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1001 Stories Collection

The Worst Witch

1001 The Worst Witch
Added on 28th August 2020

Author Jill Murphy
First published 1974
Publisher Allison & Busby, London, UK

The adventures (and misadventures) of Mildred Hubble, the most incompetent young witch at Miss Cackle's Academy for witches.


Mildred Hubble is the worst student at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches. Her spells are always going wrong and she keeps crashing her broomstick, much to the delight of her nemesis Ethel Hallow. But when she hears of a plot to bring down the school, it is up to Mildred to save her teachers and friends.

Why we chose it

Mildred Hubble is one of the most popular storybook witches. Ideal for new readers, the stories about the accident prone trainee witch are full of humour and lots of fun.

Where it came from

English author and illustrator, Jill Murphy (1949 - ), began writing The Worst Witch in her school roughbook when she was 15 years old. She based Miss Cackle’s Academy on her own school. The nuns who taught her wore long black robes which gave her the idea of a school for witches. Her friends, enemies and teachers served as inspiration for all the characters, and Murphy saw herself as Mildred Hubble.

Where it went next

The book wasn’t published until she was 24, but it was an instant success. Although Murphy was disappointed with the 1986 film adaptation, the TV series based on the books in 1998 was very successful, inspiring two spin-off shows; Weirdsister College and The New Worst Witch. A new series was co-produced by CBBC, ZDF and Netflix in 2017 and a musical adaptation, Worst Witch Live, was produced in 2018.

Associated stories

The Worst Witch is the first of a series of eight books, including The Worst Witch Strikes Again (1980), the Worst Witch Saves the Day (2005) and First Prize for the Worst Witch (2018). Murphy has also written several picture books, including Five Minute’s Peace (1986) and The Last Noo-Noo (1995).

Added on 28th August 2020

Author Jill Murphy
First published 1974
Publisher Allison & Busby, London, UK