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Platform 9 3/4 Extension of Warner Bros Studio Tour Opening in March
Posted by Megs

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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
WB Studio Tour London to Unveil 1st New Permanent Feature Devoted to the Dark Arts
Posted by Megs

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 artifacts, in what is the Studio Tour’s first permanent addition since opening. The press release may be viewed below.

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.

The current Malfoy Manor fireplace will be expanded to showcase the full set which became the headquarters of Lord Voldemort’s followers, the Death Eaters, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. Visitors will be 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.

The mannequin of captured Muggle Studies teacher Charity Burbage will be suspended above the set, while a life-like model of Voldemort’s loyal 20-foot snake Nagini will sit on the mahogany table, which will be framed by the costumes of the rat-like Peter Pettigrew and Potions master Severus Snape.

Officially launching on Tuesday 14th October, the new section will also include 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. Visitors will be able to see these weird and wonderful props up close, including the mysterious Hand of Glory, the Vanishing Cabinet and the sarcophagus that hid Harry during a deleted scene from the second film.

A section of Dolores Umbridge’s Ministry of Magic office, including her garish kitten plates, perfectly putrid pink costumes and desk, will be on show as well as Defence Against the Dark Arts professor Remus Lupin’s costumes, magical projector and gramophone.

Sarah Roots, Vice President of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, commented: “The Dark Arts feature will be our first new permanent addition since opening in March 2012 and we’re looking forward to unveiling it just in time for Hallowe’en. It will showcase the darkest parts of the films and include some props and costumes that have never been on public display before.”

To celebrate the launch of the new permanent additions, the Studio Tour will also offer extra Dark Arts activities throughout the October half-term. From Friday 17th October – Monday 3rd November, a section of the Hallowe’en feast from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone will be on display in Hogwarts’ Great Hall.

For these two weeks only, visitors will be able to walk down a darker Diagon Alley as the lights are dimmed, the music becomes more foreboding and the wizarding shopping street set is patrolled by Death Eaters. Those who choose to take part in an interactive wand combat lesson can practise their duelling techniques.

The new permanent Dark Arts section will be launched with a two-week event highlighting the Dark Arts from Friday 17th October – Monday 3rd November and all extra activities are included in the ticket price.

Filed Under: Harry Potter Leavesden Tour
Go Back to School with Filming Workshops at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
Posted by Megs

We have some fun back to school news to share with those of you who live in (or will be traveling to the UK) from the 5th of September to the 14th. Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter have announced Filming Workshops that will be taking place at the studio. For full information read the press release below:

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter invites visitors to go back to school this September with set design and storyboarding workshops, as well as the chance to see authentic sets, props and costumes from the world’s most famous school of witchcraft and wizardry.

From Friday 5th – Sunday 14th September, visitors will get the opportunity to make a simple card model like those used in the early stages of the design process and learn about a variety of sets as well as ingenious camera and post-production techniques. The Studio Tour will reveal filmmaking secrets behind some of the iconic sets from the Harry Potter film series and highlight the process that brought locations such as the Great Hall, Diagon Alley and Hogwarts castle to life on screen.

Visitors will also be able to create storyboards for their own original story idea, after being shown the industry method which helps the Director, Cinematographer and other artists envisage a scene or the film as a whole.

As the nation’s children put on their school uniforms, some Studio Tour staff members will don authentic Hogwarts robes used in the most successful film series of all time. Visitors will get the chance to examine the costumes of Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff students up close and try on replica robes as they fly on a broomstick like a member of the cast. A section of Hogwarts’ majestic Great Hall will also be dressed as it was during O.W.L. examination scenes in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Tickets must be pre-booked and all extra activities are included in the ticket price.

Filed Under: Harry Potter Leavesden Tour
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