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Bella Ramsey in a promotional image for The Worst Witch 2017 CBBC and Netflix
Bella Ramsey in a promotional image for The Worst Witch 2017 CBBC and Netflix
Bella Ramsey in a promotional image for The Worst Witch 2017 CBBC and Netflix

Television

The Spellbinding History of The Worst Witch: From Beloved Book Series to Captivating Page-to-Screen Adaptations

NOTE: This article is 9 months old and may not include the most recent information.

As Halloween approaches, there’s no better time to appreciate the rich history of Jill Murphy’s beloved book series, The Worst Witch. Since first published in 1974, this magical world has continuously enchanted new generations of fans.

At the heart of the novels is Mildred Hubble, the kindhearted but hapless student at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches. Though she tries her hardest at her supernatural studies, Mildred simply can’t avoid comical catastrophes. Yet she perseveres with optimism and pluck, much to the initial annoyance of peers like Ethel Hallow.

Murphy’s writing brims with warmth and playful wit, crafting a thoroughly engaging perspective on the highs and lows of school days, both ordinary and extraordinary. The antics of Mildred and friends like Maud Spellbody, Enid Nightshade, and Ruby Cherrytree are perfectly complemented by Brian Warbow’s gothic-tinged illustrations.

Fairuza Balk
Fairuza Balk

Over the decades, devoted readers have been delighted to see the characters and adventures leap from page to screen through several memorable adaptations. The 1986 feature film first brought Mildred Hubble to life in bewitching fashion, with Fairuza Balk perfectly capturing the character’s quirky charm and good-hearted spirit. Against the backdrop of a foreboding academy, Balk’s Mildred shines with sincerity.

Georgina Sherrington
Georgina Sherrington

In 1998, Georgina Sherrington ushered in a new era of Worst Witch fans with her portrayal of a disaster-prone but big-hearted Mildred in the hit TV series. With impeccable comedic timing, Sherrington embodies Mildred’s endearing inability to fit in a magical world.

Bella Ramsey in the 2017 series the worst witch
Bella Ramsey

Cementing Mildred Hubble’s pop culture impact, a new generation was introduced to The Worst Witch via the 2017 CBBC/Netflix revival series. Taking up Mildred’s mantle was Bella Ramsey, who lit up the screen with their funny, offbeat take on the beloved character. Ramsey’s heartwarming performance delighted young viewers.

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Though each actor provides fresh takes on Mildred, they all succeed in retaining the core spirit of Jill Murphy’s creation. Her determination in the face of mishaps, talent for landing in zany situations, and kind heart shine through every portrayal.

For fans wishing to continue the fun, more hijinks await at Cackle’s Academy through the page-to-screen adaptations. Whether enjoyed separately or together, the enduring magic springs from unforgettable characters, humor, and friendship – with Mildred Hubble always at its heart.

Trevor Decker
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