History of Magic Documentary Gets US Air Date

Mar 23, 2018

Posted by: Kim McChesney

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US Potter fans will finally have the opportunity to explore the magic behind the Wizarding World when the BBC documentary of the British Library’s Harry Potter: A History of Magic Exhibition airs on The CW next month.

The hour-long program, which originally aired in the the UK soon after the opening of the exhibition last fall, is narrated by the award-winning theater and screen actress, Imelda Staunton, who played Dolores Umbridge in the Potter films and includes readings from David Thewlis (Remus Lupin), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick), and Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley). In addition, artist Jim Kay discusses the way in which he helped bring the series to life through his illustrations and J.K. Rowling is featured in the program, viewing some of the items on display she incorporated into the fictional world we have grown to know so well.

In conjunction with the 20th Anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the exhibition itself ran October 2017-February 2018 at the British Library and housed a plethora of artifacts and archives connected in some way to the world created by Rowling. Displays were divided by Hogwarts class theme, Divination, Potions, Magical Creatures, etc and included such items as ancient Chinese oracle bones, the The Ripley Scroll, a 6 meter-long alchemical manuscript that describes how to make the life-extending Philosopher’s Stone and the tombstone of alchemist Nicolas Flamel on loan from the Musée de Cluny in Paris.

The exhibit, which also includes drafts and drawings from Rowling’s own archives, is also chronicled in two companion books from Bloomsbury dedicated to the collection; Harry Potter: A History of Magic and a more youth friendly edition, Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic, as well as a virtual tour of the display which can be found on Google Arts and Culture.


If the documentary entices you to see the real thing, the exhibition opens across the pond at the New York Historical Society on October 5, 2018 and runs through January 27, 2019. Currently the DVD of the program is available for fans outside the U.S.

The Harry Potter: A History of Magic documentary will air Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at 8pm EST on The CW. Will you be watching?

An in-depth account of the exhibition from Leaky’s guest contributor, University of Oxford Research Fellow, Dr. Beatrice Groves can be found here.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.