It’s 20 years since J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone first cast its spell on readers across the globe, thanks to the charm, warmth and imagination of its wizarding world. But Rowling’s fantastical creation wasn’t entirely make-believe..
To mark the 20th anniversary of her book, the BBC presents an enchanting new documentary, uncovering the real life traditions of magic at the heart of Harry Potter.
A thrilling journey through legends, belief and folklore, this film goes behind the scenes with the British Library as they search to tell that story through objects in their collection, in an ambitious new exhibition: Harry Potter: A History Of Magic.
J.K. Rowling, who is lending unseen manuscripts, drawings and drafts from her private archives (which will sit alongside treasures from the British Library, as well as original drafts and drawings from Jim Kay) talks about some of the personal items she has lent to the exhibition and gives new insight into her writing, looking at some of the objects from the exhibition that have fired her imagination.
Readings from famous fans playfully recreates some of the best-loved spells, potions and magical moments from the books, and, as we follow the process of the exhibition, we discover modern magic’s counterparts – from real life wandmakers to Quidditch enthusiasts.
Viewers will discover an unexpected relationship between magic, belief and science: from the Anglo-Saxon spells that cure MRSA to the so-called witches who pioneered contemporary medicine and the ancient stargazers who first mapped the wonders of the night sky.
Airs 28 October on BBC Two.