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Headmistress Higgins for CBBC’s new Worst Witch

HELL BENT (By Steven Moffat)Doctor Who star Claire Higgins will play headteacher Miss Cackle in CBBC’s new production of Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch.

In the contemporary update, young Mildred Hubble 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.

The new series has just started filming for a 2017 transmission. Raquel Cassidy (Downton Abbey; Jonathan Creek; Teachers) will be the fearsome Deputy Head, Miss Hardbroom; Butterflies’ 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.

Newcomer Bella Ramsey will be Mildred Hubble with Meibh Campbell and Tamara Smart as her friends Maud Spellbody and Enid Nightshade; and Jenny Richardson as Maud’s arch enemy, Ethel Hallow.

Jill Murphy says: “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!’”

CBBC Productions Executive Producer, Marcus Wilson, says: “We’re honoured that Jill has entrusted us to bring her novels to a new generation of excited viewers. This is an incredibly ambitious production for CBBC and we’ve assembled a fantastic cast and crew who can’t wait to take the audience into the amazing world of The Worst Witch. Time to grab your broomsticks and brace yourselves for the start of the new term at the most magical school in the world!”

The production is being made with ZDF whose Head of Children’s and Youth Department, Barbara Biermann, noted:  “Following on from the success of the Wolfblood franchise, we were keen to find a new and fresh programme to partner up again with CBBC. Since The Worst Witch is also a popular property in Germany, we were sure audiences would appreciate a modern approach to this classical title. We are very happy that we are also shooting some elements in Germany – the witch academy’s exteriors will look like the famous Burg Hohenzollern.”

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