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Taboo Wiki

John Pettifer was a a member of the East India Company. Pettifer was a recurring character in the first season of Taboo. He was portrayed by Richard Dixon.

Official Description[]

"John Pettifer is in charge of The East India Company’s Africa Desk and entrusted by Sir Stuart Strange to handle the more unpalatable tasks that need taking care of."[1]

Character Overview[]

John Pettifer was a man with a chubby face and black hair with some grey streak. His clothes were austere, mainly black, but elegant. He was an arrogant and conceited man, especially with his subordinates, but he turned out to be totally submissive to the authority of Sir Stuart Strange, reaching even to commit heinous acts to meet his chief.


Pettifer trying to buy Delaney with a bribe

John Pettifer was present during the different meetings at the East India Company House to discuss measures about James Delaney and the issue of Nootka Sound. [2]

Having failed to get a death sentence for James Delaney, Pettifer was severely reprimanded by Sir Stuart Strange, who threatened to remove him from the company if he had not found a solution as soon as possible. Together with Benjamin Wilton, Pettifer tried to mitigate unsuccessfully Sir Strange's resentment. [3]

Pettifer and Wilton were summoned by Sir Stuart Strange in his office to discuss any progress against James Delaney. [4]

In the following days, they failed to get on top of the problem, and Pettifer witnessed speechless at Sir Stuart Strange when it was discovered that they had been betrayed by Solomon Coop. [5]

Pettifer and Wilton are scolded by Sir Stuart

Pettifer took part in the extraordinary meeting of the East India Company's desk. [6]

Warming his hands in front of the East India Company parlour fireplace, Pettifer said some unkind remarks about George Chichester with his colleague Wilton, waiting for the meeting to begin. When Chichester arrived, Pettifer took on a friendly expression, finding himself increasingly uncomfortable as Chichester informed them about his investigation. [7]

Pettifer about to get killed by Atticus

Pettifer was among the members who sat at the East India Company Desk when Helga von Hinten and her friend Pearl confessed James Delaney's crimes, and later he accompanied Sir Stuart Strange with colleague Benjamin Wilton, and the attorney Robert Thoyt, to inform Solomon Coop directives to be taken once arrested James Delaney for treason and offence to the crown, including naval passages of commercial trades, witnessing pompously the success of the East India Company over the Crown. [8]

Commissioned by Sir Stuart Strange to deal with the two prostitutes, Pettifer met his death at the hands of Atticus when the latter began rescued the two women as stated by James Delaney, without respecting the agreement with Sir Strange that provided the staging of a kidnapping. Before shooting him in the forehead, Atticus gave to understand to Helga that Pettifer was the man who had hired a hit man to kill Winter. [9]

Memorable Quotes[]

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Season 1


  • Despite the BBC official guide to Taboo's Cast and Characters mentions him as Edmund Pettifer, he presented himself as John Pettifer in "Episode 1". Since he is only credited as "Pettifer" in end credits, the name mentioned on screen is what will be considered official until proven otherwise.[1]
  • Richard Dixon starred as a guest character in Endeavour, a British TV series where Jessie Buckley, who portrays Lorna Bow in Taboo, also played a role.


  1. 1.0 1.1 BBC One - Taboo Cast & Characters
  2. Knight, Steven (writer) & Nyholm, Kristoffer (director); January 7, 2017 BBC; January 10, 2017, FX; "Episode 1". Taboo.
  3. Knight, Steven (writer) & Nyholm, Kristoffer (director); January 14, 2017, BBC; January 17, 2017, FX; "Episode 2". Taboo.
  4. Knight, Steven (writer) & Nyholm, Kristoffer (director); January 21, 2017 BBC; January 24, 2017, FX; "Episode 3". Taboo.
  5. Knight, Steven & Ballou, Emily (writer) & Nyholm, Kristoffer (director); January 28, 2017 BBC; January 31, 2017, FX; "Episode 4". Taboo.
  6. Knight, Steven & Hervey, Ben (writer) & Engström, Anders (director); February 4, 2017 BBC; February 7, 2017, FX; "Episode 5". Taboo.
  7. Hardy, Chips & Knight, Steven (writer) & Engström, Anders (director); February 11, 2017 BBC; February 14, 2017, FX; "Episode 6". Taboo.
  8. Knight, Steven (writer) & Engström, Anders (director); February 18, 2017 BBC; February 21, 2017, FX; "Episode 7". Taboo.
  9. Knight, Steven (writer) & Engström, Anders (director); February 25, 2017 BBC; February 28, 2017, FX; "Episode 8". Taboo.