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30 Mar 2012

Fans of Harry Potter will have a chance to see sets from the film franchise when a studio tour opens to the public on Saturday.

The attraction is based at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, where all eight movies were filmed.

Sets, including the Great Hall and Professor Dumbledore's lavish office, are included in the tour.

There has been criticism over expensive items in the gift shop but organisers called them "incredibly good quality".

It has often been said about films, and the Potter movies in particular, that the set designs are so intricate they feature details that will never be seen on screen.

Now fans will be able to test out that statement.

The idea is also to lift the veil of mystery for them and show how much of the cinematic magic was achieved.

At £83 for a family of four, it isn't cheap. And the challenge for Warner Bros is to ensure that it's seen as a worthwhile addition to the Potter brand beyond the books and films.

The danger is that if the public feel it fails to achieve that, it could damage a brand that has earned Warner Bros billions.

So far reactions have been generally positive, although like many such attractions, people have to leave through a gift shop.

And there have been some have raised eyebrows at the price of some of the most expensive items.

A reproduction of a ball gown worn by Emma Watson's Hermione costs £241, a Firebolt Broomstick £249, while if you want to wear a set of Professor Dumbledore's robes, that will set you back £495.

Josh Berger, managing director of Warner Bros UK, said: "Like everything, there's the high end that is incredibly good quality. And it's expensive to make, and it's expensive to sell.

"But equally 25% of the merchandise is under £10 in the shop. So that is eminently acquirable for the families who come here."

The Potter films have showcased the best of British film making for more than a decade.

This tour will be a test of whether the public can fall in love with that in the same way they've fallen in love with the screen stories.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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