In the most recent iteration of the TV show The Worst Witch, two of the teachers are Hecate Hardbroom and the headmistress, Miss Ada Cackle. I couldn't help but notice that their personalities seemed slightly similar to two characters from another famous series about a magical boarding school.

Hecate is tall, dark-haired, has dry and biting sense of humor, bullies the students verbally, and in the very first episode seems to betray the headmistress to side with a villain, only to be simply pretending in order to betray said villain.

Miss Cackle is somewhat elderly, with white hair (albeit seemingly dyed slightly blond), sharp light-colored eyes, and wears pince-nez spectacles. And of course she is a kind and powerful witch. She likes to give long rambling speeches before meals, and her favorite sweet is lemon drops.

On the other hand, the first books in the Worst Witch series came out in the 1970s, long before Harry Potter.

How much of these aspects of their characterization were already established in the books?

  • 1
    For the record, the Hecate Hardbroom on the (more recent) BBC TV show is definitely 100% doing a low-grade Snape impersonation
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 16:01
  • I recently saw “The Worst Witch” on Netflix for the first time. Hecate Hardbroom’s appearance and personality are similar to Professor Snape (the whole dark attire and love of teaching potion) and Professor McGonagall (passion about the school and education, stern and strict).
    – Jeannette
    Commented Aug 26, 2019 at 3:09

1 Answer 1


I haven't watched the series (which I am guessing you are referring to the newer series), but I am assuming from your description "Hecate" is the TV version of Miss Hardbroom (HB) from the books. The way you describe them is similar to the books in a sense, except I have no memory of HB actually being a villain, she just disliked Mildred and the others.

This subject has come up time and time again though, if you consider the initial release of the books they would have aligned very well with JK Rowling's own childhood and I for one definitely believe they had an influence on her writing of Hogwarts. This article from 2010 details a few similarities (as well as other influences, e.g. Lord of the Rings), it also points to this page from Gizmodo which goes into a lot of detail about the similarities.

But to answer your question, the descriptions you give from the TV show are very accurate to the books, except I have no memory of Lemon Drops (although I could be mistaken) and I assume Hecate is equivalent to Miss Hardbroom.

Only difference I see is that Miss Cackle and Miss Hardbroom are best friends in the books.

(also, just a side note, HB has a cat, I imagine that McGonagall was drawn from HB)

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