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South Norwood man plays first new Harry Potter character since 2007

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A DRAMA teacher has taken his place in the wonderful world of Harry Potter by playing the first character created by J.K Rowling since she wrote the final book in the hit series in 2007.

Glen McCready plays ghostly wizard Zygmunt Budge in the new PlayStation3 game Wonderbook: Book of Potions, in which Zygmunt guides would-be wizards.

The 44-year-old, who lives in South Norwood and teaches at Stagecoach Coulsdon, said he thought he won the part for sounding "just a tiny bit crazier than the other acts".

He added: "I am the voice of Zygmunt in the English-speaking world and all the sounds where he messes up and says 'Ooh' and 'Aah' – those are me across the whole world.

"Which being an egomaniacal actor I am quite pleased about."

Mr McCready recorded the character – who was thrown out of Hogwarts before writing his masterpiece on a secluded island – over the summer at a studio near King's Cross.

The actor added: "He was rather bad-tempered and crotchety but he also had to be encouraging, otherwise the kids would just throw their hands up and say 'I cannot be bothered' – so it was a very interesting tightrope for me to walk as an actor."

The "augmented reality game" has an "emphasis on literacy and learning," Mr McCready added, with players having to read and make recipes as they compete for the Golden Cauldron.

The actor, whose wife Zoe McCready is principal at Stagecoach Coulsdon, said he knew very little of the Harry Potter books before taking on the role, but added he hoped he had indeed pleased its creator.

He said: "She [J.K Rowling] would have heard me quite early on, I think in May, and would have had the chance to say, 'No, no, no this is not what I envisaged'."

Mr McCready has been doing voiceovers since 1997 and has played characters including a Russian super-villain and Japanese gangster.

He added: "I got into acting because I wanted to move away from me, myself and my voice as much as possible. It's about characterising and disguising – a big thrill for me would be to have my nearest and dearest in the audience and for them not to recognise me."

In a statement marking the game's release, Ms Rowling said she had "lots of fun" inventing Zygmunt Budge, adding: "[He] has now come to life in the hands of the Wonderbook creative team.

"I have also been helping to concoct a few surprises to test the skills of young potioneers."

The game was released at the end of November.

South Norwood man plays first new Harry Potter character since 2007


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