List of The Worst Witch characters

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This is a list of characters in The Worst Witch, a series of children's books written and illustrated by Jill Murphy.

Mildred Hubble[edit]

Mildred Hubble is the titular character of The Worst Witch series. Unlike the other girls at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches, she doesn't come from a regular witch family, but was given a scholarship which greatly impressed Miss Cackle. She is best friends with Maud Moonshine and Enid Nightshade. In The Worst Witch she saves the whole academy from Miss Cackle's jealous and rebel-ish identical twin sister Agatha Cackle, who was seeking to turn all the teachers and pupils into frogs. In the nick of time, Mildred turns Agatha and the rest of her fiendish coven into snails.

In The Worst Witch Strikes Again Miss Cackle trusts her to look after the new girl, Enid Nightshade, much to the chagrin of both Maud and Miss Hardbroom.

In A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch Mildred is turned into a frog by Ethel Hallow where she discovers a frog-magician Algernon Rowan-Webb and manages to have him turned back into a human.

In The Worst Witch All at Sea she sneakily brings Tabby, her bumbling tabby cat along to Grim Cove with her, instead of her new, ordinary black cat Ebony.

In The Worst Witch Saves the Day she once again saves the academy from the ruthless Agatha Cackle (who sneaked into the school disguised as a new teacher Miss Granite, with a high-pitched, squeaky voice, a huge cloud of orange curls, and an extremely bizarre personality) who tried to turn the whole academy into snails.

In The Worst Witch to the Rescue her project is stolen by the ruthless Ethel Hallow who also gets her banned from art lessons with Miss Mould after Ethel turned her clay pot into five rattlesnakes. In the same book, Mildred also pulls off a daring rescue of rescuing her talking pet tortoise from a tall pine tree after Drusilla Paddock hid him there under Ethel's orders.

Despite being clumsy and bumbling, Mildred's intentions are good and she is well-meaning, despite almost getting expelled in The Worst Witch Strikes Again. Although she has trouble training her cat, Tabby- who is grey with black stripes rather than the required black as they 'ran out of black ones' when handing out cats-, Mildred is nevertheless very fond of him, enjoying cuddling up to him in bed, and even risking expulsion to take him with her on holiday after she is forced to give him up in The Worst Witch All at Sea. She also has three bats in her room, which she has named Winky, Blinky and Nod in the series.

Mildred is tall and thin and has long, waist-length, black hair which she wears in two messy pigtails, whereas in The Worst Witch Saves the Day, Mildred has what Miss Hardbroom calls "a bad hair day", after borrowing Maud's styling brush and getting her hair tangled in it. Ethel chops off the styling brush but then cuts off all of Mildred's hair to hide it. In a false attempt at kindness, Ethel gave Mildred a hair-growth potion which, unfortunately, makes Mildred's hair grow so long and so fast that it practically engulfs the whole school. In the TV series, Mildred was portrayed by Georgina Sherrington.

Maud Spellbody[edit]

Maud Spellbody is first introduced as Mildred's best friend. She breaks off her friendship with Mildred in The Worst Witch Strikes Again after growing jealous of Mildred's apparent friendship with the new girl, Enid Nightshade. She later reverts to Mildred after Ethel locks them in a store cupboard and makes friends with Enid. She is short and chubby with glasses and hair worn in bunches (in A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch she wore pigtails and in The Worst Witch Saves the Day she has curly bunches instead of straight ones). She is fiercely loyal to Mildred and Enid and has stood up to Ethel many times, most notably in The Worst Witch All at Sea where she reprimands Ethel about eavesdropping on a conversation between her and Enid about Mildred acting strangely.

There is also some inconsistency regarding Maud's surname. The 1998 TV series gave her surname as "Moonshine", but it is never referred to as this in the books; in fact Miss Hardbroom scathingly addresses her as Maud "Spellbody" in The Worst Witch All at Sea.[1] The 1980s Halloween television movie gave her surname as "Warlock". Later books, including Fun with the Worst Witch (2014) gave her surname as 'Spellbody' however.[2]

In The Worst Witch (TV series) Maud was played by Emma Brown. Her chubbiness is dropped but her small stature, bunches, glasses, and loyalty towards her friends remain intact. She has also sprung to Mildred's defense several times, such as in the episode "Learning the Hard Way" where she comments to Miss Hardbroom that Mildred would never have any confidence if she kept shouting at her. It was the TV that popularised Maud's surname as the most commonly known Moonshine. Maud was played by Danielle Bachelor in the 80's Halloween movie.

Enid Nightshade[edit]

Enid Nightshade is Mildred's second best friend who is introduced in The Worst Witch Strikes Again where she has hair "the colour of milky tea" wearing it in a thick plait and having large limbs. Mildred is assigned to look after her by Miss Cackle. Enid at first appears to be dull and boring but turns out to be a wild practical joker/prankster who is more likely to get the three into trouble than Mildred is. She unintentionally causes trouble for Mildred throughout the novel, even to the point where Miss Cackle threatens to expel Mildred if there is any more bother from her. Nevertheless, Enid is just as loyal as Maud is and provides comfort and support to Mildred in the following books of the series. Enid is the second worst witch in the Academy, as both she and Mildred are hapless at broomstick riding and lack the specific requirements to be fully-fledged, efficient witch. In the TV series, Enid was portrayed by Jessica Fox. In the new BBC reboot, Enid will be portrayed by newcomer Tamara Smart.[3]

Ethel Hallow[edit]

Ethel Hallow is the snobbish, stuck-up, vindictive, and sly rival and enemy of Mildred and her friends. She is favoured by Miss Hardbroom, but appears to have no friends, apart from the rarely seen Drusilla Paddock, who is just as bad as Ethel. Ethel is described as being "one of those lucky people for whom everything goes right" which is what caused her to become so snobby. Ethel is tall and thin (just like Mildred) and has mousy-brown hair which she wears in a ponytail with a black hair ribbon. She also has a very spiky nose (pointed out by Maud in A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch).

Ethel Hallow in the books[edit]

  • In The Worst Witch Ethel is turned into a pig by Mildred Hubble after persistently taunting her about her tabby cat's inability to fly properly on a broomstick. In revenge, Ethel jinxes the spare broom she lends Mildred, ruining Mildred's broomstick performance in front of Grand Wizard Egbert Hellibore.
  • In The Worst Witch Strikes Again she locks Mildred and Enid in an abandoned store cupboard.
  • In A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch she turns Mildred into a frog to get even with her for calling her younger sister Sybil Hallow a "weed".
  • In The Worst Witch All at Sea she casts off a boat containing Tabby and an unconscious Miss Hardbroom from the breakwater, thus nearly causing them to be lost at sea.
  • In The Worst Witch Saves the Day she shears all of Mildred's hair off then gives her a hair regrowth potion that causes Mildred's hair to grow out-of-control, and she also hides Tabby on the roof.
  • Ethel's most villainous role is in The Worst Witch to the Rescue where she gets Mildred banned from art lessons by turning her clay pot into five rattlesnakes, and steals Mildred's project, passing it off as her own, filling Mildred's project folder with sheets of paper with smiley faces scrawled on. She also gets Drusilla to hide Mildred's talking pet tortoise up a tree to prevent him from revealing the truth about the project.

Because of her nasty ways, Ethel is sometimes seen as a bully. Yet her actions are instrumental in setting up the climax of nearly every novel. In The Worst Witch the jinx she puts on the broomstick results in Mildred running away into the woods rather than face Miss Cackle. If Mildred hadn't run away she wouldn't have spotted Agatha Cackle and her coven. In The Worst Witch Strikes Again, if she hadn't locked Mildred and Enid in the store cupboard they would never have flown into the Great Hall to do a performance and improve Maud's speech. In A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch, if Ethel hadn't turned Mildred into a frog, Mildred wouldn't have discovered Algernon Rowan-Webb and he would have remained a frog for the rest of his life. In The Worst Witch All at Sea, if she hadn't set the boat adrift, the legendary treasure chest on Cat's Head Rock wouldn't have been discovered. In The Worst Witch Saves the Day, if Ethel hadn't left Tabby on the roof then Miss Granite wouldn't have picked him up and Mildred wouldn't have found out Miss Granite was actually Agatha Cackle in disguise.

Ethel Hallow in the TV series[edit]

In the 1998 ITV series, Ethel is played by Felicity Jones in the first series and Katie Allen in the second and third series. Jones later reprised her role in Weirdsister College.[4][5][6] The excuse for the change of actress, as explained in the first episode of the second series "Old Hats and New Brooms", was Ethel having a makeover (or a "witch-over" in their case) during the holidays.

In the 2017 CBBC series, Ethel is be portrayed by newcomer Jenny Richardson.[7]

Miss Hardbroom[edit]

Miss Constance Hardbroom is the terrifying and extremely strict form-mistress of Mildred, Maud, Enid, Ethel, and Drusilla. She is tall, thin and bony with waist-length black hair which she keeps "scragged into such a tight knot that her forehead looked quite stretched". Miss Hardbroom favours Ethel Hallow but has the complete opposite attitude to Mildred Hubble. Miss Hardbroom is even terrifying enough to reduce any pupil to a gibbering heap with one word. Despite seeming cruel, Miss Hardbroom's soft side does come through on occasions, such as her "brief flicker of friendliness" at the end of The Worst Witch Saves the Day and her admitting her error of judgement in The Worst Witch to the Rescue.

In the 1986 film Miss Hardbroom is portrayed by Diana Rigg. In the 1998 TV series she is portrayed by Kate Duchêne, and in The New Worst Witch by Caroline O'Neill. In the 2017 CBBC series she is called Miss Hecate Hardbroom and played by Raquel Cassidy.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Murphy, Jill. The Worst Witch All at Sea. 
  2. ^ Murphy, Jill. Fun with the Worst Witch. 
  3. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2016/worst-witch-casting
  4. ^ "Crazy girl - The Irish Times - Fri, Jan 27, 2012". The Irish Times. 2012-01-27. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  5. ^ "Felicity Jones: rising star". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  6. ^ "Shakespeare, Austen and a favourite fairy tale for theatre-goers - Days Out - Norwich Evening News". Eveningnews24.co.uk. 2011-08-04. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  7. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2016/worst-witch-casting