It’s been well over two years since the first season of A Discovery of Witches concluded, sending historian Diana Bishop and her vampire partner Matthew Clairmont hurtling back to the year 1590.
That’s where the long-awaited follow-up picks up, which will premiere on Sky One this week and continue the saga originally plotted in the All Souls trilogy of novels by Deborah Harkness.
Much of the original cast is returning but there are also several new faces to keep an eye on, including the legendary Sheila Hancock (Unforgotten) and Sex Education star James Purefoy.
Read on for everything you need to know about the cast and characters of Sky’s A Discovery of Witches.
Teresa Palmer plays Diana Bishop
Who is Diana Bishop? Diana is a historian who tried to escape her lineage as a witch, but the supernatural world found her when she stumbled upon a bewitched manuscript in Oxford University’s Bodleian Library. She formed a controversial alliance with ancient vampire Matthew Clairmont which ultimately blossomed into love, risking her life to save his in the season one finale before travelling back in time several centuries to take refuge from their pursuers.
What else has Teresa Palmer been in? Palmer has starred in the main cast of several feature films including zombie comedy Warm Bodies, crime thriller Triple 9, horror flick Lights Out and war epic Hacksaw Ridge. Most recently, she played the lead role in Ride Like A Girl, the biopic about jockey Michelle Payne, first woman to win the Melbourne Cup in 2015.
Matthew Goode plays Matthew Clairmont
Who is Matthew Clairmont? Clairmont is an ancient vampire who forms an alliance with witch Diana Bishop, despite their species traditionally being at odds with each other. He is gravely concerned about the declining fortunes of vampires, witches and demons, all of whom are becoming less powerful in the supernatural world. His relationship with Diana eventually becomes romantic and he flees with her to 16th century London.
What else has Matthew Goode been in? Goode is a familiar face to fans of British telly, with recent roles in ITV’s Downton Abbey, Netflix’s The Crown and BBC One’s Ordeal by Innocence. Across the pond, he played Finn Polmar in legal drama The Good Wife and portrayed Ozymandias in the Hollywood adaptation of Alan Moore’s Watchmen.
James Purefoy plays Philippe de Clermont
Who is Philippe de Clermont? Philippe is the husband of Ysabeau and step-father to Matthew. In the first season, we learn that he was killed by witches in the Second World War, which is a key reason for the Clermont’s hatred for witches. Purefoy joins the cast for season two, where he will appear in the scenes set in 16th century London. He is one of the most powerful and most ancient vampires, as well as the founder of the Congregation.
What else has James Purefoy been in? Purefoy has previously worked opposite his on-screen wife Lindsay Duncan in the BBC Two drama Rome. More recently, his television work has included crime drama The Following, sci-fi thriller Altered Carbon and Netflix’s Sex Education. He is also known for his film roles in Resident Evil, A Knight’s Tale and Fisherman’s Friends.
Steven Cree plays Gallowglass de Clermont
Who is Gallowglass de Clermont? Gallowglass is a member of the vampiric de Clermont family and the nephew of Matthew. He is a ferocious warrior but also has a softer side and is welcoming to Diana upon her arrival in the distant past.
What else has Steven Cree been in? Steven Cree has played Ian Murray on the fantasy drama Outlander since 2015, with more recent projects being ITV’s Deep Water and Sky One thriller COBRA, starring Robert Carlyle. On the big screen, he recently appeared in action blockbuster Terminator: Dark Fate, where he played Rigby.
Tom Hughes plays Kit Marlowe
Who is Kit Marlowe? Christopher ‘Kit’ Marlowe was a real figure from British medieval history, a famous playwright and poet active during the Elizabethan era. The fictionalised version featured in A Discovery of Witches is also a daemon and thus part of the magical world inhabited by witches and vampires. He was close friends with the original version of Matthew, but the older vampire who travels to 1590 from the present day wants little to do with him – but Marlowe isn’t giving up so easy.
What else has Tom Hughes been in? Tom Hughes is perhaps best known for portraying Prince Albert on the ITV period drama Victoria. He has also appeared in Silk and Dancing On The Edge, since breaking out in the Ricky Gervais comedy Cemetery Junction.
Sheila Hancock plays Goody Alsop
Who is Goody Alsop? Goody is a powerful witch that Diana meets shortly after arriving in 1590. She soon begins to teach Diana and the pair form a close bond. However, Goody’s health is ailing in her older years and this becomes a major cause for concern.
What else has Sheila Hancock been in? Hancock has had an illustrious career which began in the early 1950s. Her most recent projects include ITV’s Unforgotten, BBC One’s New Tricks and the 2008 film adaptation of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
Paul Rhys plays Andrew Hubbard
Who is Andrew Hubbard? Hubbard is a vampire who rules the supernatural creatures of London in the 16th century. He has a complicated relationship with Matthew and takes great interest in Diana.
What else has Paul Rhys been in? Rhys has previously appeared in Da Vinci’s Demons and ITV’s Victoria, where he played Sir John Conroy.
Edward Bluemel plays Marcus Whitmore
Who is Marcus Whitmore? Marcus is the vampire son of Matthew as well as a trained doctor. He saved Diana’s life in season one by administering a crucial blood transfusion and his father made him leader of the Knights of Lazarus shortly after. He remained in the present day following Matthew and Diana’s timewalk to the 16th century.
What else has Edward Bluemel been in? Bluemel broke out on ITV’s short-lived period drama The Halcyon, before going on to play Maeve’s brother, Sean, in Netflix’s Sex Education, and Hugo in BBC One’s Killing Eve.
Malin Buska plays Satu Järvinen
Who is Satu Järvinen? Satu is a Finnish witch and a member of the congregation of witches who have their sights set on Diana and Matthew. In the first season, Satu abducts and attempts to torture Diana, but her attempts backfire and she winds up losing her magical powers. The congregation will soon decide her fate.
What else has Malin Buska been in? Buska hails from Sweden and has primarily worked on projects based in Scandinavian countries.
Aiysha Hart plays Miriam Shephard
Who is Miriam Shephard? Miriam is a vampire who works closely with Matthew and Marcus on their DNA research in Oxford.
What else has Aiysha Hart been in? Hart has previously featured in BBC One’s fantasy drama Atlantis, where she played Ariadne. More recently, she portrayed DS Sam Railston across three series of corruption thriller Line of Duty.
Owen Teale plays Peter Knox
Who is Peter Knox? Knox is a high-ranking member of the Congregation who disapproves of the alliance between Diana and Matthew, at one point accusing the vampire of kidnapping her. In the season one finale, he and the vampire Gilbert force a vote that results in Matthew losing the protection of his brother, Baldwin.
What else has Owen Teale been in? Game of Thrones fans will recognise Teale as Ser Alliser Thorne on the fantasy drama series, while he was also a regular face on Ruth Jones’ sitcom Stella on Sky One.
Alex Kingston plays Sarah Bishop
Who is Sarah Bishop? Sarah is Diana’s aunt who looked after her after the death of her parents. She too is a magic user and tries to help Diana control her abilities.
What else has Alex Kingston been in? Kingston is perhaps best known as River Song, a recurring character from the modern series of Doctor Who and a fan-favourite. Previously, she played Dr Elizabeth Corday on the medical drama ER. Most recently, she starred opposite Kate Beckinsale in ITV drama The Widow.
Valarie Pettiford plays Emily Mather
Who is Emily Mather? Emily is Sarah’s partner, who is also a witch and helped raise Diana.
What else has Valarie Pettiford been in? Pettiford has primarily worked in the United States, with roles on soap operas Another World and One Life to Live, as well as sitcom Half & Half and crime thriller The Blacklist.
Trevor Eve plays Gerbert d’Aurillac
Who is Gerbert d’Aurillac? Gerbert is one of the show’s most sinister antagonists, who wishes to abduct Diana for his own nefarious purposes. While working towards this goal, he strikes a deal with the witch Satu, and later convinces Peter Knox to conspire with him too.
What else has Trevor Eve been in? Eve is best known for leading the cast of crime dramas Shoestring and Waking The Dead, the latter of which ran for almost 100 episodes. More recently, he has appeared in ITV’s Unforgotten and Sky thriller Strike Back.
Lindsay Duncan plays Ysabeau de Clermont
Who is Ysabeau de Clermont? Ysabeau is the mother of Matthew Clairmont, herself an ancient vampire. She despises witches and so initially disapproves of Matthew’s relationship with Diana, but soon sides with the would-be couple against their growing list of enemies.
What else has Lindsay Duncan been in? No stranger to the world of fantasy, Duncan’s recent projects include iconic Doctor Who episode The Waters of Mars, BBC One’s Merlin and most recently His Dark Materials, where she voiced the daemon Octavia. Duncan has also enjoyed recurring roles in BBC dramas Rome and Sherlock.
A Discovery of Witches returns on Friday 8th January on Sky One. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.