The Worst Witch is a British television series about a group of young witches at a Magic Academy and is based on The Worst Witch books by Jill Murphy. The series follows Mildred Hubble, a normal girl from a world outside of magic, as she finds herself at Miss Cackle’s Academy for witches, and strives not to be The Worst Witch!
Cast Members include Clare Higgins as headteacher Miss Cackle; Raquel Cassidy as the deputy-headteacher and fearsome potions teacher, Miss Hardbroom; Bella Ramsey as Mildred Hubble; Meibh Campbell and Tamara Smart as her friends Maud Spellbody and Enid Nightshade; and Jenny Richardson as Ethel Hallow.
It is the fifth adaptation of The Worst Witch series after the 1986 television film, the 1998 television series, the 2001 television spin-off and the 2005 television spin-off.
The series is a co-production between CBBC and ZDF. The series started airing in January 2017, and will be available to stream internationally on Netflix in 2017. The series was released on DVD on May 29, 2017.
The Worst Witch: Magic Adventure is an online game on the CBBC website, designed to tie in with the series.
A re-imagining of the popular Jill Murphy books, the series centres on Mildred Hubble (Bella Ramsey), a girl from a world outside of magic who finds herself landing head first – quite literally - at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches. Although she tries her best, her lack of magical knowledge sees her constantly getting things wrong and the series follows her adventures as she strives not to be The Worst Witch. The series follows the friendship of Mildred, Maud Spellbody (Meibh Campbell/ Megan Hughes) and Enid Nightshade (Tamara Smart) as they navigate the trials and tribulations of a new school, the intrigue, the drama - and the rivalries - which come in the form of Mildred’s arch enemy, Ethel Hallow (Jenny Richardson).
In an interview in October 2014, Jill Murphy stated that a new TV series was on the way: “We’re just in the process of working on it with the BBC. They have much better special effects for the animals, so it should be wonderful. I’m really, really looking forward to it.”
In May 2016, casting was announced with filming set to take place on location in Cheshire throughout the summer, with additional filming in Germany, and will be shown on CBBC early 2017.
On October 31, 2016 (Halloween), a sneak peek of the series was released, along with cast photos and an air date of Janurary 2017.
The series is a co-production between the BBC, Netflix and German broadcaster ZDF. Commissioned by CBBC Controller, Cheryl Taylor, The Worst Witch is made by CBBC Productions, the in-house creative team based in Salford, and is co-produced with ZDF and distributed by ZDFE. The CBBC Productions executive producer is Marcus Wilson, Lucy Martin is producing and Emma Reeves is lead writer on the adaptation. This is CBBC Productions’ second major partnership with the German broadcaster and distributor, and follows on from the success of the Wolfblood franchise. The collaboration between CBBC, Netflix and ZDF has allowed for a budget far beyond that usually spent on children’s television programmes.
Some exterior scenes were filmed in Germany - the witch academy's exteriors will look like the famous Burg Hohenzollern. Other filming locations include Peckforton Castle and Alnwick Castle in the UK. Alnwick Castle was previously used as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.
- Miss Ada Cackle and Agatha Cackle - Clare Higgins
- Miss Hecate Hardbroom - Raquel Cassidy
- Miss Bat - Wendy Craig
- Miss Gullet - Kacey Ainsworth
- Miss Dimity Drill - Shauna Shim
- Miss Marigold Mould - Mina Anwar
- Miss Tapioca - Zita Sattar
- Ms Julie Hubble - Nicola Stephenson
- Mildred Hubble- Bella Ramsey
- Maud Spellbody - Meibh Campbell (Series 1), Megan Hughes (Series 2)
- Enid Nightshade - Tamara Smart
- Ethel Hallow - Jenny Richardson
- Drusilla Paddock - Tallulah Milligan
- Felicity Foxglove - Dagny Rollins
- Esmerelda Hallow - Miriam Petche
- Algernon Rowan-Webb - Philip Martin Brown
- Sybil Hallow - Trixie Hyde
- Clarice Twig - Kitty Slack
- Beatrice Bunch - Ynez Williams
- The Great Wizard - Nicholas Jones
- Mr Nathaniel Nightshade - Jonathon Ojinnaka
- Mrs Narcissus Nightshade - Holly Quin-Ankrah
- Mr Gordon Spellbody - Henry Miller
- Mrs Mavis Spellbody - Lynsey Anne Moffatt
- Mrs Ursula Hallow - Emma Handy
- Mr Hallow - Tim Wallers
- Old Mildred - Rachel Bell
- Miss Darkside - Kitty Martin
- Miss Pippa Pentangle- Amanda Holden
- Zac Hawthorn- Max True
- Sapphire Hailstone- Ellie Daley
- Young Ada Cackle- Sarah Gower
- Young Agatha Cackle- Claire Gower
- Mrs Alma Cackle- Gillian Waugh
- Oliver - Milo Panni
- Miss Doomstone - Shola Adewusi
- Episodes 1-2: Selection Day- Shown as a double length episode
- Episode 3: Tabby
- Episode 4: New Girl
- Episode 5: Pond Life
- Episode 6: The Great Wizard's Visit
- Episode 7: The Best Teacher
- Episode 8: Maud's Big Mistake
- Episode 9: The First Witch
- Episode 10: Spelling Bee
- Episode 11: The Mists of Time
- Episode 12: Out of Bounds
- Episode 13: The Worst Headmistress
- Episode 1: Tortoise Trouble
- Episode 2: The Friendship Trap
- Episode 3: Ethel Everywhere
- Episode 4: The Extraordinary Esper Vespertilio
- Episode 5: Mildred's Family Tree
- Episode 6: Bat Girl
- Episode 7: Hollow Wood
- Episode 8: Miss Cackle's Birthday
- Episode 9: Miss Softbroom
- Episode 10: A New Dawn
- Episode 11: Love at First Sight
- Episode 12: All Hallow's Eve (Not yet aired.)
- Episode 13: The Big Freeze (Not yet aired.)
The first series was released on DVD in The UK on May 29, 2017, as a 3 disc set. It has also been released as three separate volumes: Selection Day and Other Stories, The Great Wizard's Visit and Other Stories, and The Mists of Time and Other Stories.
The second series will be released in April 2018.
- In an interview with Raquel Cassidy, she mentioned a "massive invitation to play" with her character (Miss Hardbroom), as the books don't have a lot of characterisation.
- Emma Reeves, who wrote the series, avoided watching the previous version so as to avoid accidental plagiarism.
- The production design team invented the fictional language Witchenese, which can be seen in props and around the set in many episodes. The language is a combination of many ancient languages, including moon glyphs, Celtic symbols and Nordic markings.
- The snails in Mr Rowan-Webb's classroom were grown from snailings. They were affectionately named Turbo, Storm, GTI, Slimy, Leafanator and Antenny.
- The cauldrons in the potions lab are made from goldfish bowls so that viewers can see the colour of the potion and the bubbling during the brewing process.
- All the costumes were designed and made specifically for the show- nothing was bought from stores. This is because it was felt that witches' clothes shouldn't look like they were bought in a department store or the like, but should be more 'magical'.
- Raquel Cassidy (Miss Hardbroom) and Clare Higgins (Miss Cackle) are actually the same size, but for their roles, Raquel wears tight dresses and high heels, while Clare wears flats and a fat suit.