Big Green Bookshop co-owner Simon Key came face to face with presenter Piers Morgan on ITV this morning (26th June) - months after the pair had a heated Twitter feud over the merits of J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
To mark the 20th anniversary since the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Bloomsbury), the presenter quizzed Key on "Good Morning Britain" which he co-hosts, whilst dressed as Harry Potter wearing round spectacles.
Their face to face meeting follows a feud in February when Key began tweeting out every word of the book to Morgan after he claimed he had never read the multi-million-pound-selling series. Key was eventually blocked by the presenter before he could finish tweeting every line of the novel.
Key revealed news of the interview on the Wood Green store’s Twitter account, @Biggreenbooks, on Sunday evening (25th June). He said: “So, I'll be on Good Morning Britain on ITV1 tomorrow at about 7.50am, chatting to Piers Morgan & Susanna Reid about Harry Potter. Gosh.”
He later showed a picture of the “rather swanky hotel” the production company had put him up in but said: “I’m still blocked btw”. However, less than an hour later he tweeted to the shop’s 25k Twitter followers: “PIERS MORGAN UNBLOCKED ME.”
As Key was introduced by co-presenter Susanna Reid who explained the Twitter spat, Morgan said: "It went on and on and on and on and on."
Reid asked Key: "How can you persuade a die-hard non-Harry Potter fan about the brilliance of Harry Potter and J K Rowling?"
At which point the Big Green Bookshop's co-owner turned to Morgan and said: "What don't you like about Harry Potter?"
The broadcaster continued to dismiss the series as he and Reid interviewed Key. He said: "I think it’s a load of old Hogwarts. It tried getting through one of them...You were tweeting it line-by-line to me and all is reinforced was what a load of old jibberish it is. With Mugwarts and wizards and all....A load of old hogwash."
Key replied: "Piers, you're wrong... It's magic, it's escapism. It's an amazing story, she has created this world that people believe in."
Morgan also revealed that his 23-year-old son was addicted to the novels and said: "What does it do to make you go nuts like this?" Key conceded that "we don't all go nuts, I don't dress up, I don't go to the conventions". He added: "I just read the books and love the books."
When the presenter suggested Key might be "slightly delirious" for delivering the Harry Potter book line by line on Twitter, Key replied: "I like Twitter."
Morgan also addressed difficult retail climate in the UK and asked how social media had helped to raise the bookshop's profile. "You do this to help bookshops really because they've been going through a tough time... did it help... and what is the future for little bookshops like yours?" Morgan asked.
Key revealed that his Twitter following had soared from 10k to 25k following the stunt at which point Morgan said: "I have sprinkled my bookselling magic on you simply by saying how diabolical it all is but seriously good to meet you...You should all go down to his bookshop, it's actually a very good bookshop and he's a good guy, it was a bit of fun." The interview ended with a friendly handshake between the pair.
Key managed 865 tweets of the book from 12th to 18th February in six days before Morgan blocked him. Following this, various members of the Twitter community “took up the mantle” and continued to tweet the book 140 characters at a time. The Wood Green-based store’s following more than doubled and its sales were boosted. The tweets can be viewed by searching “/32567” – the number of tweets Key said it would take to tweet the whole book – or the hashtag #HP4Piers.
This week hundreds of shops around the UK are celebrating the 20th anniversary with Quidditch Pong and Harry Potter Bingo.
It was also announced last week that Bloomsbury and Pottermore will publish two new books this autumn for the British Library exhibition “Harry Potter: A History of Magic”, opening on 20th October.