Penelope is a young girl in a small town, but everybody calls her “Lizzie Dripping,” because she’s always making up stories. (I guess “Lizzie Dripping” was British slang for a girl who tells lies.) And then one day, Penelope encounters a witch that only she can see.


That’s the premise of Lizzie Dripping, a TV show that aired on British television from 1973-1975. The show was written by Helen Cresswell, who wrote a ton of British TV for kids and also wrote over 100 novels—including a handful of Lizzie Dripping books. What’s amazing about this show is how much it captures the feeling of being a little kid, making up weird nonsense stories and rambling around—including a certain aimlessness. The pace is slow, and Lizzie’s internal monologue is conveyed through actual voice-overs. But her whole encounter with the witch is just brilliant, and feels actually kind of like a strange fairytale.

A few episodes are on YouTube—the one above is called “Lizzie Dripping Tries a Spell.” At the part I’ve cued up (about 09:40 in), Lizzie meets her witch friend and begins to suspect that she, too, might be a witch. She wants to learn to do a spell—but she has to pay a forfeit for having missed a meeting with the witch the day before. Lizzie’s whole internal monologue afterwards, about what she would do if she became a real life witch, is just the best thing ever.


Charlie Jane Anders is the author of All The Birds in the Sky, which is available now. Here’s what people have been saying about it. Follow her on Twitter, and email her.

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