cast members include Barbara Marten (Casualty) as Queen Elizabeth, Jacob Ifan (Cuffs) as Benjamin Fuchs, Holly Aird (Waking the Dead) as Francoise, Michael Lindall (Deep State) as Sir Walter Raleigh, Adam Sklar (Faceless) as Henry Percy, Joshua Pickering as Jack Blackfriars, Elaine Cassidy (Harper’s Island) as Louise De Clermont, Victoria Yeates (Call the Midwife) as Elizabeth Jackson / Water Witch, Adrian Rawlins (Chernobyl) as William Cecil, Lois Chimimba (Doctor Who) as Catherine Streeter/ Fire Witch, Amy McAllister (Philomena) as Marjorie Cooper/Earth Witch and Milo Twomey (Mother, Father, Son) as Pierre.

When is A Discovery of Witches on?

Filming wrapped in January 2020, but we’re still waiting for a release date. We can also expect a third season, based on the final book in Deborah Harkness’ trilogy, to follow.

Watch the first season of A Discovery of Witches on NOW TV.

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