Harry Potter and the film-makers’ magic

Saturday, 3 March 2012 00:19 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Ever since the first Harry Potter novel was released almost 15 years ago, children and adults alike have fantasised about visiting its famous boarding school for wizards and witches.

But, as these incredible pictures show, they need to dream no longer.

Whether you show magic ability or not - fans now have the opportunity to get as close to Hogwarts Castle as they are ever likely to get.

This extraordinary model of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is due to go on display for the first time.

The model was built for the first film - Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone - and has been used for exterior shots in every film since.

When all the time spent by 86 artists and crew members is added up, it took an incredible 74 years to build.

Measuring 50 feet across, it has more than 2,500 fibre optic lights to simulate lantern torches and students passing through hallways.

It even has miniature owls in the Owlery and hinges on the doors.

The castle, which was based on Durham Cathedral and Alnwick Castle, is now due to go on display as part of The Making Of Harry Potter studio tour at Leavesden Studios, London.

Bafta award-winning production designer Stuart Craig designed and built the castle with the rest of his team.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, he said: “Everything to the right of the viaduct is in fact Durham Cathedral.

“But the profile has been changed so that there are tall, pointy spires so there’s plenty of theatrical exaggeration.”

“It’s pretty extravagant, I have to say.”

The castle will be on display as part of the Warner Bros Harry Potter studio tour in London from 31 March.

The tour promises: “For the first time, the doors are going to be opened for everyone at the studio where it first began. You’ll have the chance to go behind-the-scenes and see many things the camera never showed. From breathtakingly detailed sets to stunning costumes, props and animatronics, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London provides a unique showcase of the extraordinary British artistry, technology and talent that went into making the most successful film series of all time.”