Hold onto your hats and direct your broomstick to Miss Cackle’s Academy: a remake of The Worst Witch is coming to Netflix next year.
A new series based on Jill Murphy’s beloved, bestselling children’s books is set for release in 2017, Variety reports. The show will follow the original anti-Hermione Granger, Mildred Hubble – a clumsy and chaotic teenage witch – as she anxiously attempts to navigate her way through school.
If, like us, you devoured the Worst Witch books in your youth, you’ll remember that Mildred Hubble was one of the most relatable characters in children’s fiction. Good-hearted but academically inept and calamitously awkward, she spends most of her time attempting to get herself – and her best friends, Maud and Enid – out of various scrapes.
The new 12-episode Netflix series looks set to be a slightly glossier affair than the ITV show of the same name, which ran from 1998-2001. Blessedly, though, the cast will still be made up of British actors. Mildred will be played by 12-year-old Bella Ramsey, best-known for her role as young noblewoman Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones.
The role of the Academy’s kindly headmistress, Miss Cackle, will be filled by six-time Olivier Award nominee Clare Higgins, while Raquel Cassidy – aka Baxter in Downton Abbey – will play Miss Hardbroom, the strict deputy head.
Netflix bosses say the new Worst Witch will be aimed at teenagers – not that that will stop us from tuning in.
Andy Yeatman, director of global kids’ content for Netflix, said in a statement that the Worst Witch project reflects the streaming service’s “mission of creating stories and characters younger members can relate to, and even aspire to be”.
It will, he said, “centre around characters who are learning to deal with and overcome hardship, while also enjoying the journey and all its surprises”.
Jill Murphy started writing the first Worst Witch book when she was 15, basing much of Mildred’s experiences on her own time at convent school in Wimbledon. It was published in 1974, when Murphy was just 24. The most recent book in the series – The Worst Witch and the Wishing Star – came out in 2013.
“I realised you could take a normal school, with chemistry laboratories, bicycle sheds et cetera, and make it a magic school,” Murphy, now aged 67, said in 2014. “I had spent years writing hundreds of stories before that idea struck me like a light bulb and I could see immediately that it was something special and worth ploughing on when three publishers turned it down, one after the other.”
In other words, Murphy was the original J. K. Rowling. Bring on 2017…
Images: iStock, Rex Features