This time yesterday, I had never met Boris Johnson and had never been to the famous Harry Potter set, Diagon Alley but by midday this afternoon, both those dreams had come true! This morning, I got to travel back to Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire (see our first trip here) which is he home of the brand new Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour. We were there to interview the London Mayor on the set of Diagon Alley which was announced today to be part of the tour when it opens its gates to the public on March 31st 2012.
Walking onto the (as yet incomplete) set that is Diagon Alley was truly amazing. I still remember when I was at university in Cheltenham and my friend Lauren McConnell (and now recently married as Lauren Jewhurst YAY!) told me that I MUST watch this ‘phenomenon’ called is Harry Potter. She gave me a crib sheet that she made for me detailing who everyone was an gave me an outline to the story. I was doubtful that this would be anything big at the time and just thought Lauren had gone a bit balmy as she saw it at the cinema some crazy amount of times. She can correct me if I’m wrong but I think it was nine! Thing is, turns out she couldn’t have been more right as these movies have really set a new benchmark in a modern day movie franchise and since that time in 2001 has indeed become the biggest movie franchise of all time. Back then, no one could have predicted just how huge Harry Potter would go and I never dreamt that the time of watching it that one day I (and you in a few months) would get to walk on the amazing sets. One of my stand-out memories of Potter was watching Hagrid take Harry into Diagon Alley through the bricks that moved apart at the touch of a wand.
So, back to today! Boris Johnson was given a tour of the new studio by Warner Bros. UK President, Josh Berger followed by a Q&A with me and a few other people about the studio, what it would bring to London and what we can expect when it opens next year. I caught the whole thing on video and have embedded it below for your viewing pleasure. My favourite bit has to be when he places a wand in Ollivander’s (John Hurt in the movies) shop window followed by a fabulous thumbs up!
I said it previously when I visit the studio back in October to interview some of the cast of the movie but the attention to detail on these sets is something that you honestly cannot appreciate until you actually visit them for yourselves. Tickets are on sale now and you can pre-order then here. If you’re a fan of Harry Potter and are in the UK, you have to go and visit the studio as you’ll have one of the best movie experiences you’ve ever had!
I got a little snap happy on the set so have placed all the images below. I hope you enjoy them and please click them to enlarge. You’ll notice that not all the windows are fully dressed, this is simply because Leavesden is still a construction site hence me wearing a high visibility jacket and hard hat and looking dashing! All this will be complete for the tour when it opens which I am now more keen to see than ever!!