Produced by Matchlight, (C) Matchlight 2012
BRITAIN'S WICCA MAN (1x60) tells the extraordinary story of Britain's fastest growing religious group - Wicca - and of its creator, an eccentric Englishman called Gerald Gardner. Historian and leading expert in Pagan studies, Professor Ronald Hutton, explores the unlikely origins of modern pagan witchcraft and experiences first hand its growing influence throughout Britain today. Gardner's story and the story of Wicca itself is a bizarre one. Born of a nudist colony in 1930s Dorset, Wicca rapidly grew from a small new forest coven to a worldwide religion in the space of just 70 years. Its a journey that takes in tales of naked witches casting spells to ward off Hitler, tabloid hysteria about human sacrifices and Gerald Gardner himself appearing on Panorama. The film tells of a peculiar man who saw that the world was ready for a new religion based on magic, sex nature and ritual - and gave it to us. In doing so, he created in Wicca, the UK's first religion, one that has taken on a life of its own and is today counted amongst one of the fastest growing faith groups in the world. Through interviews and encounters with Wicca followers, experts and these who knew Gardner, Professor Hutton delves into this unusual world and the story of how its eccentric founder created a religion that is today increasingly seen as a valid alternative to the more orthodox faith groups.