The BBC will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter with “rarely seen documents from J K Rowling’s archives, revealing her magical inspirations” in the run up to the British Library’s exhibition next month.
“Harry Potter A History of Magic” opens on 20th October, unveiling rare books, manuscripts and “magical objects”, “capturing the traditions of folklore and magic at the heart of the Harry Potter stories”. An accompanying programme of the same name will be shown on BBC Two, showing the “ancient texts, artefacts and artwork” as they displayed in the library in London’s Bloomsbury.
The BBC show - for which an exact date has yet to be released - will also include an interview with J K Rowling discussing personal items she has donated to the exhibition and her writing inspiration, as well as famous fans of the book “playfully” recreating some of the spells, potions and moments from the wizarding series.
The programme and exhibition mark two decades since the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Bloomsbury) with two new books for the British Library announced in June.
The show will also consider modern magic’s counterparts (from real life wandmakers to Quidditch enthusiasts) and explore the “unexpected relationship” between magic, belief and science.
It was commissioned for BBC Two by Patrick Holland, controller for the channel, and Mark Bell, head of commissioning for BBC Arts, with Janet Lee as the executive producer.
Other upcoming shows unveiled by the BBC on Sunday (10th September) include a film, "Joe Orton Laid Bare", exploring the life of the playwright 50 years since his murder at the hands of his lover Kenneth Halliwell. A BBC spokesperson said: “Joe’s writing takes centre-stage in this account, with excerpts from his stage and TV plays and outrageous diaries.”
Another programme, announced in the new slate of films includes "Leonora Carrington - The Lost Surrealist" which will focus on the British surrealist artist and writer who worked alongside Max Ernst, Andre Breton and Pablo Picasso in Paris. It follows her life from a British aristocratic debutante to Mexican exile via the surrealist movement in Paris in the 1930s, as well as her love affair with Ernst.
Carrington’s literary profile was recently boosted in the UK by new feminist indie publisher, Silver Press, publishing her previously out-of-print collection, The Débutante and Other Stories, in April.
Tickets for the British Library exhibition are now on sale at www.bl.uk. “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” will run until 28th February 2018.