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Image of The Millennium Bridge scene in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The River Thames in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Date posted: 01.07.2007

The River Thames features in a dramatic broomstick chase in the fifth Harry Potter instalment, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, released on 13 July by Warner Bros.

Directed by David Yates, the film joins Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) as he begins his fifth year at Hogwarts. Harry discovers that much of the wizarding world, including the Ministry of Magic, is in denial about Lord Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes) return. However, The Order of the Phoenix (a group sworn against Voldemort) prevails, using its vast array of wizards and witches magical abilities to combat the evil Lord.

Cornelius Fudge (Robert Hardy) Minister for Magic, suspects that Dumbledore Michael Gambon is using these claims of The Dark Lord's return as a means to over-throw Fudge as Minister. In retaliation, a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher is appointed by the Ministry in order to keep an eye on Hogwarts. This new teacher, Professor Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), implies strict new teachings and rules, forcing a group of students, under the tutelage of Harry, to form a club, by the name of Dumbledore's Army...

Two sequences for the film were shot along The River Thames. One scene involves Harry Potter flying along the Thames from Tower Bridge to Westminster on a broomstick, en route to Grimmauld Place. This involved flying underneath bridges, around moorings and alongside HMS Belfast. The second river sequence is of the wizarding students flying down the Thames on Thestrals to the Ministry of Magic. 

Sue Quinn, the location manager on the film, explains how they worked closely with the Port of London Authority and Chris Livett of Livett's Launches to achieve the exciting scenes: 'Chris Livett was our advisor and marine co-ordinator, he was excellent and it could not have been done without him. The businesses along the river were also very
co-operative. It takes time to set up as there are a lot of different authorities to bring together, we found everyone supportive and had a very happy filming experience.'

Livett's Launches used one of their vessels to dramatic effect when Harry and friends avoid a near-miss, Chris Livett recalls: 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was a very interesting and challenging project. Making sure we had fast craft, capable of simulating the speed of the broomsticks and able to accommodate high spec cameras was essential. The avoidance of our vessel, Golden Salamander, is the highlight!! 

'Working with all river related authorities, a crew of 80 over a period of nine months was great fun. The avoidance sequence was as scary in real life as it looks on film!'

If you would like to film on The River Thames, contact The Port of London Authority on 01474 562 366 or email martin.garside@pola.co.uk.

Livett's Launches specialise in chartering large private vessels and smaller workboats. Contact Chris Livett on 020 7378 1211 or email info@livetts.co.uk.

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