The actor John Hurt has described the scenes at the world premiere of 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' as being like Beatlemania.

Hurt plays Mr Ollivander in the film which is released in Ireland on November 16.

Daniel Radcliffe, who plays in the lead role in the film, was greeted by crowds screaming his name at the premier in Leicester Square in London yesterday evening.

The premier was also attended by Irish actress Fiona Shaw, who plays Harry's mean aunt Mrs Dursley. She said she was initially upset when she was asked to play the role: "I was rather sad to be a muggle and not a witch," she said.

Richard Harris, who plays Headmaster Dumbledore, agreed that the atmosphere at the premiere was like nothing he's ever experienced before. "I've never seen anything like it in my life," he said.

Author JK Rowling said she was overwhelmed by the numbers of people who had arrived to see the film's stars.

A special grandstand was built in Leicester Square for the crowd to watch the stars arrive - as JK Rowling left the cinema, she gave the thumbs up to the thousands of fans still waiting outside.