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Literature / The Worst Witch

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Onward, ever striving onward
Proudly on our brooms we fly
Straight and true above the treetops
Shadows on a moonlit sky
Ne'er a day will pass before us
When we have not tried our best
Kept our cauldrons bubbling nicely
Cast our spells with zest.

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...

Harry Potter? Whoever said anything about him? And no, we're not talking about Little Witch Academia, either.note  We're talking about The Worst Witch. The first book predates Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone 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 Spin-Off series.

The series follows the adventures of Mildred Hubble, a Book Dumb 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 Ethel Hallow. Meanwhile, they are always under the watchful eyes of headmistress Amelia Cackle, the extremely strict Miss Constance Hardbroom and her polar opposite, Miss Bat (the books state that there are more teachers). The Movie adds broomstick trainer Madame Spellbinder, while the first television series added Miss Crotchet as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Miss Bat in the third season, a caretaker named Mr. Blossom and made P.E. teacher Miss Drill an Ascended Extra.

Incidentally, the movie features a young Fairuza Balk as Mildred, with Diana Rigg as Miss Hardbroom, Charlotte Rae as Miss Cackle and her Evil Twin, and Tim Curry as a positively-creepy Grand Wizard. The first TV series features a young Felicity Jones as Ethel Hallow in the first season.

There are currently eight books:

  1. The Worst Witch
  2. The Worst Witch Strikes Again
  3. A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch
  4. The Worst Witch All at Seanote 
  5. The Worst Witch Saves the Day
  6. The Worst Witch to the Rescue
  7. The Worst Witch and the Wishing Star
  8. First Prize for the Worst Witch

The first television series and its two Spin Offs are:

  • The Worst Witch (1998-2001): The original TV adaptation
  • Weirdsister College: The Further Adventures of the Worst Witch (2001): Set at college in Cambridge, featuring Mildred settling into college life with Ethel for a roommate.
  • The New Worst Witch (2005): 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.

A new TV adaptation began on 11th January 2017 on CBBC, and was later made available for international streaming on Netflix. The 2017 adaptation came to an end on both August 10, 2020 on CBBC and October 1, 2020 on Netflix.

The 2017 show premiered on Disney Channel on October 4th, 2021 as a "Disney Channel Original Series". However, unlike the previous incarnations (Netflix and CBBC) of the 2017 show, this version featured a Laugh Track to match with its current Disney Channel sitcoms. The series finished on 30 March 2020, with the two-part episode "The Witching Hour" as the Grand Finale.

This book series and its adaptations provides examples of:

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    Tropes A-G 
  • An Aesop: The Grand Finale of the 2017 not only brings the story arcs full circle but Mildred's speech gives us the overall moral, saying that magic is real as long as we believe in it. Now that's true magic.
    Mildred Hubble: There is magic inside each and every one of us. A witch or not, you just have to believe in it.
  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Ethel Hallow, described as "one of those lucky people for whom everything goes right". The '98 and '17 series upgrade her to a Rich Bitch, whose family has attended Cackle's for generations.
  • Accentuate the Negative: Used in the last episode of series 2 of the '98 series by the girls to prevent the school from being sold where they claim it's not just small, it's miniscule.
  • Actor Allusion: In the NHK Japanese dub of the 2017 series, this is not the first time we hear Masako Katsuki (Mrs. Cackles) being the leader of a school or place when dark arts are taught, except replace "ninjutsu" with "witchcraft".
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Maud is frequently described as chubby in the books, to the degree that her parents put her on a diet during the holidays. In the '98 series she's played by the slender Emma Brown.
    • A building example in the 1998 series. Algernon Rowan Webb's home is called Gloom Castle, and it's a cold unwelcoming-looking place that Ethel grumbles about. In the series, he instead has a nice house by the river.
    • Miss Drill is a hard-faced Brawn Hilda in the books, but played by the young and kinder looking Shauna Shim in the 2017 series.
    • Algernon Rowan Webb is considerably less old and haggard in the 1998 TV series than he was in the books.
    • The TV movie changes the Grand Wizard from a Professor Dumbledore type of very old man with long white hair and beard to, well...Tim Curry. The students even pass around pictures of him and giggle over him like he's a movie star. Miss Hardbroom, who is supposed to be plain, is Diana Rigg.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Miss Hardbroom gets shown doing a lot of incredibly powerful magic in the '98 series. She's even referred to by Agatha as "the really dangerous one". Miss Cackle herself also gets to immobilise Agatha instantly without needing words.
    • This is also the case for Miss Cackle herself in the 2017 series who is able to engage in magical duel in the series opener.
    • In The Worst Witch All at Sea, Mildred is gifted a necklace by Algernon Rowan-Webb. The necklace is an ordinary piece of jewelry with no magic powers. In the 1998 series, the necklace is now a talisman with the ability to repel The Dragon Lord's blasts of fire.
  • Adaptational Nationality: In the 1987 film, Mildred is played by the American Fairuza Balk (since it was an American co-production), who plays the role with her natural accent.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Enid Nightshade went from being blonde in the books to having brown hair in the '98 series and later black hair in the '17 series. In the earlier television movie, Mildred (black hair) and Maud (blonde) both turned brunette.
  • Adaptation Expansion: 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.
    • The '98 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).
    • Sybil Hallow likewise only made one appearance in the books, but got her entire character expanded. In the '98 series she's viewed as Ethel's Annoying Younger Sibling and deeply resents her older sister's bullying ways - looking up to Mildred instead. She's also portrayed as more like Mildred; nervous and accident prone, further putting her in contrast to her confident older sister.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
    • Miss Gimlett from season 2 of the '98 series. 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 the finale of the first book is kept intact for the episode "Double Double Toil and Trouble" - particularly the part where Miss Cackle and Miss Hardbroom initially don't believe Mildred's story about Agatha. It becomes a Plot Hole because this time Miss Drill has been involved, rescuing Mildred from Agatha. Miss Drill vouches for Mildred's story but the other two still don't believe her... which leads us to Plot Hole number 2. In the book Mildred turned Agatha and her cronies into snails and so couldn't prove to the teachers that they were really witches. Here, she just blasts them with a shrinking potion. It's not until Mildred talks about a woman that looked like Miss Cackle that the latter believes her in both versions. However, here all Mildred had to do was open the box and show them the shrunken witches - leading viewers to question why she doesn't do that before telling her story, to make sure the teachers know she's telling the truth.
    • The plot from A Bad Spell For The Worst Witch appears in season 2 of the '98 series. 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 '98 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.
    • Another close subversion is when Mildred casts the spell on Agatha and her cronies. Previously the spell to turn Ethel into a pig was in a big book in the library - that first and second years are said not to be allowed to read. A spell for snails was in the book too (what Mildred uses in the novel). So Mildred instead casts a spell to trap the witches in the ground - as such, an advanced spell like snails likely wouldn't be in her beginner spellbook (where she finds the spell).
    • Inverted in one case where the books had a Plot Hole that the '98 series fixed. In the book when Mildred turns Ethel into a pig, Ethel can still talk - and rats her out to Miss Hardbroom. This becomes odd when two books later, Mildred gets turned into a frog and can't communicate with her classmates. In the TV series, Ethel can't talk either when she gets turned into a pig.
    • Another subversion is adapting the second book's plot - where there's a monkey in Enid's room and they assume Mildred has turned Ethel into an animal again (until it's revealed to be Enid's cat). In the books they found out about Ethel getting turned into a pig, but they didn't in the TV series. Here however the monkey is found wearing Ethel's tie, and Ethel is also lying down after Enid made the set fall on her - so her not being in the courtyard with everyone else gives them more reason to suspect Mildred.
    • In the second book Mildred gets blamed for a spell Enid cast going awry - and is put on probation. In the book, Enid enchants a pole in the vaulting competition - and Millie ends up flying into Miss Hardbroom's private study. In the '98 series, they're on a marathon and Enid tries to teleport Millie to the end of the trek. She goofs and poofs her into Cackle's office and then into the music room. Except here it should be obvious that Mildred isn't the culprit because Cackle and Hardbroom are there and Mildred disappears without using an incantation - making it clear that she isn't the one casting the spell.
    • Another minor one caused from adapting the second book. Maud gets jealous of Mildred having to show Enid around and ends their friendship temporarily. She ends up hanging around with Ethel because she doesn't have any other friends of her own. Except the '98 series adds Ruby and Jadu, making Maud's line "well I've got no one else, have I?" rather odd. Indeed for the episodes in question, Jadu and Ruby are inexplicably in the background as if they don't hang out with Maud and Mildred.
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • In the original books Miss Bat appears only in the second book and appears to be your average strict teacher. The '98 series has her as a Cloud Cuckoo Lander and much more emphatic to the students. Miss Drill is also written as a tough Drill Sergeant Nasty type of PE teacher in the books but is much more friendly in the '98 series, as well as being rewritten to be mortal (she is implied to be a witch in the books).
    • In the 2017 adaptation Miss Drill is again considerably friendlier than her book counterpart - although unlike in 1998, this time she's definitely a witch.
  • Adaptation Species Change: Miss Drill is a witch in the books, but becomes a Muggle in the 1998 series.
  • Adaptational Heroism: A lot of cases in the 1998 TV series:
    • Miss Drill and Miss Bat were just strict teachers in the books, but become the friendlier teachers to whom the girls can go in moments of need.
    • Miss Hardbroom got a couple of Pet the Dog moments in the books but is greatly expanded into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
    • Drucilla was just a crony of Ethel's but becomes an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain and pulls off a Heel–Face Turn eventually.
    • Maud slightly when adapting The Worst Witch Strikes Again. Maud in the book gets jealous immediately that Mildred has to spend time with Enid, but the episode changes things around so that Enid's out of tune singing happens first (with Millie maintaining she was doing it on purpose) and Maud's Face–Heel Turn is born from frustration that Mildred is continuing to stick with Enid despite the girl seeming like trouble.
    • Mildred herself in the same book-to-series change. In the book, she's kicked out of chanting and instead chooses to go into Enid's room to look at the monkey - making it her own fault that she nearly gets in trouble. In the series, she and Enid are both scrubbing the stairs after the latter pranks Ethel in class. Enid gets annoyed and runs off, and Mildred only goes into her room looking for her - making it a complete accident that the monkey gets out.
    • Maud also gets another mild example when adapting the Agatha Cackle portion of the first book. As Mildred stops all of Agatha's witches instantly with a spell, Maud never finds out until the next day and therefore doesn't make up with her friend until after she's saved the school. Heartwarmingly, in the series, Maud gets up early and goes into Mildred's room to apologise. She also helps Mildred save the school.
    • Ethel herself mellows out in Weirdsister College.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Enid drops all her mischievous nature in the books after The Worst Witch Strikes Again. In the 1998 series, she only becomes slightly better and is still more prone to breaking rules (although on the flipside, she actually does apologise more times in the series for getting Mildred into trouble). She borders on The Friend Nobody Likes at times - which culminates in Weirdsister College when she and Mildred acknowledge that they can't be friends as they were at Cackle's.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Ethel, in just one case - when it comes to pushing the boat out to sea. In the book, Mildred has said she was considering using it to find the lost treasure, and Ethel pushes it out to stop her from doing so. She didn't know Tabby was on board. In the TV show, she and Drucilla push the boat out because Tabby is on board. And in the TV show, they know there's a series of rapids and a dangerous waterfall ahead.
  • Adaptational Wealth:
    • Ethel in the books is just said to be a top student who luckily "everything goes right" for. Both series have her come from a wealthy family, with her father on the board of governors in the 1998 series.
    • An inversion: Algernon Rowan Webb invites the girls to a castle he owns in the books. The 1998 series has it as a more modest riverside house.
    • Enid is shown to come from a rich family in the 2017 series.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Happens twice in the 2017 series:
    • The 2017 season 2 finale ends with Mildred being applauded by the school for her heroric deeds.
    • The 2017 series' Grand Finale has the school celebrating both Mildred's promotion to Head Girl and the defeat of Agatha Cackle.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The Grand Finale of the 2017 series ends with everyone at assembly celebrating Mildred's promotion and Agatha Cackle's defeat, which serves as a symbol saying that there are more adventures waiting for them, but for the viewers their adventures at Cackle's Academy has come to a close.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: 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 Single Woman Seeks Good Man as she does end up going for that nice boy at the cafe, Ben.
  • All Witches Have Cats: 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.
  • Alliterative Name:
    • 1998 series: Maud Moonshine; Fenella Feverfew; Clarice Crow; Gary Grailquest; Bryony Besomsworth; Gabrielle Gribble; Lynne Lamplighter.
    • And again in 2017 — Hecate Hardbroom, Pippa Pentangle and Dimity Drill.
  • Alma Mater Song:
    • "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.
    • One episode even ends on the characters singing the first half of the song (used for the opening credits), leading immediately into the choir picking up the second half for the closing credits.
    • In the movie one of Agatha's complaints is that her sister changed it. Given the old version (which of course Agatha and her minions sing) was about being a Card Carrying Wicked Witch you can see why they got rid of it.
  • Alpha Bitch: Ethel in the television adaptation (1998 and 2017), Belladonna in The New Worst Witch. Enid could also count for this, except that she was one of Millie's friends.
  • Always Female: Per the canon, witches are always female. Wizards are male. Charlie briefly entertains the idea of joining Cackle's as a student, and they find a clause in the school charter that would allow for a male to enroll.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Miss Hardbroom, subtly in the 1998 adaptation and more obviously in 2017.
  • Ascended Extra: Miss Drill, Drucilla, Fenella, Griselda, Sybil and Clarice all of whom made a grand total of one appearance in the books (although Drucilla 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. Likewise Pentangle's Academy was only mentioned offhand in one book. Season 3 of the TV series expands Pentangle's into being one of Cackle's biggest rivals.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Magic spells, at least in the 1998 series, where they tend to be long Latinish sentences, and, as Agatha and her associates found out, they take so long to caste that the potential victim has plenty of time to simply run away before they can finish. Furthermore, mispronouncing a single syllable or saying the spell a bit too loud can have dramatically different effects than what was the spell caster's intent. note 
  • Banging for Help: 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.
  • Beast in the Building: Inside the school, Miss Hardbroom suddenly enters to find a pig there, which Mildred tries to pass off as a stray. When the pig talks and explains that she is actually Ethel whom Mildred had turned into a pig, Miss Hardbroom sends Mildred to the library to look up how to remove the spell, telling her to take the pig with her. Mildred is very embarrassed to take a pig into the library, especially as Ethel moans "hurry up", and keeps grunting loudly on purpose.
    Miss Hardbroom: What is this animal doing here?
    Mildred: Er... I let it in, Miss Hardbroom.
    Miss Hardbroom: Well, you can just let it out again, please.
    Mildred: Oh, er... couldn't I keep it as a pet?
    Miss Hardbroom: I think you have quite enough with that cat, without adding a pig to your worries.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Quite literally in "The Genius of the Lamp". Sybil using Loophole Abuse to get unlimited wishes for her magic lamp results in something else weakening to keep the wishes going. It first just drains the light but eventually effects the girls themselves.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: In the Grand Finale of the 2017 series, as Ada prepares to send Agatha back into the painting where she has been trapped for the last few years, Agatha instead sends herself to the Vanishment dimension as it is being 'cleared out'.
  • Bewitched Amphibians:
    • Jadu complains that she hasn't turned anyone into a frog yet in a letter home.
    • Ethel dares Mildred to turn her into one, but due to a mix-up, Millie turns her into a pig instead.
    • Agatha Cackle's evil plan is to turn the whole school into frogs.
    • Ethel also turns Mildred into one in retaliation for scaring her sister. Through the experience, Mildred discovers that the frog in the school pond is a bewitched wizard.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": In the first book, Mildred turns about twenty witches into snails. When they are changed back again, they all talk furiously at the same time, causing Miss Cackle to command "will you be quiet at once!".
  • Boarding School: Magical boarding school, two decades before Hogwarts, even!
  • Boarding School of Horrors: Downplayed in the books, in that unlike the homely feeling of Hogwarts, the school is very utilitarian and prison-like, with many aspects described as "bleak" and "dreary". It is also very cold, even in summer, because all the doors have gaps underneath them, and the windows have no glass. There are also so many rules that you can't do anything without being told off; and the year is divided into two long terms, the Winter Term running from September to the end of January, and the Summer Term (always very cold and wintry at the start) running from March until the end of July. At the start of A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch, Mildred makes the school sound even more horrible when she tells the young Sybil a made-up story about Miss Hardbroom turning pupils into frogs.
  • Book Ends: The Season 3 premiere of the '98 series opens and ends with the girls dancing to the same song. In the opening, they unsuccessfully try to get Miss Drill to join in. At the end, she does.
  • Book Snap: In the first book, Miss Cackle slams a register shut when Mildred appears in her office, perhaps knowing that Mildred is about to confess to something dreadful, as indeed she does.
    Miss Cackle slammed the register shut and pushed her glasses on to the top of her head.
    "Now, Mildred, what can I do for you?"
  • Bungling Inventor:
    • Ruby, who seems to view herself as a genuine Gadgeteer Genius, but whose inventions go wrong more often than not.
    • The fourth season of the 2017 series introduces a magical and normal version of these in the form of new Spells Science teacher Mr Daisy and Spike, the father of new pupil Izzy, although their latest creations prove a success in saving the day in the season finale.
  • Calling Card: In the book A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch, Ethel is enraged by Mildred "terrorising her little sister" by telling her a story about being turned into a frog by a teacher, and "insulting her family" by calling her a weed. As revenge, Ethel turns Mildred into a frog while she sleeps, and deposits a clump of weeds on Mildred's pillow.
  • Canis Latinicus: The show was using this to make spells sound cool before Harry Potter was a gleam in JK's eye. In the books, the spells' words were never actually mentioned. It is explained that it is not necessarily needed, but since Cackle's is a traditional type of witch school, it teaches the girls in the traditional way - which means saying your spells in Latin. The 2017 seems to partly do away with this, with some spells being said in English.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • The '98 show adds a lot of characters who weren't in the books. Among the most important are Ruby, Jadu, Mr. Blossom (both of them), Charlie, Miss Crotchet and Ethel's youngest sister Mona in The New Worst Witch.
    • The 2017 remake gives Ethel an older sister, Esmeralda Hallow, commonly known as Esme. It also introduces Miss Gullet and Mildred's mother, Julie Hubble.
  • Cassandra Truth: This happens in A Bad Spell for The Worst Witch. Mildred terrifies Ethel's sister with a made-up story about the frog in the school pond being somebody under an enchantment. Later, Mildred finds out that the frog really is an enchanted human, but nobody will believe her, not even her best friends Maud and Enid.
  • Cat Scare: In The Wishing Star, Mildred (who is afraid of the dark) has the duty of lighting lanterns around the school, and suddenly sees a pair of glowing red eyes through the school gates. It turns out to be a dog she wished for, whom she adopts as a pet.
  • Cat Stereotype: Tabby is the only non-black cat at Cackle's, and the only one not specifically bred as a witch's cat, and it's clear that he's not the ideal familiar for a young witch. It's more apparent in the books than in the '98 show (probably because it's easier writing a cat behaving a certain way than it is directing a real cat to do what the script demands), but he's a klutz who can't stay on a broomstick to save his life, and (pretty par for the course for fictional tabbies) also a dimwitted coward. He is, however (another classic trait for fictional tabbies), very friendly and affectionate, and remains Mildred's faithful companion throughout.
  • Chromosome Casting: The Grand Wizard is the only male character in the TV movie.
  • Christmas Special: The final filmed episode of the 1998 series. It featured a School Pantomime.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • No explanation is given (on-screen) as to where Miss Bat went after season 2 of the '98 series, although apparently CITV explained she went to live in Inner Mongolia.
    • At the end of season 2 of the '17 series, Esme has her magic restored. While she is mentioned in the following seasons, there is no mention as to why she is no longer studying at Cackles or to her whereabouts. It is eventually revealed in the season 4 finale she is at college.
  • Clark Kenting: Agatha in the final episode of season 1 of the '98 series who swaps places with Amelia by switching glasses. Justified as they are identical twins. It also doesn't completely work, as the girls notice the sudden odd squint Miss Cackle has suddenly picked up - and she bumps into things.
  • Closet Shuffle: In The Worst Witch Strikes Again, Enid is determined to have some fun on the last day of the term, while Mildred fears being expelled, and wants nothing more than to keep her head down. Just as the whole school is heading into the Great Hall, Enid suddenly dives into a cupboard, taking Mildred with her, so that they can sneak out later. Unfortunately, Ethel sees them vanishing into the cupboard, and locks them in, as the key happens to be there.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Miss Bat, as inclined by the name is a rather "batty" old woman.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The 1998 series does this with the sashes the girls wear around their waists, based on what year they are in. First years wear blue, second years wear green, third years wear yellow and fourth years wear red.
  • Conforming OOC Moment: In the episode involving a cursed video game, one of the people playing it is the no-nonsense Stern Teacher Miss Hardbroom.
  • Continuity Drift: "Up In The Air" suggests that Charlie is related to Frank through his sister. The Christmas Episode says that Frank's brother Ted is Charlie's father. Though considering Charlie's surname was always Blossom, it would appear that the first appearance was the goof, rather than the later episodes.
  • Continuity Nod: Miss Cackle's love of cheese is a joke in the second episode. In the finale the secret password in her office is Cauliflower Cheese.
  • Contrived Coincidence: 2017 series:
    • There just happened to be an evil witch trying to take over Cackle's Academy on the exact day Mildred ended up there, and tried (and failed) to take her entrance exam, giving her a chance to prove herself worthy of the school.
    • An episode of season 4 has Mildred lose her powers and need to have them recharged by her Grounding Stone. She finds it in the vehicle of the farm she is temporarily staying at, who happens to be a man Julie (her mum) met in Morocco years ago and gave the stone to. This man is later revealed to be Mildred's long-unknown father.
  • Cool Old Lady: The school founder Hermione Cackle in 1998, contrary to what Miss Hardbroom would like the students to believe. Miss Cackle and Miss Bat are examples too.
  • Cool Teacher: Miss Drill, especially in season 3. Miss Cackle is this too, doubling as a Cool Headmistress. Notably in one episode where the girls are fighting, she assigns them a creative project to help take their minds off the heat.
  • Cousin Oliver: 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.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Caspian Bloom, the wizard librarian in The New Worst Witch. He's an absent-minded and ineffectual bumbler more likely to be found asleep over his desk or eating doughnuts than doing anything useful... but on a rare occasion, when he actually has the motivation, he shows that he's actually a pretty damn powerful wizard.
  • Cultural Translation: Mildred is American in the movie even though it was a British production, filmed in Britain with a mostly British cast.
  • Cute Witch: Mildred is an extremely clumsy one.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Miss Hardbroom wears a LOT of black, but is good at heart.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Happened twice in the 1998 television series where the story would focus on Sybil's class whilst the main cast were away. "The Unfairground" is one for Jadu - the only plot where she has a proper role. "Sorcery & Chips" and "Which Witch Is Which?" act as these for Ruby too.
    • In the 2017 series, Maud has one in the first season in the parents night episode. Enid had a few of these in the following seasons as well.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Miss Hardbroom, big time - book, 1998 and 2017.
    • Drucilla's grumpy personality makes her a prime example. Ethel also has her moments, but is generally more of a Smug Snake.
    • Enid is perhaps the most sarcastic and snarky of Mildred's group of friends.
  • Death Glare: Miss Hardbroom is an expert at this, 1998 and 2017.
  • Decomposite Character: In the books it's mentioned that Miss Cackle doesn't believe in "any new-fangled nonsense" and prides herself on tradition. In the '98 series this trait is given to Miss Hardbroom. While Miss Cackle is traditional, she's a lot more open to newer ideas and change.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Miss Hardbroom in the 2017 series after she meets Miss Pentangle again. In the following episodes she smiles considerably more (although she's just as strict).
  • Denied Food as Punishment: 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.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage
    • In the 2017 series, the show's theme tune appears in one episode as a piece of music played (badly) by Ethel and in another one played by Enid.
    • In the 1998 series, that show's theme tune appears from time to time in the show as it is the school's song.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: In the 80s tv movie version, the Grand Wizard's Halloween Song involved him singing in front of odd looking chromakeyed backgrounds.
  • Does Not Like Magic: Downplayed in the book A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch. When Mildred needs to kidnap somebody, the easiest way would be to turn them into a small animal and keep them in a box, but she feels that there have been enough animal enchantments in the school (especially as she herself was recently turned into a frog), so she decides instead to do a nice, straightforward kidnap, where you can see exactly what is happening.
  • Dramatic Irony: 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.
  • Drama Queen: Miss Bat has traces of this; for the most minor insult or hurtful remark, she'll dramatically stride away to go lock herself in the stationery cupboard.
  • Dub Name Change: 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), Drucilla's was "Del Corral" (Of the Paddock), etc. Some characters, like Ethel Hallow or Miss Cackle, kept their names unchanged.
  • Dull Surprise:
    • Jadu is notable for her monotonous and robotic way of speaking.
    • Nothing ever surprises Miss Hardbroom; even the startling news that Mildred has turned Ethel into a pig only causes her to raise one slanting eyebrow.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In the first book, Mildred turns Ethel into a pig and she's still able to talk. Two books later when Mildred is turned into a frog, she can't speak at all. It implies that all bewitched animals can't speak. As noted above, the '98 series corrected this by having Ethel unable to speak when she was turned into a pig.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: Mildred's speech in the Grand Finale shows how much the 2017 series has come a long way, bringing up the show's overall moral, which is "magic is real as long as you believe in it", and Clarice and Fenella's actresses, Kitty Slack and Billie Boullet respectively, cried Tears of Joy as they watch Mildred embrace her friends as the story comes to a close.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!:
    • Invoked by Rowan-Webb during a wizards' duel. Hellibore turns Ethel into a goose girl and he counters by turning himself into a mouse to scare her.
    • Ruby and the other girls have a fit at the sight of a beetle in Ruby's bed. Drucilla is the exception.
    • Drucilla shows she does have her own Achilles Heel when she's confronted with a lizard.
  • Enemy Mine: Mildred and Miss Hardbroom form one when two witches from the Middle Ages duel one another, with the castle caught in the crossfire and at risk of collapsing. Miss Hardbroom pretends to threaten the students involved with bringing the two witches into the present day with being turned into toads for ten years. Mildred steps forward to take the punishment instead, knowing the good witch will step in to protect her.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Drucilla has a number of moments when she disagrees with Ethel over her nasty tricks. These include expressing doubts about cheating in the summer drink project and being downright shocked at the idea of Ethel turning Mildred into a statue for no less than a few weeks, all for the purpose of winning an art competition.
    • Ethel also feels guilty in "A Bolt From the Blue" of the 1998 series for her prank nearly getting Mildred expelled. She helps the girls uncover Agatha Cackle's plan to make up for it.
  • Every Episode Ending: Every episode of the 1998 series has a Freeze-Frame Ending on a close-up of Mildred's reaction to the episode's conclusion (given the preponderance of happy endings, usually a big smile). Aside from two episodes where Mildred was absent.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Adaptations vary on whether Ethel is evil or just arrogant, but in the 2017 series in particular she repeatedly shows an inability to understand why she is hated for her constant vendetta against Mildred. It gets to the point that the season three finale sees her create a threat against Cackle's solely so that she can stop it and be the 'hero', incapable of understanding the difference between her creating a situation and Mildred's genuine efforts to help others.
  • Evil Twin: Miss Cackle's sister Agatha, memorably portrayed in the film by Charlotte Rae in a pink wig and a Texan accent.
  • Evolving Credits:
    • The opening titles to the first episode of the 1998 series does not feature Mildred and her friends. Instead we see 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) is also not played and instead an instrumental BGM is. It is 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.
    • The 2017 series changes its titles with each season to include scenes for whatever season it is. Of note is that the titles change partway through season 3 to replace a scene of Mildred's mum with Indigo Moon. For season 4, old Mildred is shown at the start of the titles (to hide the change in actress) whereas this is replaced with a shot of new Mildred in the next episode. Azura Moon is added after the episode she is first introduced and Indigo is removed. Enid is also removed after she leaves the show.
  • Expository Theme Song: "Growing Up Isn't Easy", sung by—of all people—Bonnie Langford. Yes, that Bonnie Langford.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Maud in The Worst Witch Strikes Again, where she stops being Mildred's friend out of jealousy and starts hanging out with Ethel. Carried over into the '98 series in two episodes.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: In the final episode of the 2017 series, after a final shot of the school celebrating Mildred's promotion, the credits roll for the very last time. When it seems that the show was going to end, we get one last post-credit scene of Ethel and Mildred ending their conflict for good.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • In the 1998 series, played up between Miss Hardbroom toward Miss Drill, who isn't a witch.
    • Mildred is the target of a lot of it in the 2017 series - usually in the form of claiming a student from a non-magical family should never have been admitted to the school, even if she has the talent.
  • Female Feline, Male Mutt:
    • Implied. Witches are said to be Always Female and it's tradition for them to be given cats. The only time a dog is seen in the TV series is when they turn a man into one.
    • A dog is seem more frequently in The New Worst Witch as due to a trick played by mean girl Belladonna Bindweed, Hettie ends up with one instead of a cat. She's quite happy about it, preferring dogs, and names the dog Kitty. Miss Cackle is very amused at the idea of a witch having a dog, and Hettie is allowed to keep the pup instead of being made to get a cat. Kitty is not ever seem accompanying Hettie on her broom, however, so maybe there was a point about that.
    • Ultimately subverted in The Worst Witch and the Wishing Star and the third season of the 2017 series, which sees Mildred acquire a dog that she calls 'Star', who becomes her new broomstick partner.
  • Fish out of Water: The 2017 show has Esmerelda relate this as her experience in the non-magical world. She had no idea how anything works, and it was crushingly boring for her with magic gone.
  • Food Porn: Zigzagged. Usually, the food is as dreadful as school food is expected to be, but Maud appreciates date pudding and custard after she has been put on a strict diet by her mother. In A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch, Mildred meets a magician transformed into a frog, who reminisces sadly about a proper old-fashioned tea, with crumpets, butter and honey.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Much fuss is made over Mildred breaking Ethel's violin by accident. None of the teachers could have magically repaired it? Though arguably this could be a case of magic cannot be used to solve all your problems, a lesson which Mildred often learns in the books and the adaptations. We're also told that things like magical food are not as filling, so it could be a case that a magical repair would not have been as effective as repairing the instrument the traditional way.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Dyllis Mustardseed in The New Worst Witch is a sympathetic version of the trope. She's really a lonely girl who just wants friends but remains the most unpopular student at Cackle's... perhaps because she keeps trying to get into Belladonna Bindweed's good grades and often follows her around like a lovesick puppy.
  • Full-Name Basis: In the 2017 series, Ethel almost always refers to and addresses Mildred as ‘Mildred Hubble’, especially in the later seasons.
  • Genius Ditz:
    • Mildred Hubble. Although clumsy and scatterbrained, she almost invariably has the ideas that save the day. Though there is contention on whether she's more Brilliant, but Lazy. See Alternate Character Interpretation.
    • By contrast, her younger cousin Hettie from The New Worst Witch switches it around and is more of a Ditzy Genius.
  • Girlish Pigtails:
    • 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.
    • Maud is mentioned to have them in A Bad Spell For The Worst Witch.
    • In the 2017 series, in the first episode of the third season, Sybil briefly dons these while trying to imitate Mildred.
    • In The New Worst Witch, Hettie also wears her hair in pigtails, though a different style than Mildred's.
  • Good Feels Good: Miss Hardbroom in the 1998 series seems to be surprised at how she enjoys getting cheered when playing the Fairy Godmother in the pantomime.
  • Good Witch Versus Bad Witch: The 1998 episode "Which Witch is Which?" Ruby, Griselda and Fenella accidently bring the heroic Lucy Fairweather and her nemesis Harriet Hogweed into the present day, and they start duelling throughout the castle. It takes Mildred and Miss Hardbroom pulling off a Secret Test of Character to figure out who is who and thus end the duel.
  • Grand Finale:
    • "The Uninvited" for the 1998 series.
    • "The Witching Hour, Part 2" for the 2017 series.
  • Group Hug: How the Grand Finale of the 2017 ends with Mildred embracing Maud, Izzy, and Azura, ending Mildred's storyline, while Ethel is embraced by Felicity and Sybil as they reconcile with Ethel, ending Ethel's storyline.
  • Granola Girl: Crescentmoon "Cressie" Winterchild from The New Worst Witch (With that name, it's no big surprise).

    Tropes H-R 
  • Halloween Song: "Anything Can Happen on Halloween" from the TV film.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Drucilla toward the end of season 3 of the '98 series agrees with Mildred and Jadu's plans of wanting to challenge Miss Cackle's abolishing of school clubs, which puts her at odds with Ethel. This leads to Drucilla briefly becoming friends with Mildred's gang.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: Miss Hardbroom and Miss Pentangle in the 2017 series (possibly - it's on a children's channel in the UK so nothing is confirmed, but there is some heavy duty subtext).
  • How We Got Here: Episode 1 of Season 3 of the 2017 begins with Ethel and Mildred fighting on broomsticks. Maud says that the term started so well. The rest of the episode shows how they got to this point.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Enid Nightshade in the book series is 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 both TV series, however, Enid was played be a very small (and more visibly spunky) actress.
  • Hypocritical Humour: 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.
  • I Am Spartacus: In the 2017 series, to save Miss Hubble from punishment for supposedly getting Mildred to cast an unauthorized spell (she actually did it herself), most of the girls in her art class claim they were the ones who did this instead.
  • Ice Queen: Miss Hardbroom.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: Amelia and Agatha - distinguished in the film by Agatha's pink hair. In the 1998 TV series Agatha has round glasses with thicker lenses, which is used as a plot point in the season 1 finale — as a tell tale sign that Agatha is impersonating Amelia is that she's squinting a lot more and keeps bumping into things (due to not wearing her proper glasses). In the 2017 series, Agatha is distinguishable by the fact that she doesn't wear glasses. Averted in the book, where the glasses are the same.
  • Important Haircut: After Cass comments that Mildred's pigtails make her look childish, then gets backstabbed by Hobbes, and laughed at by him and Ethel, Mildred cuts off her pigtails. Lampshaded by Cass in the second episode, "do you really think cutting your hair is going to fix everything?"
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: 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.
  • Inept Mage: Mildred Hubble. Though it's worth noting that - while abysmal in the classroom - she does prove quite good at thinking on her feet with using magic in tight situations. Further justified in the TV series where it's established that she had no real knowledge of magic before arriving at Cackle's, so her ineptitude is more based on a lack of experience rather than her just being bad.
  • Invisibility: Invisibility potions are used several times in the books and adaptations, which gradually wear off, causing the drinker to reappear slowly from the head down.
    • Mildred accidentally makes an invisibility potion, instead of the laughter potion they were supposed to make.
    • When Miss Cackle's wicked sister Agatha plans to take over the school, her witches plan to drink an invisibility potion to sneak into the school.
    • When Mildred is turned into a frog and is pursued around the potion lab, she seizes the opportunity to escape by drinking some spilled invisibility potion.
      Miss Hardbroom: (unaware the frog is Mildred) How strange. Not only the noisiest, but also the most knowledgeable frog I am ever privileged to meet.
    • In the final episode of the 97 series, one of the girls uses an invisibility potion to sneak into Miss Cackle's office.
    • In the season 1 finale of 2017 series, Ethel gives Mildred an invisibility potion to allow Mildred to sneak back into Cackle's Academy.
    • In episode 1 of Weirdsister College, Hobbes drinks a potion to sneak into the Beetle's office. He is stopped from being thwarted by the Beetle, who has had previous experience with invisibility potions and knows what to look for, after she's distracted by Mildred.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Played with in the episode "Maud's Big Mistake" in the 2017 series. On parents night, Maud uses forgetting powder on the entire school so everyone will forget all her mistakes and she'll receive rave reports from the teachers. But her deceitful use of magic has unexpected and unfortunate consequences: since almost everyone considers her friendship with Mildred Hubble, aka "the worst witch" to be her biggest mistake, everyone, including Mildred, forgets they were ever friends! And Maud finds that without her to help keep Mildred on her feet, Miss Cackle would have had no faith that Mildred had even prayer of ever turning around her appalling performance (nor Mildred herself for that matter) and would have expelled her that parents night after blowing up the potions lab. Maud, upon realizing how important she is to Mildred's life, decides to set things right.
  • Jerkass: Ethel Hallow (except in rare moments), Gary Grailquest, Barry Dragonsbane, Mistress Hecate Broomhead.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Miss Hardbroom. Although a stern, borderline sadist teacher, she does care for the well-being of her students; she just doesn't get why they can't simply be quiet and do as they're told. This is true in the 1998 series and the 2017 one, where she places the safety of the girls above everything.
    • Enid is an example as well, especially in her first few appearances. She became considerably less jerkish as the show/books went on, though she had a bit of a relapse when she made a guest appearance in Weirdsister College.
    • Drucilla, despite being a nasty bully for most of the series, has a compassionate side and teams up with Mildred and her friends several times during the series.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Subverted. During the 2017 series, after Esmeralda was tricked into giving Agatha her powers, she tries to adjust to the normal, non-magical life, but considering she's been a witch and trained to use her powers for nearly her whole life, she does a terrible job adjusting herself to the normal life. Also she occasionally misses having her powers.
  • Ill-Timed Sneeze: While secretly listening outside the staff room door, Mildred suddenly sneezes and is heard by the teachers. The punishment is subverted, though - when Miss Hardbroom opens the door to investigate, Mildred has her hand raised as though just about to knock, and manages to avoid trouble by Blatant Lies.
  • Just Woke Up That Way: Mildred is suddenly woken by the sound of her bedroom door being slammed; to the discovery that her tabby cat has grown to the size of a mammoth, everything is her room is much bigger than usual, and she has amazing jumping powers. She then sees in the mirror that she has been turned into a frog.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Belladonna Bindweed in The New Worst Witch, especially in the first series, where she plays Teacher's Pet for all it's worth. Especially noticeable 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 lampshades her own Karma Houdini status, smugly stating that she gets away with most things.
    • By the second series, however, the teachers seem to have caught on, especially Miss Hardbroom, and so in this series Belladonna isn't nearly the Karma Houdini she once was.
    • Ethel isn't usually one, but she isn't seen to get into trouble for two of her worst deeds in the third series: causing chaos by magically transforming Mrs. Cosie's cafe, and secretly transforming Mildred into a statue which she intended to pass off as her own work of art at a competition.
  • Laborious Laces: Mildred's bootlaces are frequently trailing along the floor, to show her general clumsiness.
  • Laugh Track: Used exclusively for the Disney Channel version of the 2017 series to match with the channel's current sitcoms.
  • Large Ham:
    • Tim Curry as the Grand Wizard in the movie.
    • The Dragon Lord from the series as well.
    • Miss Drill when she gets witch powers to become Hilary Hemlock.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: In season one, episode 11 of the '98 series, "Let Them Eat Cake":
    Miss Cackle: Now come along, Miss Hardbroom, 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.
  • Letting Her Hair Down:
    • 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 Prim and Proper Bun.
    • The girls also wear their hair down for bed. Miss Hardbroom does too, combined with a leather dressing gown. She also does this once when she's drugged with a potion which reverses her normal personality.
  • Long-Lost Relative: The fourth season of the 2017 series reveals that Izzy, a first-year witch brought in from the ordinary world, is actually Mildred's half-sister, as her father met Julie Hubble on a holiday in Morocco but lost her number after they went home.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Miss Hardbroom encourages Mildred to use this in the pilot of the 2017 series; she makes it clear to all of those in the room that no witch can interfere in the duel between Ada and Agatha Cackle without forfeiting their status as witches, which were affirmed when they were accepted at the Academy, but as Mildred didn't pass her entrance exam, such a rule doesn't apply to her...
    • An episode from season 4 of the 2017 series has Mildred pull out of the running for head girl and turn in the badges she's collected from the competition. She then changes her mind, but is told that reutrned badges cannot be re-issued. However, Miss Cackle notes according to the rules that if a head girl candidate pulls out, a "new candidate" may enter the competition, up until midnight of the same day. Mildred tells the teachers that she is "that new candidate" and rejoins the contest.
  • Love Potion:
    • In the last episode of The New Worst Witch, Mona makes a love potion, freaking Belladonna out when she thinks it's to use on her.
    • The 2017 series has the teachers accidentally drugged by one, with hijinks ensuing as the majority of the staff end up fawning over Rowan-Webb until the students are able to alert Miss Cackle to the spell before she can see him and fall under its influence.
  • Lower Half Reveal: In the book The Worst Witch Strikes Again, Enid pokes her head around Mildred's door, tells Mildred not laugh, then brings the rest of herself into the room, revealing her sports kit: a pair of vast black shorts pulled up underneath her arms, bought by her mother, who buys everything with growing room for her.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Magic is rarely used to make practical tasks easier, such as tidying up, repairing breakages, aiding learning: many menial tasks still have to be done by hand, such as training cats to fly on broomsticks, and lighting lanterns around the school. Use of spells is also governed by the Witches' Code, which is occasionally referenced by Miss Hardbroom, especially concerning turning people into animals, which is generally forbidden, except in self-defence.
  • Magic Fire: In one episode of the 2017 series, some students try to make a magic fire but use too many fireflies and create a normal fire instead.
  • Magic Potion: Miss Hardbroom teaches the students how to brew potions, whose many effects include making witches' magic stronger and turning people into things.
  • Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: Discussed in the 'Witch vs Wizard' debate in "Sweet Talking Guys".
  • Meaningful Name: Everyone's surname has something to do with witchcraft.
    • Miss Drill is an exception; her name relates to being a PE teacher.
    • Miss Bat is rather batty.
    • 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.
    • Crescentmoon Winterchild from The New Worst Witch is a Granola Girl and has the name to match.
  • Meaningful Rename: When Miss Drill is given witch powers from a potion, she renames herself 'Hilary Hemlock'.
  • Meaningful Background Event: At the end of the Grand Finale of the 2017 series, as Mildred embraces Maud, Izzy, and Azura, in the background, Ethel reconciles with Felicity and Sybil with a group hug.
  • Mistaken for Name: Mildred gets a cat (because she's a witch, and in-series, All Witches Have Cats to act as their familiars). Mildred is surprised at having gotten a tabby cat instead of the stereotypical black cat and says, "He's tabby!". Miss Hardbroom thinks that Mildred's naming him Tabby, so she just goes along with it.
  • Mundane Utility: When Mildred is turned into a frog in A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch, she reflects that being able to jump like a frog is the only pleasant aspect of her condition.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • After Mildred proves her talents for art and drawing, Maud becomes jealous and feels overshadowed. She eventually tells Mildred that she feels stupid next to her, in response to which Mildred angrily destroys her own work, saying she wouldn't want Maud to feel like a fool for anything, and storms off to her room. In a likely TearJerker moment, Maud realizes what a jerk she has been, and breaks down in tears for the first and only time in the series.
    • Earlier in the TV series, Maud ignores Mildred after she crashes into the Grand Wizard. In contrast to the books - where Maud doesn't make up with Mildred until after she's saved the school from danger - she is unable to sleep due to feeling guilty, and goes straight to Millie's room to apologize.
    • In the 2017 episode "Maud's Big Mistake", Maud casts a spell to make the academy forget her mistakes on the first parents' night, but this results in everyone forgetting her friendship with Mildred and leaving nobody with any hope that Mildred can improve from her role as 'worst witch'. Maud removes the spell as soon as possible, and her father subsequently casts a spell to make the staff forget her mistake.
  • Named by the Adaptation:
    • In the books, Maud's last name wasn't revealed until The Worst Witch All at Sea where she is called Maud Spellbody. The '98 TV series gave her the last name "Moonshine". Drucilla was also given the last name "Paddock", and that became her name in the books too. The teachers' first names weren't revealed in the books but the '98 TV series says Miss Cackle is Amelia, Miss Hardbroom is Constance, Miss Bat is Davina and Miss Drill is Imogen.
    • In the 2017 TV series a few of the teacher had their first names changed. Miss Ada Cackle, Miss Hecate Hardbroom and Miss Dimity Drill. In the same series, Maud's last name is "Spellbody."
    • Girls Dawn, Gloria and Harriet in the books were only featured extras in the TV series but got last names too. Dawn Raven, Gloria Newt, Harriet Goodcharm. Likewise Sybil's friend Clarice got 'Crow' as a last name.
    • Maud is said to get a pet bat for her birthday in The Worst Witch Strikes Again. The 1998 series names him Barney. Enid's pet is also given two separate names - Coco in monkey form, and Teaser as a cat.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Any evil or bad witches tend to have last names resembling some kind of plant or weed. 'Bindweed', 'Hogweed', 'Wormwood', 'Hemlock'.
  • Never Mess with Granny:
    • Of course she likely wasn't a granny then, but the girls find this out about the school founder Granny Cackle; she was a magical version of Robin Hood that went by the name of "Cackle The Jackal" - and founded the school with money she had stolen from an evil warlock.
    • Miss Cackle is also quite old, but she's able to immobilise three wicked witches without even using an incantation. And when she thinks someone is about to steal a Tome of Eldritch Lore from her office, she's prepared to fight them one on one.
  • Nobody Poops:
  • No Ontological Inertia: In the 2017 series:
    • When Mildred's mother revokes her powers, the nullifying spell she placed on her model of the castle deactivates as well.
    • In the season three finale when the evil Indigo Moon is defeated, the storm she summoned vanishes and Mildred turns back from having part of her face turned to stone. Averted however in that the evil Indigo's damage to the castle remains.
  • The Nth Doctor:
    • In season 2 of the '98 series, Ethel Hallow has a "witch over" which gives her a change of appearance (and accent) to explain the actress changing from Felicity Jones to Katy Allen.
    • In the '17 series, the change in actor for Maud is attributed to a game of magical Hide and Seek that got out of hand.
    • Also in the '17 series, Mildred accidentally mixes an appearance changing potion to explain her change in actress at the beginning of season 4.
  • Object-Shaped Landmass: In All at Sea, there is a rocky formation a short way out to sea, called Cat's Head rock, which is indeed shaped like a cat's head, and is said to be the home to a treasure chest.
  • Oblivious Transformation: In A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch, Mildred is at first startled by her tabby cat suddenly becoming much bigger; then she realises that everything else is much bigger, so she must be smaller. The truth only dawns when she discovers the Mundane Utility of being able to take a massive jump, sees her reflection in a mirror, and discovers that she has been turned into a frog.
  • Obsessive Hobby Episode: In one episode of the Netflix show, several teachers and students become obsessed with a game that turns out to be cursed.
  • Old-Timey Bathing Suit: In The Worst Witch All At Sea, Miss Cackle orders bathing suits for the girls when they have a seaside excursion. In keeping with the old-fashioned nature of the school, these are striped old-timey bathing suits, complete with a school badge. When the girls are disappointed to see these, Miss Hardbroom is appalled by their lack of enthusiasm, and makes them write thank-you cards to Miss Cackle for providing the bathing suits.
  • One-Steve Limit: Belladonna Bindweed is the antagonist in The New Worst Witch. Bindweed was also the last name of one of Agatha Cackle's associates. Justified in that she is made out to be Belladonna's grandmother.
  • Our Clones Are Different: The series features a spell that a witch can use to clone herself. Among the ingredients are kippers and slippers. Done correctly, the clone has the exact same personality as the donor, but if another type of fish is used in place of the kippers, the personality will be different.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: If Miss Cackle is acting incredibly stern to one of the pupils or being unsupportive when the someone needs help, there's a good chance that it's actually Agatha pretending to be her twin sister.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: 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.
  • Page-Turn Surprise: In A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch, the reader gets a surprise on turning the page to see a huge picture of the face of Mildred's tabby cat, filling the whole page, when the cat is normally depicted as very tiny. This is to reflect how Mildred first sees the cat, when she has been turned into a frog.
  • People Puppets: In "Witch Switch", several people control a muggle by means of a spell like this. Because he then repeats every action the person controlling him takes (which means any things accidentally said as well), there is a lot of mishap, which makes the guy seem high or insane.
  • Phantom-Zone Picture: Agatha and Miss Gimlett trap Ada in one of these when they take over the school. After Miss Hardbroom finds out and attempts to rescue her, she gets the same treatment. Eventually the tables are turned, and both end up trapped in the same picture as punishment.
  • Playing Against Type: In-Universe example. Miss Hardbroom plays the Fairy Godmother in the school play of Cinderella.
  • Plot Hole: The Two-Teacher School element creates this sometimes. Notably in "The Great Outdoors", Ruby and other students are on a bird-watching trip for half term. It's implied that Miss Cackle and Miss Bat supervise them - as Miss Drill and Miss Hardbroom chaperone Mildred's trip. But in the next episode "The Heat Is On", Ruby and the other girls are still on their trip - but Miss Cackle and Miss Bat are at the school. So that begs the question of which teacher is supervising these girls. There are also numerous other scenes of one teacher taking Mildred's classes, but the others walking around the school or in the staff room - begging the question of who was taking classes for the other years.
  • Power Trio: Mildred, Maud and Enid. Later, Weirdsister College had Mildred, Cass, and Ethel, and The New Worst Witch had Hettie, Mona and Cressie. The 2017 series adds a second Power Trio with Sybil, Clarice and Beatrice.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The magic lamp Sybil creates. After she wishes for unlimited wishes, it draws energy from everything else in order to sustain all the wishes. Once it's run out of inanimate objects, it starts draining energy from the teachers and students.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • Both the movie and the '98 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 Halfway Plot Switch) was simply adapted into two separate episodes, while the third and fourth became two-parters. Also, Madame Spellbinder, Miss Crotchet and Miss Swoop are unique to the adaptations.
    • In the Halloween portions in the 1998 series, a broomstick formation team would probably require special effects well outside the show's budget and - since the sequence would involve Mildred causing everyone to fall off their brooms - pose too much of a risk for the young actresses. It's changed to a tableau where Mildred is given the only flying role, and Ethel's prank leads to her crashing into the Grand Wizard. This in fact gives more motivation for Mildred to run away, since she was the only one who messed up. Additionally, in the book she turned all Agatha's followers into snails from behind; that might be too anticlimactic, so it's expanded into a whole episode's worth of material, where Agatha and cronies get inside the school before they're stopped. The book also had Maud not make up with Mildred until after she's saved the school, but the series has her immediately go to Millie's room to apologise (and discovering one of Agatha's witches allows her to be involved in the action).
  • Prince Charming: Mildred is able to conjure up one in the series finale. Amusingly he's implied to have to kiss every girl in the school who's been affected by the Wicked Witch's sleeping spell.
  • Previously on…: Happens only on the CBBC broadcast of the show, where viewers get a recap on what they missed from the last episode.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • In the 2017 series, at the start of season 2, it is explained that Drucilla has transferred to Pentangle's Academy.
    • Miss Bat and Mr Rowan-Webb do not return for season 4. It is explained by Miss Cackle they have retired.
    • In season 4, Indigo is returned to the 1980s without any memory of her time at Cackle's.
    • Enid leaves partway through season 4 to train for an international games competition.
  • Race Lift:
    • Mrs. Tapioca in the '98 TV series becomes Italian when she was presumably British in the books.
    • The 2017 series is much more diverse than the 1998 series, with Miss Drill and Enid played by Black actresses.
  • Rapid Hair Growth: In The Worst Witch Saves the Day, Mildred has several accidents with her hair, the first of which results in Ethel clumsily chopping it off, leaving her looking terrible. To try to restore it, she tries a magical hair tonic, which makes her hair grow extremely rapidly, engulfing her bedroom, and the corridor.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Most of the teachers at Cackle's are ultimately this, with the notable exception of Miss Hardbroom.
  • Rhyming Wizardry: Most of the spells rhyme.
    "In pond, lake, or swampy bog, bring this girl back from a frog."
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: 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 pajamas.
  • Rousing Speech: How two of four finales of the 2017 series end:
    • Miss Cackle ends the second season by expressing the school that tonight they'll celebrate that they are "one magical family".
    • How Mildred accepts the position as Head Girl during assembly in the series finale of the 2017 series. Here, Mildred expresses to the rest of the students and staff how grateful she is for the adventures they had together.
  • Rules Lawyer: In Wishing Star, after the judges of an inter-school competition have seen Mildred’s flying display with her new dog Star, all observe that technically witches don’t have to have cats as their broomstick partners-cats were just selected as being the simplest option for such a role-and thus conclude that Mildred flying with Star breaks no rules, which leads to Mildred being allowed to keep Star as her broomstick partner in future lessons.

    Tropes S-Z 
  • Samus Is a Girl: It turns out the often mentioned only once seen dr. foster of "the foster's effect" fame who everyone (except Professor Johnathan Shakeshaft) thinks is a man is in fact an Australian woman.
  • School Play: There's two... nearly in the 1998 version. 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.
  • Scout-Out: When the girls go on a school camping trip, they run into some boys called the Rocky Mountain Rangers.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: In the 2017 episode "The Worst Headmistress", Agatha is able to take control of Cackle's once she learns that she is actually the elder sister, the sisters' mother having lied about the birth order for their whole lives. However, when the Great Wizard learns of this deception, he makes it clear that he will alter the usual laws to allow Ada Cackle to remain headmistress as she is clearly the better choice, Agatha only acting as headmistress to satisfy her own ego.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: In The Worst Witch All at Sea, when Ethel catches Mildred sneaking down to the beach to feed her cat Tabby (whom she is keeping on a boat in secret), Mildred fabricates a story that she is checking out the boat in order to sail out and look for some legendary treasure on a nearby rock in the bay. Ethel attempts to thwart this by unmooring the boat, leading Mildred to set out to rescue Tabby, in the process of which she ends up actually finding the treasure on the rock!
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Mildred in her Cinderella ball gown in the school pantomime in the 1998 version. Completely averted with Charlie in the prince costume - it was meant for Drucilla, after all. The rest of the girls also get to wear ballgowns for that scene.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Ethel is a confident, snobby over-achiever. Her sister Sybil is clumsy, nice and timid.
  • Slipknot Ponytail: In "Alarms & Diversions" Miss Bat's hair gets blown loose in the tornado.
  • Slow Clap: Happens twice in the 2017 series at the end of two finales:
    • How the season 2 finale of the 2017 series ends after Miss Cackle's speech.
    • How the last scene of the series finale of the 2017 series ends following Mildred's speech.
  • Sneeze of Doom: In the 2017 series, Beatrice Bunch's asthma or allergy to cats as it turns out to be causes her to have sneezing fits, and each sneeze teleports her to random places around the castle.
  • Studio Audience: Although the 2017 series wasn't filmed in front of a studio audience throughout its run, an off-screen audience applauding happens twice:
    • The season 2 finale not only ends with the school applauding Miss Cackle and Mildred but an off-screen studio audience joins in the applause. Turns out, the studio audience was friends and family of some of the cast members that attended the show's last day of production for season 2.
    • The Grand Finale ends with the school celebrating their victory and Mildred's promotion as an off-screen studio audience applauds. Turns out, the studio audience was friends and family of some of the cast members that attended the show's last day of production, including Bella Ramsey and Kelsey Calladine-Smith, who both left the show after the third season. In fact, the applause from them lasted for so long, even after the final scene was wrapped, it had to be sweetened so that there's enough time for the closing theme to play the episode out.
  • Signing-Off Catchphrase: The final episode ends with the same announcer from "Enid's Last Race" thanking the viewers for watching the show and bids them farewell.
  • Spell My Name With An S:
    • The character's name is confirmed to be spelled "Drucilla" in the credits and whenever it's written down. However it's misspelled by many fans, likely due to the popularity of another character who spells it with an S.
    • To further complicate this: the 2017 series - in which Jill Murphy was involved in the production - confirms the spelling as "Drusilla", and that is the more common spelling in the UK where the books and shows are set.
  • Spinoff Sendoff: The New Worst Witch opens with an Older and Wiser Mildred dropping her cousin Henrietta off at Cackle's Academy.
  • Spoiler Opening:
    • The Filipino airing of the 2017 series replaces the opening titles with its own version that credits the actors and names the characters they play. However, the titles reveal Miss Hardboom's full name as "Miss Joy Hecate Hardbroom", which spoils the twist in Miss Hardbroom's story in season 3.
    • The third season 4 opening, after Enid left, ends with a brief scene of Mildred celebrating her promotion of Head Girl with the rest of the school before the title logo is shown. This spoils the ending of the Grand Finale where Mildred becomes Head Girl and Ethel and Mildred end their conflict for good and become friends.
  • Stern Teacher: Miss Hardbroom is perhaps a cross between this and a Sadist Teacher.
  • Students Playing Matchmaker: The episode "Love at First Sight", Mr. Rowan-Webb the wizard has a crush on the singing teacher Miss Bat. The girls make a love potion to make her fall in love with the first wizard she sees, but all the teachers end up drinking it, meaning the women teachers fall in love with Rowan-Webb, while he falls in love with himself.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Three staff members at Cackle's get them by the third season of the '98 series.
    • Miss Bat is replaced by Miss Crotchett to teach chanting. She's equally as odd and quirky (though calmer and less of a Drama Queen). They even have similar first names - Davina and Lavinia.
    • Frank Blossom is replaced as caretaker by another balding jovial man from Oop North. Somewhat justified since it's meant to be his brother Ted.
    • Mrs. Tapioca gets replaced as cook by another Italian, Mrs. Semolina.
  • Taken for Granite: Indigo Moon's fate after she gained magic. Also nearly happens to Mildred's mum and to Mildred herself, but as a result of being zapped by the evil Indigo Moon, who also threatened to do the same to Miss Hardbroom.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: In the book A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch, Mildred is turned into a frog. She meets the frog in the school pond, who offers her a nice fly from his store. Mildred says she is hoping to be changed back into her usual self before she gets used to such delicacies.
  • Teacher's Pet: 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.
    • Ethel attempts to be this in the original series, and to a somewhat lesser extent in the '17 series. Sometimes it works, because she's genuinely the best student. However, Miss Hardbroom won't hesitate to punish her too when she's caught causing mischief.
  • Teacher's Unfavorite Student: Downplayed — Mildred, while well-meaning, is highly inept, forgetful and clumsy. Despite occasional Pet the Dog moments, her form-teacher Miss Hardbroom frequently picks on her, and compares her unfavourably to the top pupil Ethel Hallow. When the young students are presented with black cats, Mildred is given a dim-witted tabby instead; and Mildred strongly suspects that Miss Hardbroom has arranged this.
  • This Loser Is You: 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.
  • Those Two Guys: There were at least three separate sets.
    • Fenella and Griselda
    • Baz and Gaz
    • Sybil and Clarice
    • Tim and Azmat in Weirdsister College
  • Those Two Girls: Get used to Bella Ramsey and Jenny Richardson when they aren't on the set. The two are super close, they are like sisters!
  • The Glomp: How Maud, Izzy, and Azura met up with Mildred at the end of the Grand Finale.
  • Tears of Joy:
    • In one episode of the 2017 series, Sybil has these after her friends put a surprise party on for her.
    • Kitty Slack, without breaking character successfully, lets it out at the end of the Grand Finale of the 2017 series as she watches Mildred embracing her friends in her final appearance. Her expression says it all.
  • Tied-Together-Shoelace Trip: * In A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch, Mildred kidnaps another girl Griselda. She tricks Griselda into looking under her bed for a beetle, and stealthily ties her laces together. When Griselda emerges, Mildred quickly ties her arms and gags her. Griselda tries to run for it, but falls on her back because of her tied laces.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Plays a part in the 2017 series 4 episode "A Witch in Time"; Mildred uses up three time-loop spells to try and stop Ethel becoming Head Girl, but after her final loop injures Maud, Mr Daisy points out that the one she used up came from a different timeline and he still has the 'original' loop spells from this timeline.
  • Token Minority:
    • Jadu Wali most blatantly in the 1998 series. She's a token Indian character who is entirely in a supporting role, and usually falls under The Generic Guy. She doesn't get an episode to herself until the second-last one of the series.
    • Azmat Madari in Weirdsister College is the only non-white member of the main cast, mainly functioning as Those Two Guys with Tim Wraithewight. We do at least get to see an apparition of his mother in the pilot episode.
    • Ruby Cherrytree is the other non-white member of Mildred's friend group, but she's able to transcend the tokenism just about; getting an established personality as an avid technofile, allowing her to have more agency in plots, and getting plenty of episodes in which she plays a prominent role.
    • The 2017 series averts the tokenism with more people of color (some not actually main characters either, but just in the background).
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Ethel, kind of, in Weirdsister College. She's still haughty and stuck-up, but has become less actively antagonistic towards Mildred.
    • Deirdre Swoop, in her one appearance in the first TV series, wasn't the nicest of witches — when she returns as a recurring character in Weirdsister College she's grown a lot friendlier, and as Cackle's newest teacher in The New Word Witch she's downright adorable.
  • Toy Transmutation: In one episode Mildred gets shrunk, and another witch tries to grow her back, but that turns her into a rag doll instead.
  • Trademark Favourite Food:
    • Miss Cackle's is cheese. The password to her safe is actually 'cauliflower cheese', to the girls' surprise.
    • Mildred frequently says pizza is her favorite in the second episode, and is delighted that they get to have it on Saturdays.
    • Maud's appears to be chocolate.
  • Tranquil Fury: Miss Hardbroom's response to Mildred accidentally emptying a bucket of water over her head in attempting to put out a non-existent fire. She barely even raises her voice when addressing her mortified pupil.
    Miss Hardbroom: IF you remember the drill, Mildred, pupils are expected to come into the yard from the main door; not, as you seem to imagine, through an upstairs window.
  • Triumphant Reprise: A variation in the season 3 premiere. The first scene has Miss Drill walking in on the girls dancing to a pop song - and they are then immediately reprimanded by Miss Hardbroom. At the end of the episode, when Miss Drill has agreed to be the president of Mildred's new club, the girls start dancing to the same song again. And this time Miss Drill joins in.
  • Troubled, but Cute:
    • 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 behavior 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.
      • This is even more a part of her character in the 2017 series, where she feels that she is in direct competition with her older sister Esmerelda, who is widely acknowledged as Cackle's best student for years, with Ethel developing a vendetta against Mildred because she unintentionally thwarted Ethel's attempt to really impress the staff in her entrance exam.
  • Tsundere: Miss Bat is a Type B. She's normally friendly and quirky - but will flip out if she's offended. This usually happens as a result of Miss Hardbroom's attitude.
  • Twin Switch: A sinister version occurs in the 2017 series' season one finale. Miss Cackle's evil twin, Agatha, locks her sister in a cupboard and proceeds to masquerade as her to launch her revenge against Cackle's Academy.
  • Two-Teacher School: In the two tv series, Cackle's seems to survive on only having four teachers, and Weirdsister's runs with four lecturers as well.
  • Unnecessary Make Over: Mildred Hubble gives herself a radical makeover in the first episode of the spin-off Weirdsister College that involves cutting off her Girlish Pigtails. 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.
  • Weeding Out Imperfections: In A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch, Mildred upsets Sybil, the little sister of her worst enemy Ethel Hallow, by impulsively telling her a made-up tale about the frog in the school pond being a poor first-year who was two seconds late for a lesson, and turned into a frog by a teacher. When Ethel calls her out, Mildred refers to Sybil as "a bit of a weed", and then recklessly retorts to the angry Ethel "Weeds! All you Hallows are weeds, weeds, weeds!" Ethel's revenge is to turn Mildred into a frog, and leave a clump of weeds on her pillow.
  • Weight Loss Salad: At the beginning of A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch, Maud, who was previously described as tubby, mentions that her mother put her on this awful diet of lettuce and celery and stuff like that, and that she is now glad to be back at school, out of her mother's clutches.
  • The Weird Sisters: In the Halloween Episode of the '98 TV series, Mildred runs into a trio of true Wicked Witches.
  • Wham Episode: 2017 series:
    • "The Mists of Time": The episode reveals some of the twin Cackles' early lives, and shows that Agatha was the older twin (by 13 minutes) rather than Ada, and she should have been the headmistress of Cackle's.
    • "Out of Bounds" features a Downer Ending all around with Ethel finding out the truth about Agatha's birthright and telling her about it, Agatha regaining her powers and taking control of the academy, her twin sister Ada getting trapped inside a painting, and Mildred getting expelled and transported home.
    • "All Hallow's Eve/The Big Freeze" is the two-part Season 2 finale revealing that Mildred did indeed come from a magical witching family and that 12 generations before Mildred's time, one of her ancestors had sacrificed 12 generations of magic to reignite a founding stone, making Mildred the first magical Hubble in centuries.
    • "Bad Magic" is a major game-changer for this version of the series. Not only is Miss Hardbroom's real name revealed to be Joy, it's also revealed that Joy used to be a fun-loving girl who didn't follow the Witches Code. She was attracted to the non-magical world and was friendly with a girl named Indigo Moon. She decided to give Indigo witch powers, but Indigo got carried away with it, and turned to stone. Since then, Joy became more stern and serious and started following the code, eventually growing up to become the stern headmistress she is now.
    • "Ethel Hallow to the Rescue", the two-part season 3 finale, along with a Nothing Is the Same Anymore scenario during the ending where Mildred goes against several hundred years of witching tradition, and opens up Cackle's Academy to various non-magical girls that were outcasts.
  • Wicked Witch:
    • Miss Hardbroom speaks against this trope in the Halloween Episode. "There are some genuinely wicked witches in this world - but they do not have long, warty green noses". Indeed when we meet Agatha and her cronies, they look like normal women - apart from looking a little rough from (presumably) living in the forest.
    • A true example appears in the series finale when the girls accidentally conjure up the Wicked Witch from Sleeping Beauty.
  • The Window or the Stairs: Twice in the books, Mildred makes an unusual journey through a window, reinforced by Miss Hardbroom's sneering remarks.
    • After Enid has bewitched Mildred's vaulting pole, Mildred sails in through the window of Miss Hardbroom's private study.
      Miss Hardbroom: Nice of you to drop in, Mildred. However, it was hardly necessary to use such an unorthodox method of getting here. Everyone else seems to find the stairs perfectly adequate.
    • During a fire drill, Mildred sees Miss Hardbroom wreathed in thick smoke, and tries to help by flying down from a window on her broomstick, spilling a bucket of water over Miss Hardbroom as she does so.
      Miss Hardbroom: Pupils are expected through the main door, and not, as some pupils seem to imagine from upstairs windows.
  • Wizarding School: Cackle's Academy. Well, Witching School, obviously, but it's the same principle. Also predates Hogwarts by 23 years. Another (boys') school for wizards had been mentioned since the early seasons, and finally appears in the episode "Better Dead Than Co-Ed" of the '98 series.
  • Writing Lines: This happens to Mildred a lot. One example is "I must try very hard not to be quite so silly", written one hundred times. In a rare moment of Ethel being told off, she is made to write "I must tell the truth at all times".
  • You Are Grounded!: Miss Cackle does this to Mildred in both shows. In the HBO version, it's for wrecking Ethel's violin following an attempt to cheat via magic in the school PE Class (and also will be banned from the school field trip if any more bad behavior occurs during her three week grounding period). In the Netflix version, it's for telling Ethel she was Miss Cackle's niece as a prank.
  • Your Tomcat Is Pregnant: The 2017 series has Maud find out Midnight is really a female after she has a litter.
  • Zany Scheme: One of the most notable ways Hettie from The New Worst Witch differs from her cousin Mildred is that while Mildred was a well-meaning and untalented girl who just kept stumbling into trouble, Hettie is a quite talented but overeager witch who seldom lets an episode pass without trying to pull off some Zany Scheme or other — usually to have them backfire on her.

"You don't need a cauldron and you don't need a spellbook. There is magic inside each and every one of us. Witch or not. You just have to believe in it."

Statler: Believe?! How is that a magic word?
Waldorf: I don't know. How about we believe in the power of stupidity?
Both Do-ho-ho-ho-ho-hoh!