JK Rowling’s seven Harry Potter novels run to 4,100 pages, the first of which, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, came out 15 years ago. To celebrate the Hogwarts saga, Bloomsbury has launched a competition to find out who is “the biggest Harry Potter fan” in the UK. Here we consider the passions of five other fanatics.
1. The Beatles
Fifteen-year-old Marsha Albert may not be the Beatles’ biggest fan but she might be their most influential. In early December 1963, while the Beatles were still unknown in the US, Albert watched a piece about the “Fab Four” on the news, liked what she heard, and wrote to a local DJ asking, “Why can’t we have music like this in America?”. A few weeks later, on December 17, the DJ invited Marsha to introduce I Want to Hold Your Hand live from the studio. Capitol Records didn’t intend to put out the record until January 13 but its immediate popularity forced the label to bring forward the release. Within two weeks the record had sold more than 1m copies across the US.
2. Julia Roberts
Many fans express their adoration with ink – from the man who has 15 Miley Cyrus-themed tattoos to the woman with a scene from Twilight covering her entire back – but Miljenko Parserisas Bukovic, a newspaper salesman from Mexico, outstrips them all. He has reportedly spent 1m Mexican pesos (just over £51,000) on 82 tattoos of Julia Roberts as she appears in the film Erin Brockovich.
Despite an aversion to heights, David Kirch has a collection of Zeppelin memorabilia comprising “thousands” of rare items, from crew mittens to exploding darts dropped on the German aircraft by British pilots in the first world war. Kirch planned to open a museum inside an aircraft hanger in Jersey and to offer flights to members of the public. But the project never took off, and he is selling his memorabilia (valued at more than £1m) in a series of auctions at Wallis & Wallis in Sussex.
4. Father Christmas
Jean-Guy Laquerre has 25,104 different items of Father Christmas memorabilia. His collection includes 2,360 figurines, 1,312 serviettes and 2,846 cards and postcards from 33 countries. Each year the 76-year-old geography teacher holds an invitation-only exhibition at his home in Canada.
5. Star Trek
Only the most ardent Star Trek fans master Klingon, the language of the sci-fi warrior race. Nick Nicholas and Andrew Strader, of the Klingon Language Institute, are two of the world’s 10 or so fluent speakers and the first people to “restore” Shakespeare (or Shex’pir”) into the “original” Klingon. As The Klingon Hamlet proclaims: “taH pagh taHbe” – that is the question.