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Sir Ian McKellen reveals why he turned down Dumbledore role in Potter films

Sir Ian McKellen Credit: PA

Sir Ian McKellen has said he could never have taken over the role of Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films after the death of Richard Harris because he knew Harris disapproved of him as an actor.

Harris died in 2002 after starring in the first two films in the franchise and was replaced by Michael Gambon for the rest of the series.

Richard Harris played Professor Dumbledore in the first two films Credit: Warner Bros/PA

Wigan born McKellen has previously said he was approached for a role in the wizarding saga but has now revealed he could never have succeeded Harris because of how he felt about him.

Harris once described McKellen, Derek Jacobi and Kenneth Branagh as "technically brilliant but passionless".

During a recording of a special episode of BBC interview show HARDtalk to mark its 20th anniversary, McKellen, best known for his portrayal of Gandalf, dismissed Harris's criticisms as "rubbish".

When they called me up and said would I be interested in being in the Harry Potter films, they wouldn't say what part but I worked out what they were thinking. I couldn't take over the part from an actor who I know disapproved of me."

– Sir Ian McKellen
Credit: PA

McKellen also spoke about how his sexuality has affecting his career, saying he believes he might have had more success as an actor earlier on if he had come out sooner.

The openly gay star only publicly spoke about his sexuality in 1988, 22 years after it was decriminalised.

Designer of iconic album covers' work goes on display

  • For more information on Brian Cannon and Wigan Arts Festival go here
Credit: Brian Cannon

You might not know his name - but his work has adorned millions of teenage bedrooms across the country. The photographer and designer Brian Cannon created some of the most iconic artwork for some of the best loved albums of the 90s.

It's his work with two of the biggest bands to come out of the North West - Oasis and the Verve - that made his name and took him across the world. And now he's telling stories of the 90s at an arts festival in his hometown of Wigan.


Watch: Can childcare trial be a success when rolled out

When it was launched last year the Government said its long term aim was to help mums and dads go back to work if they want to.

Wigan is one of the areas that was chosen for a pilot scheme, where the hours of free child care have been doubled to thirty.

It's been welcomed by many, although some nurseries have serious concerns about what will happen when the scheme is extended.

With the trial in Wigan at its halfway stage, Mel Barham has been investigating:

Watch: Body parts kept in laboratories without families' knowledge

A mother says she's having to lay her son to rest for a second time this week, more than twenty years after his murder. John Culshaw from Wigan was stabbed to death in 1993. But it's emerged his is one of dozens of cases where samples from bodies have been kept in laboratories, without families' knowledge.

Greater Manchester Police are contacting 180 families

who lost relatives as a result of a crime. Little did they know that parts of their loved ones were missing.

Now those families are being offered specialist support. Victoria Grimes reports:

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