Thank you, Barry.
All three of us have been looking forward to being here with you all today, and so far it’s lived up to our expectations.
To be honest, I’m over the moon just to have seen the real Batmobile and Batpod – Josh, Barry, you don’t do baby seats for those cars, do you, by any chance? On the other hand Harry’s just excited to see a real life talking owl in the Harry Potter studios. I haven’t told him yet that Harry Potter is fictional, so please keep the secret for a little longer.
Barry and Josh, you have spoken proudly about Warner Brothers’ investment in the United Kingdom in the form of these magnificent studios. It gives me enormous pride as President of BAFTA to be able to echo that.
The journey to today began most obviously with the now legendary story of an aspiring author – J K Rowling – translating her phenomenal imagination onto paper in the form of the Harry Potter series. But in another sense, the journey to today began way before, since this country has a long and proud literary and visual arts history – a history that is unmatched in the world for its variety, its commercial success and its longevity.
The ancient cradle of talent that is this Country has given rise to the great Jacobean playwrights and to the Victorian literary masters. Our capacity to produce brilliant works continued into the 20th century with the great British pioneers of film and television, both here and in Hollywood.
The London Olympics’ Opening Ceremony reminded us as a Nation just how diverse, talented and entertaining the British creative industries have always been.
Our Nation’s extraordinary capacity for talent is not a thing of the past. It is worth reminding ourselves that the Harry Potter book series has become the most popular series ever to be printed, and the Harry Potter movie series – filmed right here – is the most successful in history. So, what of the future? How can we possibly continue these successes of the past?
I am proud to say that, as President of BAFTA, there is a huge amount of work going on to nurture the talent of tomorrow. BAFTA’s inspiring Guru programme is one that I would encourage everyone in the industry to support. I am also immensely proud of the scholarships which BAFTA has announced today, which Warner Brothers are so generously supporting. These scholarships will lead to talented young people, who would otherwise not have the chance to develop their careers, to reach their full potential.
Catherine, Harry and I are very much looking forward to the Harry Potter Studio Tour coming up shortly, and thank you to Warner Brothers for hosting hundreds of children from the charities of which we are fortunate enough to be Patron.
My thanks also to Amanda Berry and BAFTA’s continued and generous support of our Charities Forum. It remains for me to make one last thank you – to Warner Brothers for making this investment at Leavesden. You were right to do so, and all three of us hope you have a long and prosperous stay here. And please make another of the Dark Knight series, and another....and another!
From Catherine, Harry and me – thank you.