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Suppose you're a kid attending wizard school, with classes in Potions and Broom Flying, in a medieval castle surrounded by dark forests. It's hard for you, since you weren't raised by a magical family, but you make two best friends pretty quickly, and then spend the rest of the series getting into adventures with them--usually of the out-of-bounds kind. Your chief rival, meanwhile, is the stuck-up scion of an old magical family... who, to make things worse, is blatantly the favourite of one of your most-hated professors, the sour-faced potions teacher. At least the kindly old head teacher is on your side...

''Literature/HarryPotter''? [[OlderThanTheyThink Whoever said anything about]] ''[[SurprisinglySimilarStories him?]]'' We're talking about ''The Worst Witch''. The first book predates ''Literature/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone'' by 23 years.

''The Worst Witch'' is a book series by Jill Murphy about the trials and tribulations of a clumsy witch trying to survive her years at Miss Cackle's Academy For Witches. It has been adapted into both a movie and a TV series, with the latter going on to produce two SpinOff series.

The series follows the adventures of Mildred Hubble, a BookDumb student at the aforementioned school, and her friends Maud Moonshine (changed to Maud Spellbody for the US release, and Maud Warlock for the movie) and Enid Nightshade, as they get into all sorts of mischief, while being tormented by nasty [[AlphaBitch Ethel Hallow]]. Meanwhile, they are always under the watchful eyes of school principal Amelia Cackle, the extremely strict Miss Constance Hardbroom and her polar opposite, Miss Bat (the books state that there are more teachers). [[FilmOfTheBook The Movie]] adds broomstick trainer Madame Spellbinder, while the television series added Miss Crotchet as a SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute for Miss Bat in the third season, a caretaker named Mr. Blossom and made P.E. teacher Miss Drill an AscendedExtra.

Incidentally, the movie features a young Creator/FairuzaBalk as Mildred, with [[Series/TheAvengers Diana Rigg]] as Miss Hardbroom, Charlotte Rae as Miss Cackle and her EvilTwin, and Creator/TimCurry as a positively-creepy Grand Wizard.

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: There are currently six books: ]]

# ''The Worst Witch''
# ''The Worst Witch Strikes Again''
# ''A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch''
# ''The Worst Witch All at Sea''
# ''The Worst Witch Saves the Day''
# ''The Worst Witch to the Rescue''

[[/folder]]

[[folder: The television series's two Spin Offs are: ]]

* ''Weirdsister College: The Further Adventures of the Worst Witch'': Set at college in Cambridge, featuring Mildred settling into college life with Ethel for a roommate.
* ''The New Worst Witch'': Chronicles the adventures of Mildred's cousin Henrietta 'Hettie' Hubble and her friends; Mona Hallow, who happens to be Ethel's youngest sister, and Crescentmoon 'Cressie' Winterchild, all of whom are tormented by evil witch Belladonna Bindweed.

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!This book series and its adaptations provides examples of:

* AccentuateTheNegative: Used in the last episode of series 2 by the girls to prevent the school from being sold where they claim it's not just small, it's miniscule.
* ActingForTwo: The actress playing Miss Cackle (in the adaptations) also plays her evil twin sister Agatha
* AdaptationalHeroism: A lot of cases:
** Miss Drill and Miss Bat were just strict teachers in the books but become the friendlier teachers the girls can go to in the TV series.
** Miss Hardbroom got a couple of PetTheDog moments in the books but is greatly expanded into a JerkWithAHeartOfGold.
** Drucilla was just a croney of Ethel's but becomes an IneffectualSympatheticVillain and pulls off a HeelFaceTurn eventually.
** Ethel herself mellows out in ''Weirdsister College''.
* AdaptationDyeJob: Enid Nightshade went from being blonde in the books to having brown hair in the tv series. In the earlier television movie, Mildred (black hair) and Maud (blonde) both turned brunette.
* AdaptationExpansion: The series has gone through this several times over. The TV movie padded itself with sequences including a "scaring contest" and an early sequence with Punk Charlotte Rae, and the later series would pad the same adaptation by using the "Ethel's a pig" sequence as the basis for an entire episode (introducing a whole new character in Mr Blossom's nephew Charlie), while adding in a climactic chase through the school grounds. It's otherwise managed to incorporate adaptations of the next three books pretty much as-is (although ''The Worst Witch Strikes Again'' was made into two separate episodes).
* AdaptationInducedPlotHole: Miss Gimlett from season 2. In the books we didn't see all the teachers or all the classes but the TV series makes it clear there are only four in the school. So everyone referencing a Miss Gimlett who just left becomes a plot hole.
** The plot from ''A Bad Spell For The Worst Witch'' appears in season 2 of the show. Chief Wizard Hellibore says to Mildred "are you not the girl who ''ruined'' the Halloween celebrations last year!" at the climax. Except season 1 added an original story where Hellibore visited the school with his wizard students. In that episode he didn't question Mildred's identity and ended up being impressed by her at the end - so logically he shouldn't want to exclude her from his master class in season 2.
** Otherwise averted within the same plot. Griselda Blackwood's only appearance in the books is Mildred kidnapping her and tying her up so she can go to the Halloween celebrations in her place. Since the TV series makes Griselda one of Mildred's friends, this role is given to Drucilla instead. It also gives Ethel more motivation to expose Mildred, since she attacked her best friend.
* {{Adorkable}}: Miss Drill dancing at the end of the season 3 premiere.
* AdaptationPersonalityChange: In the original books Miss Bat appears only in the second book and appears to be your average strict teacher. The TV series has her as a CloudCuckooLander and much more emphatic to the students. Miss Drill is also written as a tough DrillSergeantNasty type of PE teacher in the books but is much more friendly in the TV series, as well as being rewritten to be mortal (she is implied to be a witch in the books).
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: The first spin-off, ''Weirdsister College'', gives us recurring male characters, one of whom is the dark and mysterious Nick Hobbes, who both Millie and Ethel both get a crush on.
** In Millie's case, this turns to SingleWomanSeeksGoodMan as she does end up going for that nice boy at the cafe, Ben.
* AllWitchesHaveCats: The girls at Cackle's Academy receive their kittens in the first year. But it's played with since the rival academy Pentangle's have owls instead. Miss Bat claims that her school had hedgehogs.
* AlmaMaterSong: "Onward Ever Striving Onward", the school song, which serves as the opening (and closing) credits theme for the series. It is also sung on multiple occasions by the characters (and actresses) themselves, though the version done for the credits was performed by the choir of the Wispers School for Girls.
* AlphaBitch: Ethel in the television adaptation, Belladonna in ''The New Worst Witch''. Enid could also count for this, except that she was one of Millie's friends.
* AscendedExtra: Miss Drill, Drusilla, Fenella, Griselda, Sybil and Clarice all of whom made a grand total of one appearance in the books (although Drusilla got a larger role in the books after the television series) all of whom are expanded into recurring characters in the television series. Also, the character of Deidre Swoop, who made an appearance in one episode of ''The Worst Witch'' and became a recurring character in the two spin-offs.
* BangingForHelp: In the episode where Miss Cackle gets tied up, gagged and left in the storage closet, when she sees Mildred and Enid flying in through the passage at the top of the closet, she starts making noise
* BewitchedAmphibians: Among many other transformations.
* BoardingSchool
* BrotherChuck: No explanation is given (on-screen) as to where Miss Bat went after season 2 of the television series, although apparently CITV explained she went to live in Inner Mongolia
** Arguably the students featured in ''The New Worst Witch'', which introduced a whole new cast of characters - including a previously unmentioned cousin of Mildred, and another sister for Ethel and Sybil - for no purpose other than returning to the magic (high) school format.
* CanisLatinicus: The show was using this to make spells sound cool before Harry Potter was a gleam in JK's eye
* CanonDiscontinuity: Happens in show in season one, episode 11, ''Let Them Eat Cake'':
--->'''Miss Cackle:''' Now come along Miss Harbroom, I've declared this an afternoon out, and you know what that means.
--->'''Miss Hardbroom:''' A holiday?
--->'''Miss Cackle:''' More than that. Tomorrow, we will forget that we were here together. An afternoon that never happened!
* ChristmasSpecial: The final filmed episode. It featured a [[SchoolPlay School Pantomime]].
* ClarkKenting: Agatha in the final epsiode of season 1 who swaps places with Amelia by switiching glasses. Justified as they are identical twins.
* CompletelyDifferentTitle: The series is known in France as Amandine Malabul (which is [[DubNameChange Mildred Hubble's name in French]]). All of the books were prefixed with her name, and a subtitle. For instance, the fourth book, ''The Worst Witch All at Sea'' became ''Amandine Malabul: La Sorciere a Peur de l'eau'' ("Mildred Hubble: The Witch with a Fear of Water").
** ''Weirdsister College'' became known as ''Eine Lausige Hexe in Cambridge'' ("The Worst Witch in Cambrige.")
* ContinuityDrift: "Up In The Air" suggests that Charlie is related to Frank through his sister. The ChristmasEpisode says that Frank's brother Ted is Charlie's father.
* CoolOldLady: The school founder Hermione Cackle, contrary to what Miss Hardbroom would like the students to believe.
* CoolTeacher: Miss Drill, especially in season 3.
* CulturalTranslation: Mildred is American in the movie even though it was a British production, filmed in Britain with a mostly British cast.
* CuteWitch: Mildred is an extremely [[CuteClumsyGirl clumsy]] one.
* ADayInTheLimelight: Happened twice in the television series where the story would focus on Sybil's class whilst the main cast were away
* DeniedFoodAsPunishment: In the tv movie, Miss Cackle sends Mildred straight to bed without supper after wrecking the broomstick display. She isn't sadistic though, in fact earlier in the film when Mildred is sent to her office she doesn't act nasty at all.
* DisneyAcidSequence: Tim Curry, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmG80v473AI&feature=related Halloween Song]]
* DramaticIrony: A small case but the episode "A Pig in a Poke" where Charlie steals a hat and cloak and pretends to be one of the girls. Just as his uncle asks Miss Drill where he is, she suggests he's probably in the library...right as she is directing Charlie unknowingly into the hall with the rest of the girls.
* DubNameChange: Plently in the Dutch dub.
** Mildred Hubble to Merel Hobbel
** Ethel Hallow to Edith Huigel
** Fenella Feverfew to Vanella Wiggelkoe
** Griselda Blackwood to Griselda Breekhout
** Sybil to Sara
** Hellibore to Hellerook
** Algernon Rowan-Webb to Evertjan Dromenster
** Cas to Tes
** Hobbes to Hops
** Miss Hardbroom to Heks Hakblok
** Miss Drill to Juf Kim
*** Plenty too in french traduction and dub.
**** Mildred Hubble to Amandine Malabul
**** Maud Moonshine to Maud Moucheté (TV)/Pamela (book)
**** Enid Nightshade to Isabelle Tromplamor
**** Tabby to Petipas
**** Miss Cackle to Melle Caquet (TV)/Melle Jolidodue (book)
**** Ethel Hallow to Edith Aigreur (TV)/Octavie Pâtafiel(book)
**** Fenella Feverfew to Fenella Folavoine
**** Griselda Blackwood to Griselda Bravoure
**** Miss Hardbroom to Melle Harebours(TV)/Melle Bâtonsec (book)
** While not as drastic, the Latin American dub would usually change the last names of the characters for direct or semi-direct translations of them or one of the words composing them. Mildred's became "Embrollo" (Hubble), Maud's was "Luna" (Moon), Enid's was "Sombra" (Shade), Drusilla's was "Del Corral" (Of the Paddock), etc. Some characters, like Ethel Hallow or Miss Cackle, kept their names unchanged.
* EvilTwin: Miss Cackle's sister Agatha, memorably portrayed in the film by Charlotte Rae in a pink wig and a Texan accent.
* EvolvingCredits: The opening titles to the first episode did not feature Mildred and her friends. Instead we saw the shots we usually see of all of the other witches (as well as one of a witch descending in front of the gate which didn't end up in the proper opening). The school song (used as the show's opening theme) was also not played and instead an instrumental BGM was. It was from the second episode onward we saw Mildred and her friends (bar Enid, who wasn't added until after her debut episode) flying on broomsticks and the school song was used as the opening theme.
* ExpositoryThemeSong: "Growing Up Isn't Easy", sung by--of all people--''Bonnie Langford''. Yes, ''that'' [[Characters/DoctorWho Bonnie Langford]].
* FaceHeelTurn: Maud in "The Worst Witch Strikes Again". Carried over into the TV series in two episodes
* GenreSavvy: Miss Crotchet gains this towards the end of season 3. In ''The Unfairground'', she says that even though she has only been at the school for a year, she knows how arguments go between the teachers. Miss Hardbroom will argue for a change in the treatment of the pupils, Miss Drill will argue in favour of the pupils, she will say something and get ignored, then Miss Cackle will enter the argument and everything will revert to status quo.
** However, things don't pan out like that in that episode.
* GirlishPigtails: Mildred keeps these during ''The Worst Witch''. At the end of the first episode of ''Weirdsister College'' she cuts them off after Nick and Ethel make fun of her.
* HeelFaceTurn: Drusilla toward the end of season 3 of the television series
* HeroesWantRedheads: Played straight and averted, all with Mildred. She's liked by at least four boys in the original series - Merlin Langstaff, Barry Dragonsbane, Garry Grailsquest, and Charlie Blossom - when she is a brunette. In the spin off, ''Weirdsister College'' this trope is played straight, with Ben Stemson and Nick Hobbes (though the latter isn't really a 'hero')
* HugeSchoolgirl: Enid Nightshade in the book series was described as very large and shy, though really she had a secret evil (ish) spark that she used her size and relative newness to the school to disguise, much to Worst Witch Mildred's chagrin. In the live action series, however, Enid was played be a very small (and more visibly spunky) actress.
* HypocriticalHumour: Miss Cackle catches Miss Drill and Miss Bat spying on Mr Hallow through the keyhole and sends them away to their classes. Once they're gone, she takes a good look herself.
* ImportantHaircut: See GirlishPigtails above. Lampshaded by Cass in the second episode, "do you really think cutting your hair is going to fix everything?"
* IncrediblyLamepun: In an episode, Mildred and Enid accidentally cast a spell that causes written down numbers to multiply and spread around the entire school. Ms Hardbroom stops the spell and remarks "as for these girls, I think their number's up". She allows herself a giggle before realising that nobody else is laughing.
* IneptMage: Mildred Hubble.
* InternationalCoproduction: The series was co-producted by HTV, a UK company, and Gala Films, a Canadian company.
* KarmaHoudini: Belladonna Bindweed in ''The New Worst Witch,'' especially in the first series, where she plays TeachersPet for all it's worth. Especially noticable in the series finale, where she is actively and willingly aiding the villains in their plans to take over Cackle's and bring chaos and misery to the world, and yet manages to get off without any form of retribution. At the end of the episode, she even [[LampshadedTrope lampshades]] her own KarmaHoudini status, smugly stating that she gets away with most things.
* LargeHam: Tim Curry as the Grand Wizard
** The Dragon Lord from the series as well.
* LettingHerHairDown: Tradition for the Halloween celebrations - all the girls and teachers have their hair down (Miss Cackle is the only one who wears it down normally since it's too short to tie up). It's the only time of year the girls spot Miss Hardbroom without her PrimAndProperBun.
* MeaningfulName: Everyone's surname has something to do with witchcraft.
** Miss Drill is an exception; her name relates to being a PE teacher.
** Miss Crotchet's refers to the fact she is a music teacher.
** Mr. Blossom (both of them) refers to the fact he is a gardener.
* NamedByTheAdaptation: In the books, Maud's last name wasn't revealed until ''The Worst Witch All at Sea'' where she is called Maud Spellbody. The TV series gave her the last name "Moonshine". Drucilla was also given the last name "Paddock". The teachers' first names weren't revealed in the books but the TV series says Miss Cackle is Amelia, Miss Hardbroom is Constance, Miss Bat is Davina and Miss Drill is Imogen.
* NoExportForYou: This is an odd example, but the entire series, including ''Weirdsister College'', ''The New Worst Witch'' and the movie from the 80's, is available on dvd ... in Australia.
** Thankfully for fans of the show, however, the RegionCoding on the box is wrong. The discs are set for region 0, not region 4.
*** Australian law forbids the selling of region-encoded [=DVDs=] or DVD players. Considering they're the only English-speaking country in the region, this makes perfect sense.
* OutOfCharacterMoment: Miss Bat's only canonical appearance from the books in the TV series comes across as this. Yelling at Mildred and sending her out of class for laughing during chanting is incredibly out of character.
* OvertookTheSeries: The television series as at the time the books only went up to ''The Worst Witch All at Sea''.
* PlayingAgainstType: In-show example. Miss Hardbroom plays the Fairy Godmother in the school play of Cinderella.
** When Mildred and Jadu were about to be expelled for creating a clandestine newspaper and organizing a secret student meeting instigating the rebelliousness of the whole school, Maud, Ruby, Enid and Drusilla tried to help their friends go back to Cackle's graces by invoking an unicorn that turns out to be Morgana, the evil witch from The Sleeping Beauty. The woman ends up mistaking Mildred for a princess and Miss Hardbroom for one of the Fairy Godmothers (The others being Miss Crotchet and Miss Drill).
* PowerTrio: Mildred, Maud and Enid. Later, ''Weirdsister College'' had Mildred, Cass, and Ethel, and ''The New Worst Witch'' had Hettie, Mona and Cressie.
* PragmaticAdaptation: Both the movie and the TV series add padding to the first story, with the TV series turning Ethel's little adventure into a separate episode, while the somewhat anticlimactic end to the original story instead gets turned into a large chase scene. The movie simply has to pad out several of its sequences, notably making Ethel's taunting a result of her cheating at a game of "Scare Tag" (in the book the teasing follows Mildred's lack of success with Tabby) and adding in the music video below. The second story (a HalfwayPlotSwitch) was simply adapted into two separate episodes, while the third and fourth became two-parters. Also, Madame Spellbinder, Miss Drill and Miss Swoop are unique to the adaptations.
* RaceLift: Mrs Tapioca in the TV series becomes Italian when she was presumably British in the books.
* RapunzelHair: Miss Hardbroom keeps her hair tyed up in a really tight bun 24/7 except for the Halloween celebrations where the girls are amazed that it goes right down to her waist. Mildred remarks that she doesn't look half as frightening when her hair is down.
* RobeAndWizardHat: Pointed hats and robes are FANCY/Formal dress. The student wear variations on their school colors of black even grey in their off hours. Including their pyjamas.
* SchoolPlay: There's two... nearly. One episode featured the girls rehearsing for a production of The Selfish Giant, only for Enid to drop the scenery on Ethel. The production is never mentioned in after that episode though other episodes imply Miss Drill does them regularly. The Christmas Special the following year featured the characters in a pantomime of Cinderella.
* SheCleansUpNicely: Mildred in her Cinderella ball gown in the school pantomime. Completely averted with Charlie in the prince costume - it was meant for Drucilla afterall.
* SisterBecky: The live action adapations saw three such changes.
** The first one saw Felicity Jones replaced as Ethel Hallow by Katy Allen for seasons two and three, which was [[{{Lampshaded}} explained away]] away as a "witchover." Jones later returned for the role in the fourth season (Weirdsister College).
** Fenella Feverfew was played by Julia Malewski for the first season and Emily Stride for the third.
** The character of Miss Hardbroom was also played by two different actresses: Kate Duchene in the first three seasons, and Caroline O'Neill in ''The New Worst Witch''.
** In fact, only Georgina Sherrington (Mildred) has appeared in all three incarnations of the show.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: The character's name is confirmed to be spelled "Dru'''c'''illa" in the credits and whenever it's written down. However it's misspelled by many fans, likely due to the popularity of [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer another character]] who spells it with an S.
* SternTeacher: Miss Hardbroom is perhaps a cross between this and a SadistTeacher.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: Three staff members at Cackle's get them by the third season.
** Miss Bat is replaced by Miss Crotchett to teach chanting. She's equally as odd and quirky. They even have similar first names - Davina and Lavinia.
** Frank Blossom is replaced as caretaker by another balding jovial man from OopNorth. Somewhat justified since it's meant to be his brother Ted.
** Mrs Tapioca gets replaced as cook by another Italian Mrs Semolina.
* TeachersPet: Belladonna in ''The New Worst Witch'' often plays this role, especially in the first series, though unlike most examples of the trope she has no ''real'' respect or admiration for the teachers and is basically just sucking up to them in order to make herself look good and everyone else look bad.
* ThoseTwoGuys: There were at least three separate sets.
** Fenella and Griselda
** Baz and Gaz
** Sybil and Clarice
** Tim and Azmat in ''Weirdsister College''
* [[TokenMinority Token Minorities]]: Ruby, a Token Black, and Jadu, a Token Asian in the tv series.
** Azmat Madari in ''Weirdsister College'' would also count.
* TroubledButCute: Hobbes in ''Weirdsister College.'' There's no doubting that he isn't an entirely pleasant person, but as the last episode reveals, he was bullied some point prior to coming to the college, and it could be argued much of his behaviour stems from that.
** Ethel could arguably be considered a female version of this trope. Yes, she's unpleasant, but there also seems to be an implication of having to live up to family standards - it's notable in ''Weirdsister College'' when asked why she came to the college she responds with simply "I'm a Hallow". This is shown with her interactions with Sybil during their time at Cackles; both have to live up to extreme family standards.
* TwinSwitch: A sinister version occurs in the season one finale. Miss Cackle's evil twin, Agatha, locks her sister in a cupboard and proceeds to masquearade as her to launch her revenge against Cackle's Academy.
* TwoTeacherSchool: Cackle's seems to survive on only having four teachers, and Weirdsister's runs with four lecturers as well.
* UnnecessaryMakeOver: Mildred Hubble gives herself a radical makeover in the first episode of the spin-off ''Weirdsister College'' that involves cutting off her GirlishPigtails. The other characters make a big fuss about how much better she looks except she gave herself an extremely frumpy hairstyle that made her look like she was in her 30s. She tidied herself up a bit towards the end of the series but most fans still preferred her with pigtails.
* WizardingSchool: Cackle's Academy. Well, Witching School, obviously, but it's the same principle. Also pre-dates Hogwarts by 23 years. Another (boys') school for wizards had been mentioned since the early season, and finally appears in the episode "Better Dead Than Co-Ed".
* WorkingTitle: ''Weirdsister College'' had a working title of ''The Worst Witch: The College Years'' (and ended up being used in an autumn CITV promo.)
* YouSuck: Mildred Hubble is gangly, funny looking- and no bloody good at anything. Even her cat, the imaginatively named Tabby, is a misfit. She got into the school on a scholarship, because Miss Cackle liked a story she wrote, just in case people were wondering how she managed to pass the entrance exam to the Academy.
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