Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Worst Witch Series!
I was a huge fan of The Worst Witch as a girl growing up, wishing my school was as magical as the movie and tv series was. Today, I try to re-create those magical worlds in my art and now at my store.

In case you aren't familiar with this adorable series, here is a bit of info for you:
The Worst Witch is a series of children's novels written and illustrated by Jill Murphy and published by Puffin Books. The first book was published in 1974. They have become some of the most outstandingly successful titles on the Young Puffin paperback list and have sold more than 4 million copies.[1] In 1986, the first book in the series was made into a Halloween telefilm. A TV series based on the books aired from 1998 to 2001, and has inspired two spin-offs, Weirdsister College (2001) and The New Worst Witch (2005).

Mildred Hubble is the 'worst' student at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches. She is well-meaning but does things without thinking. The benevolent headmistress, Miss Cackle, is generally understanding, whereas Mildred's form teacher, the virago Miss Hardbroom thinks she just isn't trying hard enough.

Other characters in the books include Ethel Hallow and Mildred's friends, Maud Moonshine and Enid Nightshade. Maud is a rotund girl and more sensible than Mildred, although usually finds herself caught up in her friend's problems. Enid (introduced in the second book) is a practical joker who is more likely than Mildred to get them all into trouble. The three of them have a strong rivalry with Ethel Hallow, their high-born, snobbish and vindictive classmate.

Murphy (who began writing The Worst Witch at the age of 15) based the Worst Witch books on her own experiences of school at Ursuline Convent in Wimbledon, England with Singing becoming Chanting, Chemistry becoming Potions and so on.

Film version
Main article: The Worst Witch (TV movie)

In 1986, the first book in the series was converted to a made-for-television film on ITV starring Fairuza Balk, Tim Curry and Diana Rigg. Though a British film, it also aired in the USA on HBO. The film followed the plot of the first book of the series, portraying the incidents of Mildred turning herself invisible and turning Ethel into a pig, Miss Cackle's evil twin sister Agatha plotting to take over the school, and the Grand Wizard viewing the Halloween Broomstick formation (sabotaged by Ethel's faulty broom she lent to Mildred). It was shot at St. Michael's College in Tenbury Wells. This holiday special later aired on The Disney Channel every year for Halloween until the late 1990s. Its opening song, titled Growing Up Isn't Easy, was sung by Bonnie Langford; its music was composed by Charles Strouse and its lyrics were written by Don Black. Their other musical number was "Anything Can Happen On Halloween". Denis King composed its incidental music score. He also wrote the song "My Little School".

TV series

The Worst Witch, a TV series based on the books which starred Georgina Sherrington and Felicity Jones as Mildred Hubble and Ethel Hallow respectively, was broadcast from 1998 to 2001. It was shot in Montreal.

When it was no longer realistic that Mildred would still be at school, the series relocated her to a magical university in Cambridge and was retitled Weirdsister College: The Further Adventures of the Worst Witch, and saw the return of Felicity Jones as a reinvented Ethel Hallow.

In 2004, a new series based on the 1998 series was made, entitled The New Worst Witch. It centred on the adventures of Mildred's equally bungling cousin, Henrietta "Hettie" Hubble, played by Alice Connor, also set at Cackle's Academy.

For more info on the Worst Witch visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Worst_Witch


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