Tuesday 27th September

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Nick Moran: “I look back with fondness at the fact I was sort of ‘prince of my era’. I rang the nuts out of it and couldn’t have had more fun.”

Nick Moran was once one of the leading lights of the British film industry.  After nailing the lead role in Guy Ritchie’s cult classic Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in 1997, he had the world – and its myriad pleasures – at his feet.  In the following years, his work was a mixed bag, with solid turns in the likes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows being offset by sloppier movements in Soccer Dog: European Cup.

But Moran’s now making impressive strides as a film director and returns to the big screen today in Caradog James’ new horror-thriller Don’t Knock Twice.  Ahead of the film’s release, Moran spoke to Ian Cater about filmmaking, the ‘un-bankable’ Casey Affleck and partying with Hugh Hefner.

Don’t Knock Twice, released today, is a promising supernatural thriller from the team behind acclaimed sci-fi drama The Machine.  It tells the story of a mother (Katee Sackhoff) trying to rebuild a relationship with her estranged daughter (Lucy Boynton), who awoke the spirit of a demonic witch.  Amidst familial tension and terrifying goings on, Nick Moran makes a welcome appearance as Detective Boardman, investigating the daughter’s disappearance.  But if Moran is forced to play second fiddle in the film, his ardour for its final form comes through loud and clear.

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Category: Cinema
L-R Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger), Jamie Parker (Harry Potter) and Paul Thornley (Ron 
Weasley). Photo by Manuel Harlan
L-R Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger), Jamie Parker (Harry Potter) and Paul Thornley (Ron Weasley). Photo by Manuel Harlan

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Stupendous proof that J.K. is still rollin’


Sold out until December 2017, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has proved a huge success even before the reviews started rolling in – and with very good reason.   A further 250,000 tickets will be released on Thursday 4th August and What’s On London cannot recommend enough snapping them up while you can.  

This superb J.K. Rowling / Jack Thorne / John Tiffany two-part collaboration officially opened on 30th July at The Palace Theatre and Shannon Rawlins was lucky enough to catch the previews on consecutive nights earlier on in the week.  She reports below in a spoiler-free review.

As soon as the play opened, it was full steam ahead.  Packed from the get-go, I forgot I was flying solo at the theatre, completely and utterly immersed in Rowling’s universe.  Initially nervous at the thought of a five-hour play, by the end of Part One I dreaded having to wait a whole day to see the culminating part!

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Category: Theatre
tom mcfly

What’s On London attends VIP Launch of Hogwarts in the Snow at Warner Bros Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter

Last week, What’s On London had the opportunity to attend the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour’s VIP Launch of their latest feature, Hogwarts in the Snow.  The Christmassy feeling hit us as soon as we walked through the door as we were greeted by a gigantic Christmas tree in the foyer which was beautifully decorated.

Following some magical drinks in the foyer which bubbled and produced smoke, we were shown through into the Great Hall which has been impeccably decorated with a number of Christmas trees lining the wall behind the tables with a giant wreath hanging over the fireplace.

Crackers and presents decorated in the various house colours adorned the Great Hall tables, while Christmas food including roast potatoes, peas, ham and turkey were piled on top.  Demonstrations were given of how the flames around the Christmas puddings were created before we were able to make our way around the tour.

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Category: Cinema




Exclusive evening event to be held for first time this festive season

Available on Thursday 3rd December and open to over 18s only


Harry Potter fans will find something extra special behind the Great Hall doors this Christmas as Warner Bros. Studio Tour London hosts its first ever festive feast on the iconic set.

On Thursday 3rd December, guests attending ‘Dinner in the Great Hall’ will be greeted on arrival with welcome drinks and canapés. They’ll then take their seats on the actual set that was used during filming – finding wands waiting for them at their tables – before enjoying the first two courses of a delicious Christmas dinner with all the trimmings (vegetarian option also available*)!

During production, the impressive set was decorated for festive scenes and, this Christmas, the Great Hall will be redressed with the authentic props used in the first Harry Potter film as part of the attraction’s Hogwarts in the Snow feature, running from Friday 13th November – Sunday 31st January 2016. Trees adorned with golden baubles shaped like moons and partridges will line the set, while a replica feast will sit atop the long tables (including flaming Christmas puddings and hams studded with cherries).

First featured in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the Great Hall was home to Hogwarts’ famous feasts and the setting for many other memorable scenes such as the Sorting Ceremony in the first film where Harry is placed in Gryffindor house and the arrival of the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons students in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

After dinner, guests will be able to explore the Studio Tour, admiring sets such as the Gryffindor common room and the Weasley’s kitchen from The Burrow, which will also be dressed as they were for winter scenes. On the attraction’s newly-opened Platform 9 ¾ – which features the original Hogwarts Express locomotive – a selection of three festive dessert bowls will be served.

 Butterbeer will also be provided in the backlot café and guests will then have the opportunity to walk up the wizarding shopping street, Diagon Alley, before taking in the breathtaking Hogwarts castle model (covered in a layer of filmmaking snow especially for the festive season). The snow is hand-sprinkled onto the majestic model and is made from a combination of paper and salt – chosen because it clumps like real snowflakes and catches the light like ice.

The evening will conclude with music and dancing, with a bar provided for those who wish to purchase additional drinks.

The Studio Tour’s first ever ‘Dinner in the Great Hall’ will take place on Thursday 3rd December from 6pm until midnight and is open to over 18s only. Guests will be seated at tables of 10 and tickets are priced at £230pp (available to purchase at www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/dinner or by calling the attraction’s Visitor Services Team on 0845 084 0900).

Tickets include welcome drinks and canapés on arrival, a two-course dinner in the iconic Great Hall set (with drinks, a Christmas cracker and a wand** as well as the option of a vegetarian alternative*), a trio of different festive dessert bowls on Platform 9 ¾, a cup of Butterbeer in the backlot café, the chance to explore the Studio Tour, as well as music and dancing to conclude the evening.

A free cloakroom is available and this will be open for guests on the night, with a shuttle bus running to the event at 5.40pm from Watford Junction and return services leaving the Studio Tour throughout the evening (£2pp return).

Category: Things to do


Today Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter has offered a sneak peek at its Platform 9 ¾ expansion, including the original Hogwarts Express steam train. The 78-year-old red engine has returned to the series’ production home, displayed on a realistic set of tracks with steam billowing ready to greet visitors later this month.

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Category: Cinema

The Animal Actors of Harry Potter visit Warner Bros. Studio Tour London


This weekend, What’s on London headed to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London to meet some of the famous furry creatures from the Harry Potter movies. Throughout half term, visitors to the Studio Tour were able to meet some of the key animal actors from the eight movies as well as the people who helped to train them.

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Category: Kids

Original Hogwarts Express Locomotive to arrive at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter


Platform 9 ¾ expansion to be revealed in March


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 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.

Tickets for the Warner Bros. Studio Tour can be booked here.

Category: Cinema