Media and DT: Harvey Cole and The Potter Studios Tour

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Take yourselves back to November 16th 2001.

This date probably seems irrelevant to most. At the time it certainly didn't affect me, I don't think it did anyway. I had only just celebrated my 4th birthday.

5To some people even to this day, this date will not seem very important. But not many people could have predicted its immense significance as, on November 16th 2001, the most successful major studio franchise the world has ever seen released the first of its eight record-breaking, history-making films: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was released.

Harry Potter is undoubtedly one of the world's most recognised and admired collections of films. Earning just over £7.9 billion, it is also one of the most valued series of blockbusters in movie-making history.

Who would of thought, 12 years after the first screening, that millions of people a year could travel to visit original props, costumes, animals, wands and broomsticks used in the actual films, in a wonderfully converted studio?

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So it was that, on October 1st 2013, a group of GCSE and A Level Media Studies and Design Technology students travelled to Watford to personally experience the extravaganza and buzz surrounding the true home of magic.

We arrived at around 11am and saw, sat in front of us, the broad, captivating building that was the studio. After a brief introduction, we were whisked away into a vast land like no other.

Diagon Alley, Harry's bedroom, the Night Bus and the Potions Room were just some of the beautifully restored sets that we had all beamed upon in the films. Countless props, wigs, costumes, books and robes stood like giants among men.

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Surrounded by fellow 'Potter Heads', we were fascinated at every inch of magical dust that dwelt in that gobsmacking environment.

Hundreds of illuminated faces lit up as our party slowly ambled through each incredible room. My classmates tried to disguise their undeniable excitement, their grins widening the deeper they plunged.

Something I personally became aware of whilst visiting was the extraordinary amount of detail imbued into every last item. Elven encryptions into the 17,000 wands in Ollivanders Wand Shop, the faint scribbles in Tom Riddles Diary to the scuffed glory of the Triwizard Cup, every last item was accessible and full of information exclusive to the studio.

Around every corner was a new Horcrux or flying car, and a friendly curator eager to fill you in and answer any imaginable question.

I didn't see or speak to anyone who regretted going. The exhbitions took everyone to such a euphoric place and filled us with an overwhelming desire to be part of Harry Potter in some way or another.

4This sense of awe and pure respect for the thousands and thousands of people who spent 10 years of their lives creating what we know as Harry Potter means that these craftsmen and women will have their legacy continued here long into the future.

I learned not only of the actors, but of the directors, producers, editors, chefs, animal management staff, teachers, lawyers, writers, cameramen and hundreds more. As a result, I now truly appreciate the gargantuan volume of hard work that was pumped into the Harry Potter projects! 

The studio took my excitement and utmost admiration for Harry Potter to a higher level. It does the films justice and fulfils any questions or query anyone might possess.

The Media and Design Technology departments couldn't have picked a more fitting place to go, and I would advise anyone thinking of going not to think about it - they should just go!

Harvey Cole

Upper Fifth, Dicker House