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We're off to see the wizards..

PUBLISHED: 13:37 09 July 2009 | UPDATED: 11:14 12 August 2010

ADORING: Fans line up to meet the Harry Potter stars on the red carpet

ADORING: Fans line up to meet the Harry Potter stars on the red carpet

HARRY Potter mania swept across the country this week as fans predicted a box office smash for the sixth film in the series. On Tuesday thousands of fans from across south-east London and north Kent packed Leicester Square for the long-awaited premiere o

POTTER: Actor Daniel Radcliffe arriving at the premiere

HARRY Potter mania swept across the country this week as fans predicted a box office smash for the sixth film in the series.

On Tuesday thousands of fans from across south-east London and north Kent packed Leicester Square for the long-awaited premiere of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Scheduled for release last November, it was put back until this month as Warner Brothers pitched for a summer blockbuster.

Days before the premiere the parents and friends of tragic Bromley-trained actor Rob Knox, who was knifed to death outside the Metro bar, Sidcup, attended a private screening.

VICTIM: Rob Knox

The teen, who plays Marcus Belby in the film, was honoured by co-stars including Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Kent's Michael Gambon (Dumbledore) who wore white wristbands and ribbons in memory of their dead co-star at the launch night.

Leodora F-Nonar, 16, from Newstead Wood School, Orpington, waited since lunchtime to catch a glimpse of the stars on the red carpet.

She said: "We are here to see the stars, I don't mind waiting all day because they are the biggest stars of our age.

"Although it's been raining it's been great fun and a great atmosphere.

"We want to see Emma Watson the most to get some style tips of her, she is so pretty. Harry Potter is going to be a blockbuster again, nothing compares."

Friend Demi Dabor-Alloh, 16, said she would watch the film on the opening night next Wednesday at the O2 but had to come to catch a glimpse of the films stars. continued on page 2

She said: "It's my birthday next week and I'm going to see the biggest film of the summer when it's released. Harry Potter is amazing and it's going to be a massive film, there is no doubt."

The duo queued amongst thousands of screaming fans with their other school friends Emily Faldon, Elle Smith, Catherine Debos and Bethany Wickramasingh.

Becky Hodgeman and Lauren Tearle, both 17, from Bromley, also waited amongst the crowds who screamed as TV crews recorded the waiting crowds. Miss Hodgeman said: "We have seen all the films and although they have all been great the last one was the worst so far.

"We are expecting big things for this one because they need to make up for it. Don't get me wrong the films are great but the books are much, much better and the best Harry Potter films are the closest to the books.

"But we are still expecting this to be the biggest film of the year easily."

Among the fans was Mary-Ann Russon, 24, from Higham, whose best friend at Bournemouth University made a documentary about tragic Rob Knox.

She said: "Rob Knox was from my friend's (Kelly Smule) town and it's great to see the actors and actresses wearing white ribbons in his honour.

"His memory will live on through this film. Knife crime is such a terrible thing and hopefully people will take notice from the Rob Knox story."

Chloe Parsons, 18, from Bromley, added: "I don't know what it is but we still love Harry Potter as much as we did when we were 12 and 13. It sounds stupid but it's probably because we have grown up at the same time as them."

Speaking about Rob Knox's murder, she added: "It makes me so angry that some people even dare to use the excuse that they carry a knife for there own protection because if they don't end up hurting someone they might get hurt themselves."

Among the young stars on the red carpet was veteran actor Sir Michael Gambon who frequently joked with his young co-stars and paid tribute to their youthful energy.

He said: "It's great being surrounded by young actors because I can learn a lot from their simplicity.

"That's a compliment. My acting is usually way over the top and deeply complicated and mired in subtext. Does that make sense?"

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince goes on national release from July 15.

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