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Behind the scenes with Hagrid’s bike

25 May 2016 by Laura

Bike

Hagrid’s bike on display at Museum of Liverpool until 9 June 2016

Many of you will have seen by now that we have a rather magical piece of film history currently on display in Museum of Liverpool.

It’s a flying visit by Hagrid’s motorbike and sidecar from the film ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1’, before it zooms away on 9 June.

The bike features in a hair-raising chase scene, which was actually shot in our very own Queensway Tunnel. Kevin Bell, Film and Events Locations Coordinator, from the Liverpool Film Office tells us more:

“The process of filming inside the Queensway tunnel can actually be dated right back to 2007 when members of the Warner Bros. location team came to Liverpool to consider sites for the earlier film, ‘Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince’. The location manager, who had planned to come for a day ended up staying overnight as we had so much to show them.

“Eventually they decided to film those scenes in their studios but that time spent in Liverpool did not go to waste. It ensured they got to know us and the city, giving them the confidence to come back in 2009 for the filming of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1’.

“As a 4 lane tunnel, the Queensway suited their requirements. It allowed two lanes for action vehicles (these are the other vehicles that can be seen in the film), and the other two for their technical equipment and to build a CGI wall.

“However the project was a huge undertaking, using a 500 strong crew and around 60 action vehicles over four nights. It also had to be kept highly confidential, so careful planning was crucial.

Technical vehicle in tunnel

The filming was highly confidential and done at night. Image © Liverpool Echo

“Tentative conversations with Mersey Tunnels began 9 months before filming took place. The tunnels are closed during off-peak hours for general maintenance on a fairly regular basis so we agreed to go for a date and time that fitted in with this schedule. We also had to consider other logistics too, like where all the vehicles involved would park during the day; where the crew would take breaks (filming was from 10pm – 6am); how we would keep the main stunt doubles (playing Hagrid and Harry) undercover,  all while preventing this big operation from impacting too heavily on the general public.

“Luckily the Queensway Tunnel has a number of convenient car parks around it and it’s a short walk away from St. George’s Hall which is where we set up their canteen – a glorious backdrop to eat and we were assured a step up from the usual catering environments when on location!

“The planning took months, the shoot itself took four days (and nights) and the scene is really only minutes long. But what a scene it is! The stunning visual effects have been done so well that all the viewer perceives is an incredibly fast, exhilarating chase, as the bike zips through the vehicles and at one memorable point drives up the wall and races across the roof, with Harry dangling from the side car.

Giant and boy on bike

TM & © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. Harry Potter characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

“When we finally get to watch spectacular scenes like this all the hard work from the hundreds of people involved really feels worthwhile. And of course we continue to see the benefit of this in the city with visitors and investment and recently the return of Harry Potter, when Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was filmed in and around St. George’s Hall at the end of last year.”

To find out more about the tunnel scene this clip, featuring interviews with the producer, David Heyman, some of the special effects team, as well as Daniel Radcliffe himself and his stunt double, is really interesting.

The bike is part of the Museum’s “Reel Stories: Liverpool and the Silver Screen” exhibition until 9 June 2016 with the exhibition continuing until Sept 2017. The exhibition examines Liverpool’s starring role in films featuring the city from the past 60 years.

  1. Paula says:

    Thought I recognised the tunnel, and now you’ve confirmed it for me… Fabulous results…!

    • Sam says:

      Glad we could help! We do love spotting familiar parts of our city in films and on TV – especially when they are in such exciting scenes as this!

  2. Pam j. harrison says:

    So proud to see part of our great city in such a magnificent film.

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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.