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The Scold's Bridle 

Detective Cooper investigates the bizarre circumstances surrounding the murder of Matilda who was found dead in her bath wearing the Scold's Bridle.






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Complete series cast summary:
Bob Peck ...  Detective Sergeant Cooper 2 episodes, 1998
Miranda Richardson ...  Dr Sarah Blakeney 2 episodes, 1998
Douglas Hodge ...  Jack Blakeney 2 episodes, 1998
Virginia McKenna ...  Violet Orloff 2 episodes, 1998
Paul Brooke ...  Duncan Orloff 2 episodes, 1998
Finbar Lynch ...  Dave Hughes 2 episodes, 1998
Christine Moore Christine Moore ...  Jenny Spede 2 episodes, 1998
Wolf Christian Wolf Christian ...  Dave Hughes' Crew 2 episodes, 1998
Trudie Styler ...  Joanna Lascelles 2 episodes, 1998
Rosie Wiggins ...  Young Mathilda 2 episodes, 1998
Alan MacNaughtan ...  James Gillespie 2 episodes, 1998
James Gardner James Gardner ...  Dave Hughes' Crew 2 episodes, 1998
John Pirkis ...  Sir William Cavendish 2 episodes, 1998
Tracey Murphy Tracey Murphy ...  Julia Sefton 2 episodes, 1998
Rosemary Martin Rosemary Martin ...  Jane Merryman 2 episodes, 1998
Siân Phillips ...  Mathilda Gillespie 2 episodes, 1998
Miles Anderson ...  Detective Inspector Harmer 2 episodes, 1998
Andrew McGillan ...  Dave Hughes' Crew 2 episodes, 1998
Tony Tarrats Tony Tarrats ...  Dave Hughes' Crew 2 episodes, 1998
Beth Winslet ...  Ruth Lascelles 2 episodes, 1998
Hugh Bonneville ...  Tim Duggan 2 episodes, 1998
Alan Williams ...  Bob Spede 2 episodes, 1998
Bret Yount ...  Dave Hughes' Crew 2 episodes, 1998


The Scold's Bridle, a medieval device of repression, used to silence nagging women. When Detective Sgt. Cooper is called to the scene of the death of Mathilda Gillespie, although bizarre in a bath of blood wearing the Scold' Bridle, it seems like a simple, open and shut case of suicide. However, after speaking with Dr. Sarah Blakeney, Mathilda's physician, Cooper realizes that this is a murder investigation as Mathilda suffered from Arthritis. As Cooper investigates further into the life and background of Mathilda he discovers that she was almost universally hated. The only exceptions to this appear to be Dr. Blakeney and her husband Jack who painted a portrait of Mathilda wearing the Scold's Bridle. The case takes many weird twists and many dark secrets, past and present, are exposed as Cooper tenaciously attempts to discover the murderer. Written by Mark Smith <msmith@osi.co.uk>

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Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

20 June 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La mordaza de hierro See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(1 episode) | (1 episode)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Twenty years on, it's still a terrific watch.
23 December 2019 | by Sleepin_DragonSee all my reviews

Matilda was a cruel, wealthy tyrant, who enjoyed manipulating people, so when she is found dead in a bath wearing a scold's bridal, suspicions arise that she was murdered.

I read the book many years ago, and have to say this is one impressive dramatisation, it is very faithful to the text, the characters are exactly as you picture them, particular Joanna and Matilda, spot on.

Superb acting, they're all wonderful, Trudie Styler is captivating as Joanna.

It's an excellent two part drama, it's well paced, gritty and pretty shocking, with some graphic and upsetting scenes. For 1998 this pushed the boundaries.

It doesn't let up, the opening scenes of Part two are the most shocking, very harrowing.

Anyone that's watched this or read the book, I'd ask the question do you feel at all sorry for Joanna? Does she deserve sympathy?

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