#Crucial21DbW: The Worst Witch – S1E5 – “Pond Life” directed by Sallie Aprahamian


This British-German fantasy children’s series, The Worst Witch, is based on a series of books by Jill Murphy (published 1974-2018). The TV series is about a group of young witches at a school for magic.

Directed by Sallie Aprahamian, this episode’s take on life in a pond is not as simple as one might think. Loosely based on the book “A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch”, Mildred Hubble rides the currents of turbulence at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches, where she finds her way to the pond. And, as usual, makes a new friend along the way.

Through the transformation into frogs and pigs, we explore the challenges of how other people make us feel by embracing animal forms. Animals share with us their skills and talents unique to their form, but also present us with new obstacles and adversaries. Something Mildred discovers when she gets turned into a frog, and is unable to use words to express that she is in fact a frog! And, well, because humans just cannot understand frog tongue, not even witches.

The toing and froing of this tumultuous episode is a representation of busy lives in school, and all the drama that can accompany such an existence. Though I do wonder how they manage to find time for careful consideration and thoughtful spell work with so much going on. Because, as we know, making magic requires a lot of sense-making, imagination and attention, and not just some random off-chance occurrence.

Sallie Aprahamian’s view of a witch’s life, intertwined with animals, turbulence and magic, highlights our need for nature. And the pond is not just where frogs live, it is where we can have new experiences and make new friends. So the next time I walk by a pond, or meet a frog or pig, I’ll take a moment, smell the air, and say “Hello”.

The Worst Witch can be found on BBC and Netflix. Follow Sallie Aprahamian on Linkedin, Twitter, Vimeo and her website.


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