Harry Potter and the famous name

By Kris Bramwell
BBC News

image copyrightHarry Potter
image captionHarry Potter at a 10k run in Manchester

"It's probably a good thing overall, a light-hearted conversation starter," says Harry Potter.

Far from being a wizard, Harry is a neuroscientist from the University of Manchester.

When he responded to a question on Twitter asking, "What piece of pop culture has ruined your first name?" he didn't expect the reaction he got.

"I take your 'first name' and raise you my full name," has conjured up more than 267,000 likes and 33,000 retweets.

image copyrightKris Bramwell

"I've tweeted about my name before and it's proved popular amongst people that follow me but that's it. That Twitter account is for work. The stuff about my name is just a side thing."

Among those to tweet Harry in solidarity include a Michael Jackson, a David Cameron and a Meg Griffin, a name made famous by the American series Family Guy.

At work Harry's research looks at how a woman's immune system during pregnancy affects the development of a baby's nervous system later in life.

But some people online have suggested some other academic papers he might have written had he branched out of his field of research.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

"People assume it's a bad thing and I might want to change my name but it's not. Mostly people find it funny," Harry adds.

The 25-year-old says he will often use his name as inspiration for a Halloween costume but admits it has caused confusion at work.

While on a placement for his PhD, Harry says he once emailed someone in another room and five minutes later, that person rang another colleague to check the email wasn't spam.

"'Yes, he's real. He's sat next to me,' I heard them say."

image copyrightHarry Potter
image captionHarry says his colleagues have tried to make his academic work more interesting in the past

Having a famous namesake does have its advantages though. When Harry was six, his family moved to Devon and someone from a local newspaper came to photograph him dressed as the famous wizard and gave him a book.

He and his family were given a trip on the Hogwarts Express as a result of that article.

"I don't really remember the trip other than it being good fun," he says.

'The third Harry Potter in my family'

image copyrightHarry Potter
image captionHarry Potter outside the entrance to the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play in July

From one Harry Potter to another now.

This Mr Potter lives in Melbourne, Australia, and says he's been "putting up with the same jokes for 20 years".

"You can imagine being a PE teacher - 'Are we playing Quidditch today sir? What are you doing here, shouldn't you be teaching at Hogwarts?' Students in the corridors humming the theme tune. You have fun with it. It doesn't make me angry."

The 37-year-old is originally from Yorkshire and says he remembers the moment when it struck him how famous his name was going to become.

"I remember getting off a train from Huddersfield to Leeds for my first year at university and there being a huge billboard for the first film. That's when it hit home that this was going to be massive.

"People don't believe you when you tell them your name. They laugh. They don't expect it to be true. All around the world people know who Harry Potter is. I've been to China and Africa and the reaction is the same. It's a very famous name."

Harry is the third Harry Potter in his family with both his great grandfather and great uncle also having the name Harry Potter. "It's sort of a family tradition," he says.

In 2018 he tweeted JK Rowling to tell the author that his two girls named Iris and Ivy were starting to appreciate that their dad has a "very cool and famous name."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

However, there was one baby name this Harry Potter ruled out.

"I thought Lily would be too cruel," he says, referring to the fictional Harry's mum. "They get enough questions and fascination about my name, never mind their own."

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'My model name earned me an upgrade'

image copyrightKatie Price
image captionKatie Price with her boyfriend Dan

Katie Price says the first time she can remember realising she shared a name with a famous model was when she was about six or seven.

The other Katie Price, who shot to fame as a glamour model in the 1990s, has become a staple in UK reality TV shows in recent years.

"It's something I'm used to now. But when I was younger it used to get annoying because I didn't know who she was," says the 21-year-old, from Worksop.

"It's not really affected my life in a negative way but I get laughed at when I book appointments.

"I recently broke my leg while on a hen-do in Dublin. When I went to A&E and mentioned my name to the woman behind the desk she started laughing and said, 'I bet you get it all the time.'"

Last April, Katie went to see The Courteeners in Manchester and the hotel she was staying in had upgraded her because of her name.

"When I checked in they said they didn't know whether they were getting the real Katie Price or not so they'd given me one of their better rooms.

"The room had a mini-bar, a larger bed and there were sound systems everywhere - you could play music in the bathroom!"

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