In Series 3 of The Worst Witch, Annette Hannah joined the cast as Mabel Tapioca, the on-screen daughter of Zita Sattar’s character Miss Tapioca, continuing in the show as a regular character until the final series aired last year. During her time in the show, Annette filmed for Zapchat, presented at the CBBC studios for a Halloween special and attended the West End musical of The Worst Witch at the Vaudeville Theatre. Annette filmed as Frances in Series 6 of Game of Thrones and returned for the following series as Trella, and she enjoys meeting fans of both shows when she makes appearances at Comic Cons. Alongside acting, Annette also has a love for art and can often be seen uploading work she’s created to social media. We talk to Annette about playing Mabel Tapioca in The Worst Witch, filming for Game of Thrones and attending Comic Cons as a guest.
How was it joining the cast of The Worst Witch in Series 3 as Mabel Tapioca and what was your first day on set like?
It was honestly quite intimidating, as everyone already knew each other from the previous year, but after getting over the initial fears of a new environment and new people I settled in quite well within the family that was the Worst Witch crew and cast. My first day was completely nerve-racking with it being not only my first introduction into the show but also Mabel’s first introduction as a character. Thankfully, acting alongside such a great cast helped ease (most) of those nerves.
What did you know about the show before being cast and how did you prepare for playing your character?
Honestly, I knew absolutely nothing before the audition, though I made sure to completely binge Series 1 and 2 afterwards to get a good grasp of the world and characters. During that binge I also made sure to observe Zita Sattar (Miss Tapioca) just to see what sort of characteristics would rub off onto her daughter.
What is Mabel like to play and did you have a favourite scene to film?
She is just so fun. Reading and performing lines that would get me in so much trouble at home was always something I found quite amusing, especially paired with her quick wits and outspokenness, which is always a hoot. This also may sound cliché but I loved too many scenes that I can’t pick one – I’m quite bad at picking favourites.
Can you tell us about working with the rest of the cast which included Zita Sattar as your on-screen mother?
I loved working with the cast both on and off set as bouncing off chemistry and lines off one another is always great as we’d often be completely sunken into our characters as the cameras were rolling but as soon as there was a cut or were off set we would be joking with one another and talking about normal teenage things (the subject of what was for lunch that day was often a topic for conversation). Zita was also such a fun person to work alongside and most of those scenes with her would lead me in stitches.
How much fun was it on set of the show and in between takes?
I can’t really say much other than it was the best. The whole team on The Worst Witch is like a family so there’s always someone to talk to and joke with, not to mention the magic spells and creative props that always seemed to bring me back to when I was younger and playing pretend around the house.
Did you get chance to do any additional promotion/events whilst in the cast of The Worst Witch?
Yes! Zapchat was quite similar to filming the normal show as I was just taken from one set after finishing a scene to the kitchens to film the Zapchat video so they were almost the same in my mind. However, doing things like watching the West End show and helping to present some shows in the CBBC studio for a Halloween special were complete treats, especially since I have a complete love for musicals and presenting was something completely new for me.
You filmed as Frances in Series 6 of Game of Thrones, can you tell us about the character and what it was like to work on a HBO series?
She was always quite a quiet character in my mind, someone people would underestimate – and would then sorely regret doing so. With GOT being my first acting role, I was actually quite excited as everything was so new to me and what happened behind the camera had always been a mystery in my eyes. This, mixed with such a well-experienced main cast, made for quite an excited ten-year-old me.
How was it returning to set for Series 7 when you played Trella?
I was over the moon to be coming back to set; I had become quite a fan of the show since my first time filming (I had only watched the age appropriate parts, don’t worry) and was eager to see what I could contribute and the direction that my small scene could lead the show in. Working with such a talented crew again was a blast and meeting some of the cast for the first time off set made the fan inside of me very happy.
Can you say what Comic Cons are like to be part of?
Oftentimes they are so fun. Interacting with fans of GOT and TWW is always such an eye-opening experience: getting to know the faces behind the viewers and talking with them about the show and just life in general. I’m also quite a fan of geeky knick-knacks linking to the shows I like and just love fan art so I’ll also often explore the stalls that artists and traders set up to see what I can find. It’s something I would recommend people to try out once or twice no matter whether you’re an actor or not.
Where does your love of acting come from and can you tell us about your training?
I guess you could say I’ve had it since I knew what stories were, as I would often play games of pretend with my friends and drama games with my grandmother but it didn’t strike me as something I avidly enjoyed until I joined a theatre workshop when I was nine and that’s when things starting clicking into place. After the workshop, I soon joined a Saturday drama club called PQA, where I would learn different filming, acting, singing and dancing techniques that I could not only have fun with but apply to my work. I owe a lot to my friends and the people working there.
What TV shows, films or theatre do you enjoy watching?
Anything animated will usually turn my head. I adore Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s animated films and both The Owl House and BoJack Horseman are complete favourites, not to mention the works of art that are the musicals Amélie and Hadestown.
How did you find the experience being a singer on the G4 UK Tour and would you like to do more events like this?
Working in a choir with G4 was such an enjoyable experience but I’m definitely not as confident with my singing as I was then. For now, I think I’m alright to step back from singing but who knows what the future may bring.
We understand you also do art, can you say more about this?
Creating stories and ideas through a visual medium that I can create with my hands has always been such a passion of mine and intend to keep that up alongside my adoration for acting. Sometimes I’ll post drawings I do online and can often be found doodling on my iPad or with my head in a sketchbook.
How do you like to spend your time away from acting and art?
Quite recently I’ve got back into reading, and have quite a few books still waiting to be read, baking and sewing/embroidery so they’re quite relaxing and sometimes I’ll be able to listen to music or video essays while I’m stitching away.
Follow Annette on: