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WIZCON CASTS ITS MAGIC AT THE CRESSET IN PETERBOROUGH

Peterborough’s first WizCon convention was just magic. ESP’s resident Harry Potter fan Mikey Clark went along to chat to the stars…

I remember watching the very first showing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at the Broadway Theatre back in 2011. In a packed out auditorium just shy of twelve-hundred people, I doubt I was the only person that fell in love with all things magical that day.  

I’m still a fan to this day and therefore was thrilled when my ESP editor asked if I’d like to attend WizCon – a celebration of all things magical (with a particularly large focus on the Potter franchise).

Sunday March 24 saw the Cresset packed out with excited attendees, many of which were fully dressed for the part! 

The event was full of witchcraft and wizardry, Meet and Greet opportunities, an exciting pop-up escape room from Hour Escape Rooms, a Wand Fighting Masterclass, a wide range of magical merchandise and much more. 

The Wand Fighting Masterclass was particularly fun to watch – seeing kids of all ages (some in their 60’s) really getting into character. 

And speaking of characters, amongst the celebs in attendance was Josh Herdman, who made his acting debut in 2001 in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone as Draco Malfoy’s fellow Slytherin, Gregory Goyle. He went to play this role for close to a decade in all eight Harry Potter movies and his voice can be heard in some of the Harry Potter video games.

I asked Josh if he expected the films to be as big as they were – “I don’t think anybody did,” he said. “We knew it would be popular as the books were and Warner Bros were behind it. It was when I attended the first premiere in Leicester Square that I knew just how big it was. Thousands of people filled the area and I could hear people screaming my name. They hadn’t even seen the film at this point.”

I also caught up with Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley and he went on to star in six Harry Potter films during his time in the role. He told me about his most memorable experience being on set.

“I filmed some scenes with RikMayall, who played Peeves the Poltergeist. Sadly this was cut from the movie as the tone didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the film.

“He was the funniest and nicest person I have ever met. He taught me a lot in a short amount of time.” 

Other attendees from the Potter films included James Payton (best known for his performance as Frank Longbottom in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) and Rohan Gotobed (the young Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2).

I grabbed a few moments with the stars for a fun little challenge. I wanted to know how many Harry Potter Quiz questions they could get right! Check out the results in the video below and why not give it a go yourself. 

Hopefully WizCon will return. If so, and you happened to miss this one – I highly recommend checking out the next.

Mikey Clarke

Photos: Andrew James Photography for ESP magazine www.photographybyandrewjames.co.uk

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