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Video: Watch the Hogwarts Express’ Journey to WB Studio Tour London
Posted by Megs

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London has released a video showing the journey the Hogwarts Express is taking to get to the studio

After just under 1 million miles in service followed by an iconic appearance in the Harry Potter film series, the Hogwarts Express is steaming into Warner Bros. Studio Tour London this March! Watch the journey so far here.

To celebrate the arrival of the #?HogwartsExpress we have a competition for you to enter! Click below to be in with a chance of winning four tickets to our VIP launch event. http://bit.ly/WBcompetition

Step on to authentic sets, discover the magic behind spellbinding special effects and explore the behind-the-scenes secrets of the Harry Potter film series. Tread the original stone floor of the iconic Hogwarts Great Hall, encounter animatronic creatures and wander down Diagon Alley. Located at the Studios where all 8 films were produced, the Studio Tour showcases the incredible British talent, imagination and artistry that went into making the impossible a reality on screen. Visitors will relive the magic through the eyes of the filmmakers who brought the Harry Potter film series to life.

For more information on the Studio Tour and to book tickets, please visit www.wbstudiotour.co.uk

Filed Under: Harry Potter Leavesden Tour
Win Tickets to Harry Potter Studio Tour’s VIP Launch Event for the Hogwarts Express
Posted by Megs

Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter have just launched a contest where you can win four tickets to the VIP launch event to celebrate the arrival of the Hogwarts Express. As we posted back in January, in March the studio tour will be expanding to include a recreation of Platform 9 3/4 AND the original Hogwarts Express stream engine!  To enter to win, visit the sweepstakes page! Unfortunately the contest is only open to UK residents.

We’re inviting visitors to go behind the station wall this spring and see the majestic Olton Hall steam train from the Harry Potter film series.

The original Hogwarts Express locomotive will be housed in a recreation of Platform 9 3/4; created by many of the original crew including Production Designer Stuart Craig.

To celebrate, we’re offering you the opportunity to win four tickets to the VIP Launch event on Tuesday 17th March, plus three runners-up will receive four gift tickets to visit the Studio Tour!

Filed Under: Harry Potter Leavesden Tour
Platform 9 3/4 Extension of Warner Bros Studio Tour Opening in March
Posted by Megs

Click to view full size image
It has been revealed this morning that this coming March Warner Bros. Studio Tour London will be expanding! This extension is set to include a recreation of Platform 9 3/4 AND the original Hogwarts Express stream engine! Some concept art for the addition may be seen in the gallery.

This March, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter will unveil a 20,000ft2 expansion, including the original Hogwarts Express steam engine and a recreation of Platform 9 ¾. The new, permanent section will offer a glimpse into how some of the films’ most iconic scenes were created as well as give visitors the chance to climb aboard the train’s carriage and to pose with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the platform wall.

Throughout the Harry Potter film series, British steam train no. 5972, ‘Olton Hall’, was used as the Hogwarts Express. Scenes featuring the working engine – including the very last scene to be shot, in which a grown-up Harry, Ron and Hermione wave their own children off as they head to school – were filmed on a soundstage at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden and on a track running the full length of the Studios’ 100-acre backlot. The 78-year-old red engine will return to the series’ production home this spring and will be displayed on a realistic set of tracks, with steam billowing as visitors step onto the platform.

Officially opening on Thursday 19th March, the new, must-see section has been redesigned and will be built by many of the crew members who worked on the most successful film series of all time. Every inch of the platform’s glass roof, yellow brick walls and luggage racks, designed by Oscar® and BAFTA winning Production Designer Stuart Craig, will be painstakingly reassembled by a team led by Construction Manager Paul Hayes and dressed by Set Decorator Rosie Goodwin. Oscar® and BAFTA winning Special Effects Supervisor John Richardson will rig the locomotive with special effects steam.

Visitors will be able to walk along the train’s adjoining carriage and sit in the interior carriage set that was used during filming (complete with ‘windows’ that demonstrate the process used to create iconic train scenes from the films such as the escape of Harry’s first Chocolate Frog and the Dementor attack). A selection of prop luggage will be on show and visitors can find out which character owned which items by turning an interactive dial (characters include Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Luna Lovegood and more). A train-themed souvenir shop will also be open on the platform, stocking a wide range of goodies inspired by the Harry Potter films and, specifically, the Hogwarts Express.

Sarah Roots, Vice President of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, commented: “We can’t wait to open our first expansion, Platform 9 ¾, just before the Studio Tour’s third anniversary in March. The Hogwarts Express had a starring role in the films so we’re excited that it will be taking centre stage in the new area. It’s the piece that visitors have most requested to see and we’re expecting a fantastic response.”

Stuart Craig, Production Designer on all eight Harry Potter films, added: “The Hogwarts Express was the setting for many iconic scenes, from Harry, Hermione and Ron’s first meeting in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to the moment the trio’s children embark on their first journey to school 26 years later. The wizarding world doesn’t have a need for modern technology so we knew a traditional steam engine would make the perfect school train. Before we began filming in 2000, we scoured the country and found ‘Olton Hall’ at a preservation centre in Lancashire; realising pretty quickly that it was exactly what we had been looking for.”

The new Platform 9 ¾ section, featuring the original Hogwarts Express, will open on Thursday 19th March and entrance will be included in the standard ticket price.

Filed Under: Harry Potter Leavesden Tour
Animal Actors Return to Studio Tour by Popular Demand
Posted by Megs

Due to popular demand, this February half-term, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter will give visitors the chance to meet the animal actors who starred in the most successful film series of all time!

This half-term, visitors to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter will get the chance to meet the animal actors who starred in the most successful film series of all time. From Friday 13th to Wednesday 25th February, a selection of animals will team up with their trainers to showcase their acting skills and take part in live training demonstrations.

A menagerie of owls, cats and a toad will return to the incredible sets they ‘acted’ on during production; led by Head Animal Trainer Julie Tottman, who helped create the performances of more than 250 live creatures throughout all eight Harry Potter films.

Visitors to the Gryffindor common room set will find it occupied by a Red Persian cat that played Hermione Granger’s bandy-legged feline Crookshanks. He will be joined by a Maine Coon cat that portrayed Filch’s partner-in-crime Mrs Norris and the 14-year-old toad that played Neville Longbottom’s pet Trevor.

Outside Privet Drive, visitors will be able to pose for a picture with a Snowy Owl that played Harry Potter’s loyal companion and post-delivering bird Hedwig. Animal Trainers will hold flight demonstrations throughout the day on the Studio Tour’s backlot, showcasing the techniques they used during filming.

A parliament of performing owls will be stationed on the wizarding shopping street set, Diagon Alley, including the Great Grey Owl that played the Weasley family bird Errol and the tiny Little Owl that portrayed Ron’s companion Pigwidgeon.

Feathered and furry facts:

  • Although owls are generally considered to be wise, they are, in fact, notoriously difficult to train and can take up to three months to learn what a raven can master in a week.
  • The scene which required the largest number of birds to ‘act’ was the owlery scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Trainers took on the difficult task of teaching almost 80 owls to hoot, fly and sit still at the same time
  • Initial groundwork for animal training takes about three to five weeks; when a script first arrived, the Animal Department would begin fundamental training, develop questions and ideas about how the scenes would be shot and then work with the director to finalise training plans.
  • Crackerjack, one of the cats that played Crookshanks, became very good friends with one of the rats that played Scabbers. In fact, he would often chase the rat around the sets even when the cameras weren’t rolling.
  • Animals appeared in the Harry Potter film series in some unexpected places. Themed breakfast cereals, including Lunfrey’s Cheeri Owls and Honeydukes’ Pixie Puffs, were created especially for the films by Graphic Designers Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima.

The Studio Tour’s Animal Actors feature will run from Friday 13th to Wednesday 25th February and all additional activities are included in the standard ticket price.

Filed Under: Harry Potter Leavesden Tour
Hogwarts in the Snow Returns to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
Posted by Megs

Hogwarts in the Snow

Due to popular demand, from Friday 14th November to Sunday 1st February, visitors will get the chance to see the Hogwarts castle model covered in a blanket of snow.  There will also be new additions to the holiday/Christmas decor. For full details, read the press release below and see some photos from last year in the gallery. Tickets must be pre-booked at www.wbstudiotour.co.uk and all extra activities are included in the ticket price.

The most magical snowfall of the season will return to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter this year as the breathtaking Hogwarts castle model is covered in a blanket of snow. Visitors will get the chance to see the castle’s festive makeover – as well as the iconic Great Hall decorated for Christmas – from Friday 14th November to Sunday 1st February.

For the first time at the Studio Tour, the film series’ Special Effects Department will use coloured lights and a special vapour that flickers and dances to create ‘fire’ in the Great Hall and Gryffindor common room fireplaces. Meanwhile, real flames will lick the plum puddings on display in the Great Hall.

Most of the snow used on the Hogwarts castle model throughout the Harry Potter film series was a mixture of paper and dendritic salt. It was used because it clumps like snow and even squeaks when walked on. During filming, a member of the crew climbed aboard an elevated work platform and sprinkled the mixture onto the model by hand with a sieve – like dusting sugar onto a cake. The same process will be used at the Studio Tour this November and samples of the different types of snow used in the film series will be on display.

The Great Hall will be decorated with the original props seen during the Christmas feast in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Eight Christmas trees will line the iconic set and two long dining tables will be dressed as they were for seasonal feasts with prop versions of turkeys, hams, fruit, vegetables and snow cakes (while the food featured in the feasts throughout the early films was real, the Set Decoration Department later used artificial food created from powder and resin).

Visitors will see the hand-knitted jumpers that Molly Weasley gave Ron and Harry for Christmas in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Other costumes on display will include one of the first Christmas presents Harry ever received at Hogwarts, his Invisibility Cloak, and the dress Luna Lovegood wore to the Slug Club Christmas party in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Filed Under: Harry Potter Leavesden Tour
Dark Arts at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, Open Now
Posted by Megs

Amanda Holden with a Deatheater on Diagon Alley at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, Dark Arts area open now
Amanda Holden with some Deatheaters in The Great Hall at
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, Dark Arts area open now

Last night, celebrities including Mary Berry, Amanda Holden, Simon Pegg, Jonathan Ross, Kirstie Allsopp, Conor Maynard, Jake Wood, Charlie Brooks and Gaby Roslin celebrated the launch of a new section devoted to the Dark Arts, encompassing Horcruxes and other sinister wizarding artifacts, in what is Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter’s first permanent addition since opening. As we posted last month, the addition features a larger, full-size, version of the Malfoy Manor set as well as many other exciting props!  A two-week event highlighting the Dark Arts will start this Friday 17th October – Monday 3rd November. A press release can be found below:


On the night celebrities were invited to a reception at the Studio Tour, where they walked the green carpet, before being greeted with a glass of celebratory bubbles. Following the spooky reception guests were invited into the Studio Tour for the official reveal of the new Dark Arts sets.

After walking through the Great Hall where the pumpkin-filled Hallowe’en feast was on display, celebrities including Amanda Holden, Charlie Brooks and Conor Maynard were treated to Dark Arts themed drinks, including a special bubbling cauldron cocktail, more bubbles and Butterbeer. Canapés and snacks served on tombstone slates were also on offer for celebrities to enjoy.

The new area includes the full Malfoy Manor set which became the headquarters of Lord Voldemort’s followers, the Death Eaters, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. Celebrities including Jonathan Ross and Simon Pegg were able to peer into the drawing room that features ornate chandeliers, an imposing fireplace and the long, grand table around which Bellatrix Lestrange, the Malfoy family, the Death Eaters and Voldemort sat. Jonathan Ross, Amanda Holden, Conor Maynard, Gaby Roslin even took a seat at the iconic table

Celebrities also marvelled at the mannequin of captured Muggle Studies teacher Charity Burbage who is suspended above the set. In addition, the life-like model of Voldemort’s loyal 20-foot snake Nagini who sits on the mahogany table, was joined by a special guest as the real snake, who was studied by the Visual Effects Department as a basis for some of Voldemort’s snake Nagini’s, was on hand for the night to meet and greet the guests. Celebrities including Amanda Holden, Jonathan Ross, Kirstie Allsopp and Jake Wood even stepped up to the mark on the night and got up close and personal with the snake on the Borgin and Burkes set.

On the night there were also special appearances by the Death Eaters who were roaming around the Studio Tour and challenging celebrities to wand duels. Guests also had the chance to enjoy a variety of never-before-seen artefacts and props from Borgin and Burkes, the Knockturn Alley shop Harry accidentally stumbles into in Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets. In addition, a section of Dolores Umbridge’s Ministry of Magic office, including her garish kitten plates, perfectly putrid pink costumes and desk, were on show for guests. Mary Berry was even seen inspecting the china in Umbridge’s office.

This October, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter will unveil a new section devoted to the Dark Arts, encompassing Horcruxes and other sinister wizarding artefacts, in what is the Studio Tour’s first permanent addition since opening.

Filed Under: Harry Potter Leavesden Tour
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