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The Worst Witch - TV series

Discussion in 'Film & Television' started by Sheilawisz, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    I have felt attracted to the story and characters of The Worst Witch since a long time ago, after having watched occasionally a few episodes of the TV series that is based on the books.

    Today I had the chance to watch the first episode (The Battle of the Broomsticks) and kind of fell in love with it, so I plan to watch the entire series because it really gives me a great feeling. I would also like to get the original books somewhere, but I prefer to get in touch with the TV version first.

    Have you watched The Worst Witch? What do you think of it??

    I know that they also made a WW movie and two spin-off series (Weirdsister College and The New Worst Witch) but this thread is about the original series from 1998.

    You can watch the first episode here: The Battle of the Broomsticks.
     
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    I have no knowledge of the books [but I have just watched the first episode].
    I do, however, have a friend that had suitable aged children to whom she read both WW and HP.
    She maintains that the stories and writing of WW is far superior to HP and JKR was lucky not to get sued :p
    The TV show is a little strange but there again UK children's programmes often were back in the day...
    [At the risk of revealing too much about my own psyche...] A dominatrix Schoolteacher... a lesbian gym teacher [why was she pumping iron, in to staff room?] and Una Stubbs - what is there not to love!
    On a slightly more serious point it was good to see a female led and drive story for once.
     
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  3. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Hello, CupofJoe.

    I am sure that Jill Murphy's The Worst Witch is actually the roots of Harry Potter, even though J.K. Rowling has never admitted that. There are simply too many similarities between both worlds for it to be a coincidence, and if Murphy never sued I guess that it's because she did not want to suffer all the hassle.

    Just consider these unusual coincidences:

    1- Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches is a lonely castle, surrounded by forest.
    2- The castle is invisible to non-magical people.
    3- There is a village nearby the castle.

    4- The forest is forbidden to the students.
    5- Mildred Hubble comes from a non-magical background.
    6- Mildred has two best friends, Maud and Enid.

    7- Mildred has a cat.
    8- Miss Hardbroom (scary potions teacher) hates Mildred.
    9- Elitist fellow student from an elitist family of Witches hates Mildred.

    10- Benevolent, warm-hearted Headmistress loves and helps Mildred.
    11- The first year students take special lessons to learn to fly with broomsticks.
    12- Miss Cackle's Academy was founded by a witch called Hermione Cackle.

    All of these sound familiar, right? There are other similarities, these are just a few!!

    Now, if Harry Potter had come first then everyone would scream that The Worst Witch is a Harry Potter rip-off, but in fact the first Mildred Hubble book was written back in 1974... J.K. Rowling is a wonderful writer and a superb storyteller and there are also many differences between WW and HP, but I think that all HP fans (myself included) should accept that WW is actually the roots.

    I'll keep watching the series and comment more some other day =)
     
  4. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    After watching the first seven episodes of the first season, I can say that I really love The Worst Witch.

    The series is very amusing, clever, innocent and sweet. Mildred Hubble is my favorite character followed by Maud, Miss Bat and Miss Hardbroom, but also Ethel and all the others are very good. The magic is lighter and funnier than it is in other Fantasy stories, and now the academy's beautiful song is stuck in my head...

    I do not like Enid Nightshade at all so far, but I am starting to know her, anyway.

    While watching The Worst Witch, I get a very strong feeling that I am experiencing a sweeter, female version of Harry Potter. The atmosphere of the series, the magic style and the characters are all so freaking similar that I wonder how come the world has not paid more attention to the adventures of Mildred Hubble, giving her credit for what she actually is.

    The only problem so far is that I can understand only parts of what the characters are saying, but that is good because watching The Worst Witch will help me to improve my English language skills =)
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
  5. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    There are some very fine cut glass accents in The Worst Witch but they are not exaggerated. Most of the people I work or went to school with would call the accents normal or just say what accent...
    From what I can see, what made the difference between HP and WW was that The Worst Witch books were aimed at the pre-teen market and never made the breakthrough in to adult sales that HP did.

    Have you seen this?
    80's Halloween Special: The Worst Witch FULL MOVIE - YouTube
    It pre-dates the series by more than a decade... and an early role for Fairuza Balk [who was also in The Craft]
     
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  6. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Thanks for that link, CupofJoe.

    I started watching it a few days ago, but then I realized that it was very different to the TV series and I decided to watch the movie after I have seen all the episodes. Fairuza Balk looks so sweet and nice... I cannot believe that she later became the creepy witch Nancy from The Craft.

    So far, I keep enjoying the series like crazy... it's just so good =)

    About the accents: I love Mildred's and also Drusilla's accents. I think that they sound better and more elegant than the others, but all the characters speak very nicely anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  7. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    Hi Sheilawisz,
    I also started watching this series, recently.
    I think that Jk Rowling may also have copied Diana Wynne Jones' books eg there's a character similar to Mad Eyed Moody who has a roving eye. However, everything is derivative, and how would you prove it? There was also a book called Larry Potter, wasn't there?
    I didn't know someone was called Hermione in the First Witch books. That does seem like a bit of a coincidence!

     
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  8. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Hello, Ruby.

    I think that we all, as storytellers and Fantasy writers, draw inspiration and ideas from a variety of sources. That's alright, virtually everything is derivative... I am not saying that J.K. Rowling copied or ripped-off The Worst Witch, because they are very different stories after all.

    Harry Potter is a far darker story that is (in my opinion) all about death, while The Worst Witch is a happier, lighter story about the funny adventures of a young Witch.

    My argument is that there are simply too many similarities between both worlds/formula for it to be a coincidence, and Rowling should at least accept that she got some inspiration from the WW books. I am sure that Mildred Hubble is the ancestor of Harry Potter, that is a fact that should be recognized.

    Any story published today about a magical boarding school would be torn apart by critics immediately as a Harry Potter rip-off, when reality is that Mildred came first...

    I still love HP anyway, that has not changed =)
     
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  9. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    Hi Sheilawisz,

    Yes, I agree with you, the Harry Potter books are brilliant. They are unusual in being published with two versions of their covers, one designed for children, the other for adults. This was because adults might be embarrassed to be seen reading a children's book in a public place!

    This also raises the question about marketing: does it matter if your book is specifically aimed at Middle Grade or Young Adult, as readers read books outside their target audience?




     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
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