The Worst Witch
Worst Witch Title Card.jpg
Genre
Based onThe Worst Witch
by Jill Murphy[3][4][5][6]
Developed byEmma Reeves
Directed byBrian Grant
Starring
ComposerMark Russell
Country of originUnited Kingdom[7]
Germany[7]
Original languageEnglish
No. of series4
No. of episodes52 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
  • Marcus Wilson (S1)
  • Arne Lohmann
  • Nicole Keeb
  • Tamara Rothenberg (S1-2)
  • Lucy Martin (S2-3)
  • Ed Horaz (S3)
  • Sue Nott (S4)
Producers
  • Lucy Martin (S1)
  • Kim Crowthier (S2-4)
Production locationsCheshire
Germany
EditorsDavid Mercer
David Head
Running time30 minutes
Production companiesCBBC Productions
ZDF
DistributorZDF Enterprises
Release
Original networkCBBC (UK)
ZDF (Germany)
Netflix (international)[8][9]
Picture formatHDTV 1080i
Audio formatDolby Digital 5.1
Original release11 January 2017 (2017-01-11)[10] –
20 April 2020 (2020-04-20)
Chronology
Related showsThe Worst Witch (1986)
The Worst Witch (1998–2001)
Weirdsister College (2001)
The New Worst Witch (2005–2007)

The Worst Witch is a fantasy drama children's television series. Based on novel series of the same name published in 1974 by Jill Murphy, the series follows Mildred Hubble (Bella Ramsey (series 1–3), Lydia Page (series 4)) and her friends Maud Spellbody (Meibh Campbell (series 1), Megan Hughes (series 2–4) and Enid Nightshade (Tamara Smart) and rivals Ethel Hallow (Jenny Richardson), Drusilla Paddock (Tallulah Milligan) and Felicity Foxglove's (Dagny Rollins) adventures and education at Cackle's Academy under caring headmistress Miss Cackle (Clare Higgins) and strict deputy headmistress Miss Hardbroom (Raquel Cassidy). 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 was an international co-production between CBBC, ZDF and Netflix. The series was made available to stream internationally on Netflix on 22 July 2017. It was available to members in the UK, Ireland and Germany after its premiere on CBBC and ZDF.[9] The series premiered on CBBC on 11 January 2017.[8] A second series began airing from 8 January 2018.[11][12] The second series premiered on Netflix Australia on 27 July 2018. The third series began airing on 7 January 2019.[13] The fourth series began airing on 27 January 2020.[14] Netflix released the fourth series on 1 October 2020.

In the United States, the series had a linear premiere on Disney Channel on October 4, 2021 and ended on October 31, 2021, finishing with the episode, "Ethel Hallow To The Rescue".[15]

Synopsis

Series 1

Mildred Hubble learns about magic and witching, discovering she is a witch despite coming from a non-witching family. With the help of her new friend Maud Spellbody, Mildred goes to an academy for witches and is admitted after she saves it from the headmistress Miss Cackle's evil sister Agatha whose magic is later taken away. Mildred struggles with tasks and work, not knowing about witching her whole life, unlike her classmates. She forms friendships with new girl Enid Nightshade but becomes Ethel Hallow's rival. Later, Mildred gets expelled for leaving the grounds without permission. Agatha comes to Cackle's, tricks Esmeralda, Ethel's older sister, into giving Agatha her magic and takes over as headmistress. Learning Agatha has become headmistress from her rival, Mildred returns to Cackle's, hoping to save it. After Agatha annihilates the school due to no one liking her, Mildred and her classmates perform a spell which reverses all of Agatha's spell. Mildred is brought back to Cackle's and finishes her first year.

Series 2

Mildred returns to Cackle's, a much better witch than she was before. The founding stone, a stone given to witching academies to fuel magic is found. Ethel receives a visit from Esmeralda, trying to convince Esmeralda to take the founding stone's magic which she refuses. However, to save Sybil, Ethel and Esmeralda's younger sister, Esmeralda is forced to take the founding stone's magic, causing magic to go wrong and the castle to start freezing. While Mildred, Maud, Enid and the Hallow sisters search for a way to re-ignite the founding stone, Mildred stumbles upon her ancestor on her family tree and learns the Hubbles are a witching family but Mirabelle, her ancestor, sacrificed her and twelve generations of magic to re-ignite the founding stone. After everybody starts freezing and the academy is evacuated, Mildred realises if she wants to save the academy, she must do what Mirabelle did. Mildred starts the spell but half-way through, Miss Mould, the art teacher, takes her place and sacrifices her magic.

Series 3

Miss Cackle invites Mildred's mum Julie to teach art at Cackle's; however, Julie is treated horribly by Miss Hardbroom, the potions teacher, causing Mildred to steal a wishing star and make her mum magical. At first, Julie is horrified but she eventually starts to like it. However, things get suspicious and Julie gives up her magic. Later, Mildred learns Julie still has her magic and has become malevolent, turning people into clay figures. Miss Hardbroom tells Mildred she made her friend Indigo Moon magical but Indigo also became malevolent and turned to stone for thirty years. Mildred makes a potion to prevent her mum turning to stone and, in the process, turns those who turned into clay figures and Indigo Moon back to people. Julie leaves Cackle's but Indigo crashes into Mildred's room. To stay at Cackle's, Indigo needs to pass her Witch Proficiency Exam which she does but them learns Miss Hardbroom is her old friend and leaves Cackle's. Ethel, however, steals a wishing star and wishes to save the school but results in the school being damaged by a fake Indigo Moon. To stop the fake Indigo, Miss Hardbroom apologises to the real Indigo and they return to Cackle's, proving the fake Indigo is not real.

Series 4

Ethel casts an appearance spell on Mildred to prevent her from running for head girl but Mildred runs and is given a series of tasks to beat Ethel. Mildred withdraws from the competition but finds water that can tell the future and sees Ethel as head girl in front of empty chairs. Horrified, Mildred re-enters the head girl contest in attempt to save the school. During the spell challenge, Ethel's deputy Felicity Foxglove makes Mildred's potion backfire, causing Miss Cackle to turn to glass and Mildred to be sent to Wormwood Academy for Undesirable Witches. Ethel frees Agatha from a photograph Miss Cackle trapped her in and Maud learns Mildred was framed. To save Mildred, Maud gets herself sent to Wormwood and helps her escape. However, Mildred's vision comes true and all the students are sent into vanishment after Agatha changes the Witches' Promise. To take the students out of vanishment, the name of Agatha's first familiar must be said. Spell science teacher Mr Daisy makes a potion which turns Miss Cackle back to herself who says the name, taking everyone out of vanishment. After learning she must return to the photograph, Agatha sends herself into vanishment. In recognition of saving the academy once more, Mildred is promoted to Head Girl and Maud is promoted to Deputy Head Girl in a promotion ceremony on the last day of term. The series ends with Ethel reconciling with Mildred after apologizing to her for causing trouble and becomes Mildred's adviser.

Main cast

See also: List of The Worst Witch characters

Main cast of series 1 from left to right: Dagny Rollins as Felicity Foxglove, Jenny Richardson as Ethel Hallow, Tallulah Milligan as Drusilla Paddock, Tamara Smart as Enid Nightshade, Bella Ramsey as Mildred Hubble, Meibh Campbell as Maud Spellbody, Raquel Cassidy as Miss Hardbroom, Clare Higgins as Miss Cackle.
Main cast of series 1 from left to right: Dagny Rollins as Felicity Foxglove, Jenny Richardson as Ethel Hallow, Tallulah Milligan as Drusilla Paddock, Tamara Smart as Enid Nightshade, Bella Ramsey as Mildred Hubble, Meibh Campbell as Maud Spellbody, Raquel Cassidy as Miss Hardbroom, Clare Higgins as Miss Cackle.
Cast list of The Worst Witch
Character Actress/Actor Series
1 2 3 4
Miss Ada Cackle Clare Higgins[a] Main
Agatha Cackle Main Does not appear Main
Miss Joy Hecate Hardbroom Raquel Cassidy[b] Main
Mildred Hubble Bella Ramsey[c] Main Does not appear
Lydia Page Does not appear Main
Maud Spellbody[d] Meibh Campbell Main Does not appear
Megan Hughes Does not appear Main
Drusilla Paddock Tallulah Milligan Main Does not appear
Ethel Hallow[e] Jenny Richardson Main
Felicity Foxglove[f] Dagny Rollins Main
Esmerelda Hallow Miriam Petche Main Does not appear
Miss Geraldine Gullett Kacey Ainsworth Main Does not appear
Miss Gwendolyn Bat Wendy Craig Main Does not appear
Miss Dimity Drill[g] Shauna Shim Main
Julie Hubble Nicola Stephenson Main[h]
Enid Nightshade Tamara Smart Main
Mr Algernon Rowan-Webb Philip Martin Brown Main Does not appear
The Great Wizard Nicholas Jones Main[h][i] Does not appear
Miss Pippa Pentangle Amanda Holden Main[j] Does not appear
Sybil Hallow Trixie Hyde Does not appear Main
Clarice Twigg Kitty Slack Does not appear Main
Beatrice Bunch Ynez Williams Does not appear Main
Miss Marigold Mould Mina Anwar Does not appear Main Does not appear
Mrs Maria Tapioca Zita Sattar Recurring Main
Mabel Tapioca Annette Hannah Does not appear Main
Indigo Moon Kelsey Calladine-Smith[k] Does not appear Main
Isabella[16] "Izzy" Jones[l] Saoirse Addison Does not appear Main
Fenella Feverfew Billie Boullet Does not appear Main
Azura Moon Luciana Akpobaro Does not appear Main
Miss Arabella Hempnettle Karen Paullada Does not appear Main
Mr Daisy Nitin Ganatra Does not appear Main

Episodes

Main article: List of The Worst Witch (2017 TV series) episodes

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
11311 January 2017 (2017-01-11)29 March 2017 (2017-03-29)
2138 January 2018 (2018-01-08)26 March 2018 (2018-03-26)
3137 January 2019 (2019-01-07)25 March 2019 (2019-03-25)
41327 January 2020 (2020-01-27)20 April 2020 (2020-04-20)

Production

Development and casting

In 2014, a new series of The Worst Witch was in development with the BBC.[17] Jill Murphy, the author of the book series, said the series should be "wonderful".[18] The cast of the show was announced in October 2016.[19] Bella Ramsey, who had starred in Game of Thrones, was cast as Mildred. Ramsey drew similarities between herself and Mildred.[7] Meibh Campbell played the role of Maud Spellbody for series 1, but was replaced by Megan Hughes from series 2.[20] Of her casting, Hughes said working on the show is "great and I [Hughes] love the experience" and that she is "so grateful for the opportunity". Hughes had two auditions before being offered the part of Maud.[20] Tamara Smart gained the part of Enid Nightshade after four months of auditioning, which she described as "very long" yet "nerve racking but at the same time very exciting". Smart was excited about the "amazing experience" when she got the part.[21] Jenny Richardson and Miriam Petche were cast as sisters Ethel and Esmerelda Hallow.[22][23] Tallulah Milligan, the daughter of Coronation Street and Waterloo Road actress Angela Griffin, was cast as Drusilla Paddock. Griffin said Milligan "absolutely loved" working on the show.[24] Dagny Rollins plays the role of Felicity Foxglove.[25]

Filming

The Worst Witch was filmed at Peckforton Castle, Peckforton Cheshire, England and Burg Hohenzollern, Swabian Alps, Germany.[26] The second series is also filmed at Adlington Hall, Adlington, Cheshire, using their grand hall, minstrel's gallery and their countryside and woods backdrop.[27] Bella Ramsey described filming as being "really good", but said there were some challenging elements and described learning the stunts as "hard".[7] Megan Hughes' mother, Claire, stated that Hughes had an "amazing time" and was "really happy, really positive" throughout filming.[20]

Reception

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the first series has a rating of 100% based on five critic reviews, with an average rating of 8/10.[28] Decider called the show "sweet, fun, and a little bit goofy".[29] Common Sense Media favourably compared it to Harry Potter though it was "quirkier" and "less scary".[2]

Accolades

Year Award Category Recipient(s)/Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2017 British Screenwriters' Awards Best British Children's Television Emma Reeves Won [30]
2018 British Academy Children's Awards Young Performer Bella Ramsey Nominated [31]
2018 British Academy Children's Awards Drama Delyth Thomas, Neil Jones, Kim Crowther Nominated [32]
2019 British Academy Children's Awards Young Performer Bella Ramsey Won [33]
2019 British Academy Children's Awards Drama Kim Crowther, Dirk Campbell, Neil Jones Nominated [34]
2019 British Academy Children's Awards Performer Raquel Cassidy Nominated [35]
2019 British Academy Children's Awards Director Dirk Campbell Won [36]
2020 Writers' Guild Awards Best Children's TV Episode Neil Jones for "Bad Magic" Nominated [37]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Clare Gower and Sarah Gower portray the younger versions of Ada and Agatha Cackle in series 1, respectively.
  2. ^ Amelia Baldock portrays the younger version of Miss Hardbroom in series 3 and 4.
  3. ^ Rachel Bell portrays the older version of Mildred in series 1.
  4. ^ Meibh Campbell also portrays Mona Spellbody in series 1.
  5. ^ Jenny Richardson also portrays Beryl Hallow in series 1.
  6. ^ Dagny Rollins also portrays Felicia Foxglove in series 1.
  7. ^ Shauna Shim also portrays Miss Drill's older relative in series 1.
  8. ^ a b In the seventh and eighth episodes of series 1, Nicola Stephenson is not credited in the opening sequence despite making an appearance. Instead, Nicholas Jones is credited in her place despite not appearing in those episodes.
  9. ^ In the third series, Jones only appears in the first episode despite being credited as a main cast member.
  10. ^ In series 1, Holden only appears in episode 10 and in series 2, she only appears in episode 10 despite being credited as a main cast member.
  11. ^ Renée Castle portrays the older version of Indigo in series 4.
  12. ^ In series 4 episodes 1–5 and 10 CBBC's rolling end titles displayed Izzy Jones' surname incorrectly as Izzy Peppercorn.

References

  1. ^ Malhotra, Noor (2 October 2020). "Where is The Worst Witch Filmed? Netflix Filming Locations". The Cinemaholic. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b Camacho, Melissa (1 July 2017). "The Worst Witch - TV Review". Common Sense Media. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  3. ^ "BBC – Cast announced as production begins on CBBC's adaptation of The Worst Witch". BBC.
  4. ^ "The Worst Witch is getting a TV reboot on CBBC". Independent.co.uk. 11 February 2016. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022.
  5. ^ ""There's still more to do" writes Alice Webb the new Director of BBC North". Prolific North. 27 May 2016.
  6. ^ "The Worst Witch remake has cast its Mildred Hubble".
  7. ^ a b c d Conlan, Tara (18 December 2016). "Harry Potter for girls? I'm not that kind of Worst Witch, says TV's new Mildred Hubble". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  8. ^ a b "BBC – The Worst Witch first look images and sneak peek clip unveiled – Media Centre".
  9. ^ a b "Netflix Sets Tween Series 'Worst Witch,' 'Horse Mystery Project' For 2017". Variety. 31 August 2016. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  10. ^ "CBBC brings The Worst Witch to life for a new generation". BBC (Press release). 12 November 2016. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  11. ^ "BBC - BBC Children's announce raft of new commissions - Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk.
  12. ^ "CBBC Schedule 08/01/18". CBBC. 12 January 2018. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  13. ^ "BBC - Programmes categorised as Children's: Drama, Schedule, Monday 7 January 2019". Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  14. ^ "CBBC - Schedules, Monday 27 January 2020". BBC. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  15. ^ https://tvlistings.zap2it.com/overview.html?programSeriesId=SH02742761&tmsId=EP027427610013&from=ssg&aid=gapzap[bare URL]
  16. ^ "The Three Impossibilities". The Worst Witch. Series 4. Episode 1. 27 January 2020. Event occurs at 8 minutes, 2 seconds. CBBC, ZDF and Netflix.
  17. ^ Alexander, Susannah (2 November 2014). "The Worst Witch writer reveals new TV adaptation is in development". Digital Spy. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  18. ^ Deen, Sarah (2 November 2014). "The Worst Witch is coming back". Metro. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  19. ^ Anderton, Joe (31 October 2016). "Here's your first look at the spooky Worst Witch TV remake, featuring stars from Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey". Digital Spy. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  20. ^ a b c Hughes, Pete (25 July 2017). "Oxfordshire schoolgirl Megan Hughes is set to become a national star in new series of The Worst Witch". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  21. ^ "Barnet schoolgirl is flying high at landing star role in CBBC show". Borehamwood Times. 6 September 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  22. ^ Dickerson, Rachel (5 December 2016). "Drama pupil from Leatherhead to star in The Worst Witch reboot". Your Local Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  23. ^ Mark Jermin Management on Twitter: HUGE well done to Miriam Petche who will be playing the role of Esmerelda in new CBBC remake of THE WORST WITCH!
  24. ^ Gray, Susan (16 July 2016). "Angela Griffin: 'She's ace, my mum – a grounded, down-to-earth Yorkshirewoman'". Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  25. ^ "Leanne Brown and Angela Griffin turn out for special CBBC Worst Witch screening". Manchester Evening News. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  26. ^ "CBBC brings The Worst Witch to life for a new generation". BBC. 11 December 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  27. ^ "Adlington Hall & Gardens Turns Into A Witching Academy". Marketing Cheshire. 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  28. ^ "The Worst Witch: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  29. ^ O'Keefe, Megan (21 July 2017). "'The Worst Witch' On Netflix: 'Game Of Thrones' Fan Favorite Lyanna Mormont Unleashes Her Inner Harry Potter". Decider. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  30. ^ BWW News Desk (3 April 2019). "THE WORST WITCH Flies Into The West End For A Strictly Limited Season". BroadwayWorld. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  31. ^ "Children's | Young Performer in 2018". BAFTA. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  32. ^ "Children's | Drama in 2018". BAFTA. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  33. ^ "Children's | Young Performer in 2019". BAFTA. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  34. ^ "Children's | Drama in 2019". BAFTA. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  35. ^ "Children's | Performer in 2019". BAFTA. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  36. ^ "Children's | Director in 2019". BAFTA. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  37. ^ "Writers' Guild Awards 2020". Writers' Guild of Great Britain. 4 December 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2020.