'Sanctuary: A Witch's Tale' Will Bring a Modern Day Witch Hunt to Sundance Now

Elaine Cassidy in "Sanctuary: A Witch's Tale" (Photo: Sundance Now)

Elaine Cassidy in "Sanctuary: A Witch's Tale"

(Photo: Sundance Now)

Sadly, witch hunts never seem to go out of style. Humanity has been obsessed with rooting out evidence of witchcraft --- and punishing women who were deemed to be too different or too powerful for society’s liking --- for hundreds of years, and well before the infamous trials in Salem that are nowadays synonymous with the phenomenon. But Sundance Now’s latest series attempts to turn the idea on its head, telling the story of a society in which witchcraft is not something hidden but something that people are still too quickly driven to fear all the same. 

Based on the bestselling V.V. James mystery thriller, Sanctuary: A Witch’s Tale is set in a contemporary world where witchcraft is real. It takes place in the idyllic English town of Sanctuary, where, for hundreds of years, witches have lived peacefully as valued members of society. At least it did. Until the town’s “local witch” finds herself in the center of a murder case. 

At the heart of the story is Sarah Fenn, Sanctuary’s resident witch, a woman on whom the town relies to solve their problems when conventional remedies have failed. But when local teen rugby star Dan Whithall dies tragically in what appears to be an unfortunate accident, his death exposes a terrifying undercurrent of suspicion and fear toward Sarah and her teenage daughter, Harper. Abigail, the mother of the dead boy and once Sarah’s closest friend, is wracked with grief, and to avenge her son’s death, launches a modern-day witch-hunt to get “justice,” no matter what the cost.

Elaine Cassidy in "Sanctuary: A Witch's Tale"

Elaine Cassidy in "Sanctuary: A Witch's Tale"

(Photo: Sundance Now)

The series stars Elaine Cassidy (The Wonder) as Sarah, with Hazel Doupe (Into the Badlands) as Harper and Amy de Bhrun (Line of Duty) as Abigail. Alongside Cassidy, Doupe, and de Bhrun, the series also stars Stephanie Levi-John (The Spanish Princess), Valerie O’Connor (Nowhere Special), Kelly Campbell (Vikings), and Stephen Lord (Coronation Street). 

Sanctuary is the latest entry in the AMC Networks' growing stable of supernatural dramas, which range from its expanding "Immortal Universe" based on the works of Anne Rice's novels to Sundance Now's adaptation of Deborah Harkness' A Discovery of Witches trilogy. 

The series is written and created by Debbie Horsfield, who is likely known best to American audiences as the writer behind the recent Masterpiece version of PoldarkThe series is executive produced by Monumental Television (Mrs Sidhu Investigates, Harlots) and is directed by Lisa Mulcahy (The Tourist) and Justin Molotnikov (Outlander).

Sanctuary: A Witch's Tale will premiere on Thursday, January 4, 2024, with two episodes on Sundance Now and AMC+, with weekly installments to follow. 

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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