How a Hairy Biker helped to bring Harry Potter film crews to Durham Cathedral

Hairy Biker Si King has been sharing stories of his time on set with Emily Reader for ITVX

Durham Cathedral is considered by many to be the jewel in the crown of the Land of the Prince Bishops.

Built in the 11th Century, the World Heritage Site is renowned as a peaceful place of pilgrimage, but in more recent years, the cathedral has opened up its doors as a silver screen set.

From wizards and royalty to mythical gods, Durham Cathedral has hosted them all, or rather, actors taking on the roles.

The Chapter was transformed into Professor McGonagall's classroom. Credit: Durham Cathedral

The iconic landmark first dipped its toe into the film industry in 1998, playing the backdrop for the royal palace in the movie 'Elizabeth', starring Cate Blanchett.

But one of the cathedral's most memorable big screen appearances came in 2000, when the cast and crew of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone descended on the city.

The secluded walkways of the cloisters were used for scenes where characters were walking to and from lessons, whilst the Chapter House became the formidable Professor McGonagall's Classroom.

Bringing Hollywood to the Shrine of St Cuthbert was partly down to a familiar face.

Before making his name as a Hairy Biker, TV personality Si King was a locations manager, working on TV dramas across the North East.

He pitched Durham Cathedral to producers as the perfect location to become part of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

"It's Durham Cathedral...who wouldn't want to film here, it is just magical, but it all comes down to the people," he said.

"The Dean and Chapter were so responsive to our requests and wanted to be part of what we knew would be something special.

"As a local lad who comes from Kibblesworth, it was an enormous privilege to work on the film and I learnt an enormous amount.

"I'm proud of my area and it is brilliant to have it represented in an internationally successful film. It is world famous."

The Nave was transformed to become the Royal Palace of Asgard in the Avengers Endgame movie. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The grandeur and rich history of the building has attracted film crews from all over the world and even an alternative universe.

In 2019, Marvel Studios picked Durham Cathedral as a filming location for the Avengers Endgame movie.

The landmark can be seen in scenes when Thor travels back in time to his homeland of Asgard.

The scenes between Thor and his late mother were filmed in the Nave and Galilee Chapel.

The locations were transformed into the Royal Palace thanks to special effects and CGI.

Watch more of our exclusive reports on ITVX here.

Listen to Unscripted - the ITV News arts and entertainment podcast