The film wizard who was instrumental in bringing the Harry Potter movies to life turned down the chance to be at a new tour opening of the series in order to become an OBE.
Dan Dark, 59, the Warner Bros executive vice president of worldwide studio operations, said deciding to make the trip from his home in Los Angeles for an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle rather than for a tour grand opening was an easy choice.
After collecting his honour for his services to the UK film industry, proudly watched by his wife Red and children Rebecca and Tom, Mr Dark said: “Tomorrow we open a new Harry Potter tour in Tokyo which is going to be absolutely spectacular. Many of the team are out there.
“I had a choice, go to the opening event of our studio tour or do I go receive my OBE? It was not a difficult decision.
“I am a great believer in honour and I am a great believer in respect. I wanted to honour and respect the fact I had been given the award.
“I think the health of the UK film and TV industry is really strong. I still believe we have the greatest environment for big blockbuster film production and we have the best technicians in the world, and long may that continue.”
He has long-standing ties to Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, which he originally helped build.
In the mid-90s, Eon Productions approached him to develop Leavesden aerodrome into a studio for the production of Goldeneye.
He went on to run the site as a film studio which became home to the Harry Potter films, before it became Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden in 2011.
Mr Dark said he was “humbled” to have been given the honour but he is especially proud of the relationships the studios had formed with the community in Three Rivers and Watford.
He said “the pinch-me moments for me are when I am helping other people” and “when one can make a difference to other people”.
He said “anything to do with Harry Potter is extraordinary,” adding: “I started at Leavesden in 1994 when we first took over the facility for the James Bond movie Goldeneye. Then, after a number of years, we took over the facility for all of the Harry Potter films.
“It was an old 1940s aircraft factory and so somewhat challenging to be creating movie magic in an old factory with a leaking roof, no power and no heating.
“I think it is fair to say that on the first one and two Harry Potters, we did not quite know what we had. I recall the premiere of the last Harry Potter film and it was just the most extraordinary experience.
“The feeling from the fans was just unimaginable and it lives on.”
He moved from London to LA to oversee studio operations for Warner Bros, in both Burbank and Leavesden, as well as production services, which includes set lighting, grip, costume, property, archives, transportation, construction and office services, and worldwide security.
Queen Elizabeth II’s racing manager John Warren and Terry Pendry, the stud groom who held the reins of her pony Emma as the funeral cortege entered Windsor Castle, were also made members of the Royal Victorian Order (RVO) at the ceremony.
These are in recognition of their service to the Queen and are part of the Demise honours.
The RVO honours are in the King’s gift and are bestowed independently of Downing Street to people who have served the monarch or the royal family in a personal way.
Published: by Radio NewsHub