Nanny McPhee is the main character of the Nanny McPhee movies. It is believed that she has magical powers and is a bit mysterious. She tends to teach children five valuable lessons.
In the first film, Nanny McPhee arrives at the Brown household where Cedric Brown tries to cope with his seven naughty children. At first, the children try to make Nanny McPhee leave but their attempts don't work. The Browns were at first, naughty and wild, so Nanny McPhee used magic to calm them down. At the end of the movie, Cedric marries his maid, Evangeline, after his children wrecked his wedding to Selma Quickly. The Brown children eventually grow to like Nanny McPhee, after asking for her help many times. The movie ends with Nanny McPhee quoting how she works: "When you need me, but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I must go." She is very intelligent, yet firm and disciplined; though the children originally disliked her, they gradually grew onto her. The kids are very wild but they grow to respect and love her.
In the second film, Nanny McPhee arrives at a farm during World War II. Living in the farm are Isabel Green with her three children, Norman, Megsie and Vincent. Mr. Green had been forced to fight in the war and none of his family knows if or when he will return. One day, Isabelle's niece and nephew, Cyril and Celia Gray arrive on the farm so that they would be safe from the bombs in London. None of the children are thrilled with this idea and clash instantly. When Normal and Megsie refuse to sleep with their cousins, saying that they'd rather sleep with a goat and a cow, respectively (and Vincent adding in that he'd rather sleep with an elephant), she makes them share a bed along with the animals requested. Meanwhile, Mr. Green's brother, Phil, tries to make Isabel sign over Mr Green's half of the farm to the Biggles, who are attempting to kill him for debt. One of his attempts is to dig a hole in the farm so that the prized piglets escape. However, in the morning, the cousins work together with the three children to capture the piglets, thwarting Phil's plans, while Nanny McPhee makes it more difficult and interesting by making the pigs able to climb trees, jump far distances, and synchronized swimming. When the family goes on a picnic, Nanny McPhee tells Megsie, Celia, and Vincent about her medals. Later when they find out that Mr. Green is 'dead', she takes Norman and Cyril to London to find out if Mr. Green is really dead. In the meantime, she wills the baby elephant who'd slept with Vincent to help the children steal away the pens so that Isabel would not sign the contract immediately. In the end, Nanny McPhee conjures up a barley storm, harvesting all the barley and dissolving the bomb in the field as well, creating pictures flying in the sky and finally making many neat piles of barley along with a slide made by the bomb metal. She then leaves the farm, having done her job, but gives every one of them one of her medals. On the way, she passes Mr. Green, who turns out to be alive after all.
- All the children that Nanny McPhee helps have surnames that are colours: The Browns, the Greens and the two Grays.
"When you need me, but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go." - explaining the way she works (both films)
"The person you need is Nanny McPhee!" (both films)
"I did knock." (first film, repeatedly)
"I am Nanny McPhee. Small C, big P." (second film)
"I don't care how much you love it, you deplorable creature! It is a nasty habit!" - Scolding Mr Edelweiss for eating putty (second film)
"I hear you've been naughty." (second film, trailer only)
Mr. Edelweiss (Pet Jackdaw)Edit
In the second film, Nanny McPhee is accompanied by a jackdaw whom she has named Mr. Edelweiss. Mr. Edelweiss has fallen out with Nanny McPhee due to his habit for eating inappropriate substances, mostly window putty. Because of this, Mr. Edelweiss has the collywobbles, and is constantly burping. Towards the end of the film, his putty-eating habit comes in handy when he pecks away enough explosive putty to enable Megsie Green to snip a green wire to shut down an enemy bomb. Mr. Edelweiss then blows up like a big balloon. Nanny McPhee bangs her stick and he lets out an almighty burp which flattens the barley. When Nanny McPhee leaves at the end of the film, Mr. Edelweiss hops on her shoulder and the film ends.
- Telekinesis - One of Nanny McPhee's most commonly used powers is the ability to manipulate objects without holding them. She commonly uses this to open doors, repair china and crockery and even to create a whirlwind of barley.
- Facial manipulation - She also has the ability to place two warts, snakelike eyes, a swollen nose, matted hair, a unibrow and an overgrown tooth to her face. For every lesson completed when she visits children, a feature is removed. These features are reapplied some time after all five Lessons are learned, likely while she is en route to the errant children of another family.
- Body control - Nanny McPhee's most famous trait is hypnosis. When she wields her walking stick, it enables her to control the movements of selected life forms. She commonly uses this on the children during the First Lesson. In the first film, she forces them to continue what they are doing, resulting in the near death of the youngest of their siblings. In the second, she makes them attack each other senselessly until they apologise.
- Animal control - She is shown in the second film to be able to control animals. The first indication of this is when she makes a young elephant, a cow and a goat sleep with the children during the second film, and again when she makes a group of piglets perform incredible acrobatic abilities.
- Charm Casting - In the second film, she is shown to be able to make everybody do as she says when they first see her, and makes them salute to her randomly upon passing them by.
- Weather control - She is highly skilled in weather control. She commonly produces thunderstorms and terrifying winds and rainfalls. At one point, she makes it snow at the climax of the first movie.
- Tenacity - In the first film, she forces seven children to be unable to leave their beds as part of Lesson Two.
- Self-control - Her most astonishing power is her unerring self-control. She never raises her voice and is always calm and controlled.
- Immortality - She never ages, in contrast to those around her.