The books were previously adapted back in the late 1990s for ITV, with a young Felicity Jones, who went on to be nominated for an Oscar for The Theory of Everything, starring as Ethel Hallow, and then again with a new group of young witches in The New Worst Witch in 2005.
Newcomer Bella Ramsey, a member of the Nottingham-based Television Workshop, stars as Mildred Hubble. Bella will also shortly be making her screen debut as Lyanna Mormont in Season 6 of Game of Thrones.
Mildred Hubble is our heroine. From a world outside of magic, she finds herself landing head first, literally, at Miss Cackle’s Academy for witches. The series follows her adventures and friendships as she strives not to be The Worst Witch! Full of flying, magic and plenty of laughs, the show brings Jill Murphy’s books to life for a contemporary audience.
Meibh Campbell and Tamara Smart (pictured right) (represented by Top Talent Agency) play Mildred's friends Maud Spellbody and Enid Nightshade; and Jenny Richardson (represented by Shack Attack) lands the role of Maud’s arch enemy, Ethel Hallow.
The youngsters star alongside Clare Higgins who will play headteacher Miss Cackle; Raquel Cassidy is cast in the role of Mildred’s fearsome Deputy Head, Miss Hardbroom; Wendy Craig plays the fabulously ancient chanting teacher, Miss Bat; Nicola Stephenson will play Ms Hubble; and in the role of health-and-safety-conscious teacher, Miss Gullet, is Kacey Ainsworth.
Author Jill Murphy said of the new series: “Published 42 years ago, The Worst Witch has been the cornerstone of my career. I illustrate my own books, so I am very protective about them in every way, and I'm delighted to say that this wonderful new production ticks all the boxes. There have been a few changes, to nudge the Academy into the 21st century, but die-hard fans needn't worry, Miss Hardbroom is always on hand making sure that 'Standards will NOT be slipping!' Now, when my readers ask if they can visit the school, I can tell them ‘watch the new series of The Worst Witch on CBBC and you'll feel as if you've just flown in through the window!'”
Emma Reeves is lead writer on the adaptation which is a co-production between CBBC Productions and German company ZDF, the second major collaboration after the success of the Wolfblood series.
Filming will take place on location in Cheshire throughout the summer, with additional filming in Germany, and will be shown on CBBC early 2017.