Grateful and Guilty

In response to Grateful and Guilty | The Daily Post

Dear Writer or Producer of ‘Mugwhah’,

I watched the first three pilot episodes of your programme . It lacked historical authenticity; the narrator was a bore; the main female protagonist – Mugwhah the witch – was underdeveloped and it generally conformed to cultural stereotypes. The feminist credentials that the network claimed for it were at best, thin. In fact, the programme seemed to be dedicated to the male narrator’s (and by projection, the projected male spectator’s) desires. However, despite this, I loved it.

Possibly through incompetence, the confused voice of the narrator left enough space for speculation about sexuality. This is not to claim that William might be homosexual; that’s irrelevant. But rather, that in the spirit of Judith Butler, he seems open to the possibility of sexuality being an amorphous category. Through Mugwhah’s powers he seeks to confront his courtier training, his noble sense of masculinity. And this may take the narrative in interesting directions.

I don’t for a moment think that you have spent time researching the ‘medieval period’ in which your story takes place, but the historical consequences of Mugwhah’s real power could be intriguing. Going by the costumes, which by the way include anachronistic details, I would guess that your drama takes place in Tudor times. The religiosity of these times cast great suspicion on any woman not married and pregnant. Therefore, witchcraft was a corollary to a harsh patriarchal system. Did you know that the church advocated the missionary position because it was thought the most likely to produce boys? I suspect not.

So, I love Mugwhah because of its potential. Not for its track record.

I send this letter in the hope it might lead you to think more carefully about how to structure and develop the ideas. If you are successful in getting a full series, I think this level of scrutiny will be necessary.





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