Cast announced as production begins on CBBC's adaptation of The Worst Witch
Now, when my readers ask if they can visit the school, I can tell them ‘watch the new series of The Worst Witch on CBBC and you'll feel as if you've just flown in through the window!'Jill Murphy
Mildred Hubble is our heroine. From a world outside of magic, she finds herself landing head first, literally, at Miss Cackle’s Academy for witches. The series follows her adventures and friendships as she strives not to be The Worst Witch! Full of flying, magic and plenty of laughs, the show brings Jill Murphy’s books to life for a contemporary audience.
Clare Higgins (Doctor Who; The Golden Compass; Downton Abbey) will play headteacher Miss Cackle; Raquel Cassidy (Downton Abbey; Jonathan Creek; Teachers) is cast in the role of Mildred’s fearsome Deputy Head, Miss Hardbroom; Wendy Craig (The Royal; Reggie Perrin; The Forsyte Saga; Butterflies) plays the fabulously ancient chanting teacher, Miss Bat; Nicola Stephenson (Clocking Off; The Chase; Emmerdale) will play Ms Hubble; and in the role of health-and-safety-conscious teacher, Miss Gullet, is Kacey Ainsworth (EastEnders; Granchester; Call The Midwife).
Alongside these established names are talented newcomers Bella Ramsey as Mildred Hubble; Meibh Campbell and Tamara Smart as her friends Maud Spellbody and Enid Nightshade; and Jenny Richardson as Maud’s arch enemy, Ethel Hallow.
Jill Murphy says: “Published 42 years ago, The Worst Witch has been the cornerstone of my career. I illustrate my own books, so I am very protective about them in every way, and I'm delighted to say that this wonderful new production ticks all the boxes. There have been a few changes, to nudge the Academy into the 21st century, but die-hard fans needn't worry, Miss Hardbroom is always on hand making sure that 'Standards will NOT be slipping!' Now, when my readers ask if they can visit the school, I can tell them ‘watch the new series of The Worst Witch on CBBC and you'll feel as if you've just flown in through the window!'”
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.
CBBC Productions Executive Producer, Marcus Wilson, says: "We’re honoured that Jill has entrusted us to bring her novels to a new generation of excited viewers. This is an incredibly ambitious production for CBBC and we’ve assembled a fantastic cast and crew who can’t wait to take the audience into the amazing world of The Worst Witch. Time to grab your broomsticks and brace yourselves for the start of the new term at the most magical school in the world!”
Filming will take place on location in Cheshire throughout the summer, with additional filming in Germany, and will be shown on CBBC early 2017.
Barbara Biermann, Head of Children’s and Youth Department at ZDF, says: "Following on from the success of the Wolfblood franchise, we were keen to find a new and fresh programme to partner up again with CBBC. Since The Worst Witch is also a popular property in Germany, we were sure audiences would appreciate a modern approach to this classical title. We are very happy that we are also shooting some elements in Germany - the witch academy's exteriors will look like the famous Burg Hohenzollern."