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David Yates to direct fifth Harry Potter movie

Story by: Jack Foley

JUST AS Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban receives its DVD release, a new director has been announced for the fifth film in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

David Yates will follow in the illustrious footsteps of Mike Newell, Alfonso Cuarón and Chris Columbus to bring JK Rowling's popular novel to the screen.

The news has come in a busy period for the Harry Potter franchise, following the revelation that screenwriter, Steven Kloves, will be stepping aside for the fifth film, to be replaced by Michael Goldenberg, of Peter Pan and Contact fame.

Yates is more a TV veteran than a cinema film-maker, having directed John Simm to memorable effect in State of Play, but he is set to make a name for himself on the big screen with his eagerly-anticipated version of Brideshead Revisited, starring Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly.

Shooting on the Order of the Phoenix is due to begin in late 2005, pretty soon after Mike Newell's fourth instalment, The Goblet of Fire is completed, with a release date pencilled in for 2007.

In other related Potter news, it has also been reported that the character of Professor Sprout, played by Miriam Margoyles, will be axed from the fifth film.

The Herbology teacher and Head of Hufflepuff house at Hogwarts is not thought to be appearing in the film, even though she features in the book.

Says Margoyles: "I am not making the fifth Harry Potter. They made a great mistake and cut my character."

Also disappointed by recent events is Gary Oldman, who portrayed the eponymous Prisoner of Azkaban in the most recent film.

He had been hoping that his appearance in the franchise might be one of several, but was disappointed to hear that author, JK Rowling, had killed his character off.

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