“For three days we had people screaming at us as if we were The Beatles”: Jarvis Cocker on the time that Pulp and Radiohead formed a supergroup to appear in a Harry Potter film

The Weird Sisters in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
(Image credit: Netflix)

Pulp are just coming off the back of a run of triumphant, rapturously-received reunion shows but even then it’s doubtful that their diehard fans could match the best crowd reaction Jarvis Cocker has been on the end of. That honour would fall to the time he formed a supergroup with Radiohead members and became a wizarding superstar performing at the annual Hogwarts Yule Ball for a scene in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire. Should we get Jarvis to explain it himself? Perhaps that would be best. Go on Jarvis:

“There’s the big Yule Ball scene so the word went out asking people to write songs so I submitted and they liked it,” the Pulp singer told Stereogum. “I thought they were just going to have the song playing in the film, then they asked me to be in it.”

The band in question are called the Weird Sisters, a group that Cocker described as “the biggest band in the wizarding pop scene”. Assembling a line-up to reflect such lofty status, Cocker put together a crew including his late Pulp bandmate Steve Mackey alongside Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Phil Selway, the All Seeing I’s Jason Buckle and Add N To (X)’s Steve Claydon. The resulting song, Do The Hippogriff, is a swaggering glam-rock banger, the supergroup spending three days on set to film their scenes.

“We went to the film set near Watford and for three days just had people screaming at us as if we were The Beatles,” explained Cocker. “It was very good fun to do and it made me very popular with younger members of my family.” Cocker’s character even got his own wand, he revealed. “My character in the film is called Myron Wagtail. Somebody told me they went to the Harry Potter Experience in London and there are drawers with wands for every character. I’m on there! I’m basically a wizard.”

Reminiscing about the experience in an interview with Italian publication Il Post, Radiohead drummer Selway said being on set felt like walking into a television screen. “It was that whole fantasy thing of going along to the studios for three days and walking onto the set, it was in the Great Hall and you had all the Harry Potter characters there, walking into this complete fantasy land,” said Selway. “It was amazing, one of those very privileged and bizarre things that you can get to do in a band like Radiohead.”

It's not the only case of British indie-rock entering the magical world: The Stone Roses singer Ian Brown appears in the third film Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, stirring his tea in the Leaky Cauldron pub and reading Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time:

Ian Brown in Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban

(Image credit: Netflix)

But The Weird Sisters look like they’re having more fun. As Myron declares by way of introduction in the scene, “Alright Hogwarts, are you ready for some real music?”:

Niall Doherty

Niall Doherty is a writer and editor whose work can be found in Classic Rock, The Guardian, Music Week, FourFourTwo, on Apple Music and more. Formerly the Deputy Editor of Q magazine, he co-runs the music Substack letter The New Cue with fellow former Q colleagues Ted Kessler and Chris Catchpole. He is also Reviews Editor at Record Collector. Over the years, he's interviewed some of the world's biggest stars, including Elton John, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Robert Plant and more. Radiohead was only for eight minutes but he still counts it.