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Sunday, 3 November, 2002, 19:56 GMT
Fans spellbound at Potter première
Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe
Radcliffe: The attention was "overwhelming - but great"

The world première of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets took place in London on Sunday.

You do not need to watch the film to see that Harry Potter still has the magic touch.

At Sunday's première, swarms of screaming fans - some in full Hogwarts uniforms complete with witches' hats and broomsticks - took over Leicester Square.

A giant snake's head and flying car at the Harry Potter premiere
A giant snake's head and flying car were among the props
It was one of the most extravagant premières ever seen, with a grandstand built opposite the cinema - complete with flying Ford Anglia car perched on top.

At the centre of attention was 13-year-old Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry and looked a bit like a rabbit caught in headlights.

With teenage girls cheering and chanting his name, he was dragged between the press and his fans, looking more than a little bewildered.

"Its amazing so many people have actually come," he said.

"It's completely overwhelming but it's still great."

Harry Potter star Rupert Grint
Rupert Grint: Played it cool
Rupert Grint, who plays Harry's best pal Ron, surprised a few fans by sporting a quiff - but was happy to go with the flow, describing everything as "cool".

Scores of dedicated fans had come from across the UK - and beyond - arriving hours in advance to secure prime spots.

Zoe Algar and Laura Hall, both 16, from Great Yarmouth, wore witches hats and clutched a hairy toy spider during their six-hour wait.

They had come to see Radcliffe because he's "so much like Harry Potter in the book and he's quite cute", Ms Algar said.

Sarah Isaacs, 21, from Cheshunt, in Hertfordshire, said she was there to see Grint - but insisted she did not have a crush on the star.

The crowd at the Harry Potter premiere
The crowd grew throughout the afternoon
"I'm here for Rupert Grint - I'm a Weasley fan. The family is just so cute, they're not as precocious as Harry," she said.

Jessica Price, 12, from Iver, Buckinghamshire, was taken by her father, Tony, to see Watson.

Mr Price said: "I'm the one who introduced her to the books, so I like them as well."

As the afternoon went on, the crowds along the crush barriers grew as tourists and passers-by joined the throng.

On several big screens, TV presenter Tania Bryer did her best to whoop the crowd into a frenzy when interviewing stars as they arrived.

Patsy Kensit with sons Lennon (left) and James
Patsy Kensit took sons Lennon (left) and James
That was OK when she was interviewing Radcliffe or Coltrane or Branagh - but there was a big "who?" from the young fans when Eric Idle was introduced - and Alexi Sayle seemed extremely underwhelmed.

The crowd did not even dignify Bryer's introduction of Patsy Kensit as "a beautiful young actress" with a reaction.

But Kensit did take her son, Lennon, three, who seemed to be taking after his father, rock star Liam Gallagher, wearing a fashionable fur-lined coat.

Although the première party set was firmly B-list, there were enough Harry Potter actors from across the generations to make up for the sparsity of other big-name celebs.

Whether the fans will still be as enthusiastic after they have seen the new film remains to be seen - but for now, they are firmly under Harry's spell.

See also:

03 Nov 02 | Entertainment
03 Nov 02 | Entertainment
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12 Sep 02 | Entertainment
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